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Holdings & Collections

Founded in 1998, the History and Genealogy Department is a major research destination offering access to a growing collection of more than 100,000 print items, large microfilm and periodical collections, and a variety of electronic databases.

History & Genealogy collections offer unique sources for research in the St. Louis area and states east of and bordering the Mississippi River, with emphasis on migration trails. Military history and sources for research on various ethnic and national groups are well represented.

Major collections

St. Louis Genealogical Society Collection (STLGS)

A core collection offering unique materials for St. Louis metropolitan-area and midwest research as well as sources for finding European roots.

The National Genealogical Society Book Loan Collection (NGS)

The NGS Collection features more than 27,000 circulating volumes. Received in 2001, the collection features state, county and local histories; cemetery, church, court, land, marriage and estate record abstracts and indexes; and more than 10,750 family histories. The collection is particularly strong in materials for eastern states and New England. All items in the NGS collection may be checked out or borrowed via interlibrary loan.

The Julius K. Hunter and Friends African American Research Collection (JKH)

The JKH Collection, established in 2000, features African American genealogical resources in print and on microfilm and microfiche. The JKH Collection was established through the efforts of Mr. Julius K. Hunter in collaboration with the St. Louis Genealogical Society. In addition to his personal contributions, Mr. Hunter sought donations from corporate and individual friends. To recognize and honor Mr. Hunter's vision, St. Louis County Library established the Julius K. Hunter & Friends African American Research Collection. This collection continues to grow through funds from the library, the society, and Mr. Hunter and other friends of the collection.

“The Descriptive Recruitment Lists of Volunteers for United States Colored Troops for the State of Missouri, 1863–1865” is a unique film set made possible by a partnership of the JKH Collection and the National Archives. Other sources included in the JKH Collection are listed in the department’s “African American Genealogy” guide.

Find out more about the JKH collection and its holdings.

The William C.E. and Bessie K. Becker Collection

Comprised of sources for German, Swiss, and Irish research. Featured is a collection of more than 850 microfilm reels of parish records from Canton Bern, Switzerland.

The Mary F. Berthold Collection

A collection of rare and heavily used works acquired from the National Genealogical Society’s Reference Library.

The Jewish Genealogical Society of St. Louis Collection

Includes the society’s library, formerly housed at the United Hebrew Temple, and additional Jewish genealogical resources. More than 100 Yizkor books provide invaluable resources for researching destroyed Jewish communities and families lost to the Holocaust

The Lewis Bunker Rohrbach Collection

Featuring sources for research in Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New England, and rarely found items for English, Welsh, and Scots genealogy, as well as unique materials relating to the history and culture of Canton Bern, Switzerland.

The Joy A. Reisinger Collection

The Joy A. Reisinger Collection is comprised of 1,400 books and periodicals from the library of the late Joy A. Reisinger, a notable genealogist who died in 2013. The collection includes many hard-to-find books and publications pertaining to French Canadian history and genealogy.

Joy Reisinger was a well known genealogist and genealogical lecturer specializing in French Canadian and Upper Midwest research. She conducted workshops and gave lectures throughout the U.S. and Canada. She was accredited by the Board for Certification of Genealogists in 1980 and received numerous awards for her work, most notably the Association of Professional Genealogists Grahame Thomas Smallwood Jr. Award of Merit, the Federation of Genealogical Societies Presidential Citation and Award of Merit, and the National Genealogical Society Certificate of Merit.

Acquisition of the Reisinger Collection was made possible in 2014 through a gift provided by the family of William C.E. and Bessie K. Becker.