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State records typically begin in 1910, and that is when most Missouri genealogy material will start to become available. They do have strict access rules for some documents so you may have to be creative in where you begin your search.
Missouri Vital Records
Of all types of vital records, the birth records in Missouri are the hardest to get copies of. They are held confidential permanently, with no expiry date for that restriction. The only people who are allowed to request copies are the people on the record themselves, or their parents. These records are held by the Bureau of Vital Records in Jefferson City, and also by the local health department office in your area.
Death records are also confidential but the Bureau of Vital Records only keeps them for 50 years. After that, they can be accessed in digitized form (not certified copies) from the State Archives. Marriage records are also available through the vital records office but also from the Recorder of Deeds Office where the marriage took place.
If you are going to make a request through the Bureau of Vital Records, you just have to submit the completed form (which is available from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website), along with a notarized signature and the search fee. You'll need the same documents if you are going to the health department office in your area as well.
Visiting in person usually gets your your Missouri genealogy documents while you wait but mailed in requests will take up to a month. The fee for a birth or marriage record is $15 and for a death record is $13. You can pay in cash if you go to the office in person, otherwise, send a check or money order. The fees cover the cost of the search and are not returned should your documents not be found.
Missouri State Archives
You can find quite a lot more Missouri genealogy material at the Archives than just through the Vital Records office.
As mentioned above, you can get copies of death records that are more than 50 years old via microfilm. Their website also allows for searches through their indexes and you can print out images of most records that way as well. Aside from that, you can also find military records (including Civil War material), land records, judicial documents, photographs, census records, naturalization files and a lot more.
Their research room offers public access to their collection 6 days a week (closed Sundays) for normal business hours. Thursdays are open later into the evenings. They are located in Jefferson City, but you can make some research requests via email for their staff if you are not in the area for your own visit.
Genealogy Groups and Societies
Joining a local Missouri genealogy group can lead you to many unique types of references that you may not find on your own. The Missouri State Genealogy Association is the largest group for the entire state and there are dozens of smaller groups for each county in Missouri. Other specific regions may also have their own groups, such as the Ozarks Genealogy Society or the St. Louis Genealogical Society.
Missouri Genealogy Databases
Missouri Genealogy on Other Sites
Find Missouri Societies, & Biographies
Missouri Genealogy Links