Many Missouri citizens can acquire birth, death, marriage, and divorce records promptly at the municipal level. 1,2. Some vital records can only be obtained at the county level, while others can only be obtained from the Bureau of Vital Records in Jefferson City. The location of these records is indicated in the "Vital Records" section for each city.
In addition to these public sources, many private genealogical research organizations offer birth, death, and marriage records. These organizations often have access to records that are not available in public archives because they own their own copies or they buy old records from publishers who no longer sell them by hand. Fees may apply for photocopies of records.
Do not assume that just because a record cannot be found in a public archive that it does not exist. Often times private individuals retain these records and will allow you to see them if you pay them for the privilege. Not all private archives are created equal; some charge large fees for the limited service they provide, while others may give away their records for free. Be sure to do your research before paying any fees or giving out personal information about yourself or your family members.
Private archives include those operated by families, churches, or businesses. They often store historical documents such as letters, photographs, books, and maps.
Vital records are not available to the general public in Missouri. Copies of vital records are made available to certain persons or institutions. This aids in the protection of identities, the prevention of fraud, and the preservation of vital documents. Certain categories of people are exempt from this rule. These include: members of the military; active police officers; judges; prosecuting attorneys; licensed physicians; licensed psychologists; social workers; marriage license applicants; and deceased individuals as identified by a death certificate.
Missouri law provides for the creation of copies of original birth registrations. These copies are called "certificates of live birth." The law that creates these certificates also allows anyone to petition a court to order a copy of the registration for any reason. The petitioner must pay filing fees to file the motion and affidavits with the circuit clerk who will issue the subpoena for the original birth registration form. The movant then has 120 days to serve the subpoena on the registrar. If no action is taken within that time frame, the certificate is declared null and void.
People can see their own birth records if they are alive or the record has not been destroyed. Otherwise, they cannot obtain information about themselves through the traditional means of government agencies.
Individuals who believe that their birth records are incorrect or have been destroyed should contact their local office of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Please call the Missouri Office of Vital Records at 573-751-6387 or visit their website at Missouri State Vital Records if you have any questions or concerns. The Missouri Adoption Act requires that all adopted persons verify their birth certificate and submit to a background check before being granted a license as an adoptive parent.
Your birth mother may or may not have notified Social Services after your adoption, but they must be notified if you are to be granted a new birth certificate with only one parent listed. If this has happened to you, contact the county office of vital records where you were born to request a copy of the notification form.
The record room is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Afterhours and weekend visits are available by appointment only. You can make these appointments by calling 573-751-6387 or emailing [email protected].
Birth certificates may be obtained by visiting a local county office of vital records, which can be found using the "Where's My Birth Certificate?" tool on the Missouri Secretary of State's website.
Adoptions can be made during business hours or afterhours by appointment only.
If you do not know your precise birth date or place, the Missouri Department of Health will do a 5-year search. If you do not wish to obtain the birth record, you can look for birth information in other records. For example, your parents might know the year you were born if they received a Missouri Birth Certificate when they applied for their first automobile insurance policy. Or your employer may have information about your birthday, such as whether it is public or private, because it is usually listed on an employee badge or identification card.
Searching Missouri birth records on Ancestry.com: To start your search, go to "Browse Census Records." Choose "Missouri Federal Population Census," which will show you all years available on this census. Select the year you were born and click on the "View Detail" button next to each census record. This will take you to a page with more information about that person. Click on the "View Image" button next to the person's residence address to see a large image of their household sheet. You can use this picture to identify people in other records.
Finding birth information in other records: Your parents might have received a Missouri Birth Certificate when they applied for their first automobile insurance policy.