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Below is information on how to research Vernon County, Missouri deaths, burials, and obituaries.

1.  Vernon County, Missouri Cemetery Directory 2010.  This new directory includes information on many previously unrecorded deaths and burials.  It includes an every-name index of more than 51,000 deaths and burials, with maiden names cross-referenced.

2.  1883-1910 Database of Officially Reported Births and Deaths in Vernon County.  Prior to 1883, Missouri counties were not asked to record births and deaths.  Beginning in 1883, counties were asked (but not required) to report births and deaths.  The births and deaths that were recorded in the County Clerk's office beginning in 1883 are in this database at the Missouri State Archives website.  Because it was not mandatory to report births or deaths from 1883-1910, many are not included.

3.  Death Certificates Over 50 Years Old.  Missouri required death certificates beginning in 1910, and those which are at least 50 years old are available online without charge at Missouri State Archives advanced search. This is a copy of the official Missouri Death Certificate, but it is not embossed as a legal document.

4.  Death Certificates Not Yet 50 Years Old are available from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services ($13-15).  If the death occurred after 1980, a copy of a Missouri Legal Certificate of Death can be obtained at each county's Health Department.  Please note that the "legal certificate of death" that can be obtained from a county Health Department is not the same document and does not contain all of the genealogically significant information which the Death Certificate documents from the State Archives and Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services will have.  Death certificates before 1980 and not yet 50 years old must be ordered from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services in Jefferson City.

5.  Find A Grave. Thousands of generous volunteers have posted cemetery information and gravestone pictures on the Find A Grave website. A variety of searches are available including by name, location, cemetery. Many contain biographical information, obituaries, and photos. Many Vernon County burials are included, but no cemetery's listing is complete.

6.  Funeral Home Records. Abstracts and indexes of many early funeral home records are available to researchers at the Nevada Library Genealogy Department. Online indexes are available for some of these records.

7.  Obituaries and Notices of Death from Microfilmed Newspapers. All of the extant early newspapers in this area have been microfilmed by the State Historical Society of Missouri. A listing of the newspaper microfilm available in the Nevada Library Genealogy Department is at this link.  For a detailed list of specific issues available, see the Vernon County microfilm list for those papers at Newspaper Archives of the State Historical Society.

8.  Newspaper Indexes. Many of Vernon County's early area newspapers have been abstracted and indexed and are now available in the Nevada Library Genealogy Department. Many of the indexes to these newspaper books are also available online.

9.  Obituary Card File. If a local death occurred more recently than 1985, a copy of the obituary may be available in the Genealogy Department's alphabetical card file.

10.  Obituaries Online. Please check these links for copies of more recent obituaries available online:

     The Nevada Daily Mail and Sunday Herald Tribune, Nevada, MO

     The Fort Scott Tribune, Fort Scott, KS

     Ferry Funeral Home, Nevada, MO

     Cheney Witt Memorial Chapel, Fort Scott, KS

     Find A Grave

     Obituary Central

     Vernon Co USGenWeb Obituaries

The Nevada Library Genealogy Department has microfilm copies of all local newspapers which have been microfilmed.

11.  Probate Index. If the estate of the deceased was settled in probate court, there will be documents pertaining to the settlement. Many of the older probate files do not list an exact date of death; however, the earliest filing date is generally a few days after the death. Click here for an on-line searchable Probate Index. If the deceased had minor children at the time of his death, researchers should also look for information under the name of those individual minor children.

     Researchers now have the option to request a digital copy of a probate file on CD/DVD from the genealogy society.  These enhanced digital images can be enlarged on the computer screen, making them easier to read; and pages can be selectively printed.  Please email for a fee quote for a digital or paper copy Cedar.VernonCoMO@centurytel.net 

12.  Social Security Death Index. If the death occurred after about 1962 and the deceased was receiving a Social Security benefit or the death was reported to the Social Security Administration, a listing may be found in the Social Security Death Index.  The SSDI is available online for free at https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1202535 and also at http://www.stevemorse.org/ssdi/ssdi.html

Members of the genealogy society are available to conduct research on behalf of the society if you are unable to make a research trip. Please see their website for information on requesting lookups or conducting general research.


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Vernon Co, MO County Coordinator

Nancy Thompson