Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Press release for Missouri death certificate project

The Missouri Secretary of State has issued a press release announcing the 1910-1955 index of state death certificates, and provided a link to the database. (I should also note that this morning the Archives emailed to let me know that they had fixed the bug I alluded to last night and now searching for records works exactly as intended.)

Carnahan Provides Access to Over Two Million Death Certificates

New, online database will include death records from 1910-1955

Jefferson City, Missouri -- Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced that her office will unveil a new, online death certificate database tomorrow during an event at the St. Louis County Library Headquarters.

The database, which is the largest online project ever completed by the Missouri State Archives, contains over two million individual death certificates searchable by name, county, or month and year. In addition, the database contains digital images of certificates from 1910-1920, with subsequent years to follow.

"I'm pleased that our office can provide the public with unprecedented access to information about Missouri's history. This online database is an invaluable tool of genealogical and historical research that will enable us to learn more about the history of our families, as well as our common past," said Carnahan.

A death certificate can reveal information of great value to genealogists and historians about the life of the deceased, such as occupation, birthplace, parents, and marital status. A death certificate can also reveal important information about social history, such as recording the deadly influenza epidemic that struck Missouri and the nation in 1918, causing more deaths than any other year from 1910-1955.

Within the collection are the death certificates of the notorious James Gang outlaw Cole Younger; Kansas City political boss Tom Pendergast; St. Louis Civil Rights Attorney Homer G. Phillips; and numerous Missouri governors.

The Death Certificate Database was made possible by the work of over 600 volunteers and students from across the nation and other countries, who logged over 27,000 hours. Volunteers will continue to work on the project until digital images of all the certificates are available online, an accomplishment that will benefit genealogists and scholars throughout the country. The database will be available at

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