Vernon Co, MO USGenWeb Project :: Deaths




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Below is information on how to research Vernon County, Missouri deaths, burials, and obituaries.  Many of these links are valid for researching any county in Missouri.

1.  Vernon County, Missouri Cemetery Directory 2010.  This directory includes information on many deaths/burials that were not published in the previous cemetery directory.  It includes an every-name index of more than 51,000 deaths and burials, with many maiden names cross-referenced.  The cemetery directory is available to view at the Nevada Public Library or can be purchased from the Bushwhacker Museum. The directory is not available online.  If researching other Missouri counties, Google the public library in that county and then search the library's card catalog to see if they have a local cemetery directory.  Note that not all libraries are listed at

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. 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. This link covers all Missouri counties. 

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 an image of the official Missouri Death Certificate, but it is not embossed as a legal document. IMPORTANT: Names in the older hand-written certificates can be difficult to read and are often misspelled. Do not use a middle name or initial when searching; less is better.  This link covers all Missouri counties.

4.  Death Certificates Not Yet 50 Years Old are available from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services ($13).  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.  This link covers all Missouri counties.

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, geographic location, cemetery, etc. Many contain biographical information, obituaries, and photos. Many Vernon County burials are included, but no Vernon County cemetery's listing is 100% complete.  This link covers all of the United States and beyond. 

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

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 SocietyThe Newspaper Archives covers all Missouri counties and that microfilm is available for Inter Library Loan.

     Many issues of the Nevada newspapers are available online at Google News.  However, several issues have not been put online, and some issues have sections erased from the digital file.  Please see for information on how to order a copy of a specific article if you know the date of the publication or event and you are unable to get a usable copy from Google News.

     Outlying towns had newspapers, and extant issues have been microfilmed but not digitized:  Bronaugh, El Dorado Springs, Jerico Springs, Lamar, Metz, Schell City, Sheldon, and Walker.

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 on this Vernon County website.

9.  Obituary Card File. If a local death occurred between approximately 1985 and October 2012, a copy of the obituary may be available in the Genealogy Department's alphabetical card file.  These are obituaries from the Nevada newspapers, filed alphabetically by surname of the deceased.

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

     The Nevada Daily Mail, Nevada, MO

     The Fort Scott Tribune, Fort Scott, KS

     Ferry Funeral Home, Nevada, MO

     Heuser Funeral Home, Rich Hill, MO

     Cheney Witt Memorial Chapel, Fort Scott, KS

     Find A Grave

The Nevada Library Genealogy Department has film copies of all local newspapers that have been microfilmed.

     Nevada Daily Mail on Google News  Enter only month and year in the Date field below the Google search fields. If no issues are shows for the day needed, begin with the previous issue link -- often several days are included at one link.

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 the individual minor children.

     For an estimate on obtaining a digital or paper copy, contact  

     A list of records on microfilm at the Missouri State Archives for all Missouri counties is at this link:  Click on "County and Municipal Records."

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 and also at


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