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The History & Genealogy Department collection consists of resources that support local history and genealogical research pertaining to St. Louis; Missouri; the colonial United States; US westward migration; and immigration to Missouri. Items selected for the collection are chosen for their genealogical or historical value and their practical long-term preservation and access.

Pardon Our Mess!

We are working to add information and make this portion of the website easier to use. In the meantime, please visit our temporary location.

Memory Lab - NEW!

The Memory Lab, consisting of two dedicated rooms, located in the Emerson History and Genealogy Center on the 2nd floor of the Clark Family Branch is a do-it-yourself digitization space where you can convert your memories into digital format. 

Make an Appointment


The Digital Archives contain hundreds of digitized records including Missouri yearbooks, St. Louis newspapers, St. Louis City and County directories, burial certificates, maps and atlases. There are a number of features within the digital archives that make it easy to discover specific items or to simply browse. The History & Genealogy Department has a vast physical collection and work will continue to digitize materials and grow the Digital Archives.

Start Exploring

St. Louis County Library Digital Archives

In order to conduct reasonable-exhaustive research, Genealogists need at their disposal a wide-variety of resource types.  The library considers for selection resources including, but not limited to the following:

  • Abstracts, Transcripts, and Indexes of Historical Records
  • Business, Community, Industry, Military, Religious, and Transportation Histories
  • Published Diaries, Memoirs, and Letters
  • Plat Maps and Atlases
  • City, County, and Farm Directories and Phone Books
  • Family Histories
  • Yearbooks and School Directories
  • International sources related to Missouri immigration

The scope of resources is determined based on location-based needs.  Primary selection of resources for the United States emphasizes 32 states including, but not limited to: 

Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia

International locations are identified based on Missouri immigration needs and selection is limited to resources that are available for purchase.  Current locations of selection consideration include, but are not limited to:

Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, India, Italy, Lithuania,
Luxemburg, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Scotland, Switzerland, Wales

United States and International selection is regularly reviewed and revised to ensure locations of collection development meet contemporary needs.

The National Genealogical Society Book Loan Collection (NGS Collection) features more than 27,000 books-- including more than 10,750 published family histories--dedicated to family history research,. Originally housed at NGS headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, the 98-year-old collection was relocated to St. Louis County Library in St. Louis, Missouri in 2001. Although access was once limited to NGS membership, the NGS Collection is now accessible to everyone through interlibrary loan services (ILL) or by visiting History & Genealogy at St. Louis County Library. Such access to published family histories is unparalleled in the genealogical community.

National Genealogical Society - Founded in 1903 (logo containing green tree with black text in a circle surrounding tree

The History & Genealogy Department historically entered into a number of partnerships with genealogical organizations to expand collections. The Department has also worked with a variety of donors and genealogical collectors to expand resources through named collections. Examples of these collections include but are not limited to: 

  • National Genealogical Society Book Loan Collection
  • St. Louis Genealogical Society Collection
  • Julius K. Hunter & Friends African American Research Collection
  • Lewis Bunker Rohrbach Collection
  • Joyce A. Reisinger Collection
  • William C.E. and Bessie Becker Collection
  • Mary Berthold Collection
  • St. Louis Jewish Genealogical Society Collection

CD-ROM publications and other electronic files are located on the CD-ROM computer, a public PC in the History & Genealogy Department. Inquire with a staff member.

View List of Publications

Book a Genealogist

Genealogy staff are available for consultation to provide extra assistance with your family history research. Consultations are made by phone to provide research guidance and direction to resources.

Lookups & Other Services

Genealogy staff will be happy to look up and send copies of records found in indexed sources. There are some guidelines for books, newsletters and magazines as well as newspaper obituaries, articles and city directories on microfilm.

Oral History Kits

Everyone has a history with stories to tell and share. Let us help document your friends and families!

Scanning Kits

Transform those photos, notes, scrapbooks, and documents into generational legacies!

Planning your Visit

  • Bring money for making copies and printouts (a coin changer is available in the department)
  • Bring writing paper, pens or pencils, and personal notes
  • Our online catalog and online indexes and finding aids for many of its sources are available via the internet.
  • We offer both computer access and Wi-Fi at the library.
  • Books in the National Genealogical Society Book Loan Collection may be checked out with a valid library card or obtained through interlibrary loan.
  • Researchers have full access to all genealogical subscription databases while in any branch of the library along with information about remote access.
  • There is a digital microfilm/microfiche reader available.
  • One photocopier is available for making 8-1/2" x 11" and 11" x 17" prints.
  • The photocopies will make digital copies for saving to a flash drive. We also have an overhead book scanner capable of saving to a flash drive.
  • The collection is organized using the Dewey Decimal System. For genealogy, this means many of our resources are organized by state and county.  We have created a guide: Dewey Decimal Numbers for States and Counties to assist you in your research.   

Security/Inspection Notice

The library staff reserves the right to inspect all items before a visitor enters or leaves the History & Genealogy Department.