Reclaim the Records has announced a significant expansion of its public datasets, with the release of over one million new records from the Missouri Birth Index and Missouri Death Index. These records, which are available for free, offer a wealth of information for family history researchers, genealogists, journalists, epidemiologists, and anyone interested in accessing historical and vital data.
The journey to secure these records was not without its challenges. Between 2016 and 2020, Reclaim the Records filed a landmark Missouri Sunshine Law case against the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). The organization aimed to obtain lists of people born or deceased in the state, data that could prove invaluable to researchers. What should have been a straightforward public records request turned into a lengthy legal battle, costing the state a substantial amount in attorney fees and fines.
However, Reclaim the Records persevered and ultimately triumphed in court. The case set a powerful precedent, emphasizing the importance of government transparency, especially during times like the coronavirus pandemic.
Now, Reclaim the Records reveals the fruits of its labour—a massive update to the Missouri Birth Index and Missouri Death Index. These records have been meticulously collected, digitized, and made available for free on the organization’s websites. Researchers can search the records by surnames, given names, soundalike names, common nicknames, close spelling variants, wildcard searches, names combined with dates, and even specific date ranges without name data.
Here’s what you can find in the latest data update:
- The Missouri Birth Index now includes 588,542 new records spanning 1910-1919 and 2016-2022, totaling 8,090,516 records from 1910-2022.
- The Missouri Death Index has been updated with 482,900 new records from 2016-2022, resulting in a total of 3,081,382 records spanning 1968-2022.
Please note that the 2022 data files are considered provisional and may contain some errors or omissions. The finalized 2022 data, along with the provisional data from 2023, is expected to be released in mid-2024.
While the official 1910-1919 state birth index is incomplete due to historical reasons, alternative sources, such as records from towns, cities, counties, and religious communities, may provide additional pre-1920 birth data. Additionally, pre-1910 Missouri birth and death records are accessible on the Missouri Secretary of State’s website.
Furthermore, scanned copies of all Missouri death certificates from over fifty years ago, starting from 1910-1972, are available on the Secretary of State’s website. These records have been indexed, including information about the deceased person’s parents and spouse’s name, for records beginning in 1955.
Reclaim the Records encourages the use and reuse of these datasets and provides the original .CSV data files for download, hosted at the Internet Archive, at no cost. The data is in the public domain, but attribution to Reclaim the Records and a link to their website are appreciated when used for any purpose.
Reclaim the Records remains committed to its mission of making public data accessible to all. They have several ongoing cases aimed at securing more records from government agencies and archives nationwide and rely on the support of the public to continue their work. Donations can be made on their website to help further their mission of providing free access to historical records.
For more information and to access these valuable records, please visit Reclaim the Records’ website.
- Missouri: Picryl