Missouri Death Certificates
September 16, 2013
If you are researching a person who died in Missouri between 1910 and 1962, you are in luck, because you can view a digital copy of their death certificate online at Missouri Digital Heritage. Go to: http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/resources/deathcertificates/, and click on “Search Death Certificate Database.” You will be prompted to fill in boxes with last name, first name, county, and year for the basic search. Or, you can click on the Advanced Search link for more name options. You do not have to fill in every box. You can leave county blank if you are unsure and the same for the year.
If you have trouble finding your person, play with the information you put in the box and try different combinations. Like with all genealogy searching, you must be open for variations in what you think might be there. For instance, if you are not pulling someone up with their first name and last name, search only on the last name, and then scan the list for your person.
I searched and searched for my uncle’s first wife, and I could not find her, though I was pretty certain that she died in Missouri before 1962. I searched on her first name and the county that I thought she might have died in and scanned the list. Luckily, she has an uncommon name. She was there, but her last name had been indexed wrong. I sent an email to Missouri Digital Heritage about the error, and they were able to correct it, graciously emailing me back to thank me and let me know it was fixed.
Missouri law indicates that the death certificates cannot be made public online for 50 years, so at the beginning of next year, another year’s worth of names will be indexed and added to the database. There are volunteers who do this, and in the past, this project has been completed in short order. Missouri is one of a very few states who provide this information online, and it is something that the genealogy community is indeed grateful to have access to.
Midwest Genealogy Center