Tuesday, January 03, 2006

St. Louis burial/death records

The Special Collections Department of the St. Louis County Library has put online a useful guide to St. Louis City Burial Certificates.

The earliest records in this microfilm set (1882) have "Burial Certificate St. Louis" printed across the the (sic) top of each document. The certificate recorded a death and gave permission for internment (sic) of the deceased body in a cemetery in the City of St. Louis. Because a deceased body could not be buried in St. Louis without this document, it was often referred to as a "Burial Permit."

With the passage of time, the heading at the top of the pre-printed form changed to "City of St. Louis, Health Department Certificate of Death." The arrangement of the information changed through the years, and the later records in the set gathered more information about the deceased.

In fact, the records evolved so much that toward the end of the record set the forms pretty much resembled State of Missouri death certificates. So if anyone ever says that you can't get death records in St. Louis City before 1910, when the State started to keep track, remember that the "burial" permits go back to 1882 (and the city death register to 1850).


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