Birthdate Calculator

Math not your thing? Ever been stumped by those old tombstones or obituaries that have "27 years, 4 months and 19 days"? Here is a tool to help you calculate a date of birth from the date of death. It isn't an exact science, but it will get you close! Birthday Calculator

Buchanan County School Records

Old county school records are available at most courthouses in the state of Missouri. They can vary greatly in the information they give, and what years are available, but it is certainly worth looking into them. The records that contain the parents names and the addresses are private under the 72 year rule. Below is a finding aid (listing) of the records that were available in Buchanan County. This was made in 2003, so since then more records have become public, but this is a good document to give you an idea of what may be available.

If you would like the NWMGS to research and access the original records, please email us.

Buchanan County School Records - finding aid

Finding Obituaries

As this is one of the most common requests we receive at the NWMGS, we thought it warranted its own special page for information.

The St. Joseph Public Library (SJPL) has been indexing the obituaries that appear in the St. Joseph News-Press and the St. Joseph Gazette for many years. They have also worked back in time to 1951. Recently they have also begun to put these indexes on their website. (NOTE: not ALL of their indexes are yet available online, but they are working on adding them as fast as they can) This is a great asset if you are not sure which year someone died. Keep in mind that these indexes list the date the obituary appeared in the paper(s), NOT the actual date of death.

SJPL Obit Index

Here in Missouri we are fortunate to have the official death certificates available online. However, it can be frustrating to know when someone died, and where they lived, but NOT be able to find the death certificate. Keep in mind that the death obviously did not HAVE to take place near home. Here in Northwest Missouri we are very near three other states. We often see articles in the old papers that state, "Mr. Smith was visiting from his home in Omaha and passed away while visiting his sister." This is why the obit index is such a valuable tool to use in conjunction with the death certificates.

While the SJPL has the very best reference librarians, their time and resources are stretched like the rest of us. They will usually look in the index to see if a person has an obit if they are not too busy. However, we want to let you know that a) they are available online, and b) we also have a copy of the indexes at the NWMGS.

The library charges a minimum of $10 to actually acquire and mail you a copy. We will do the same at a charge of $5 per 1/2 hour, plus postage. In most cases, if you've found the date of the obit, the 1/2 hour will cover the travel and research time. We will also send the obit to you electronically if you so desire, to save postage and wait time. We know how much you really want to SEE that obit!!!

Another option to keep in mind is that there was a smaller newspaper called the St. Joseph Observer. This paper was published from 1915 - 1932. The Library of Congress has digitized much of this paper and it is available online to search. Since this was a weekly paper, the obituaries are not as complete as the daily newspapers, however, it is certainly worth a look (only 1915 - 1922 is digitized).

Library of Congress newspaper search has also recently added newspapers from Nodaway county.

And finally, please take a look at the Publications the NWMGS has put together. These include many indexes of newspapers from earlier years and throughout the 9 county area we serve. We are happy to look in these indexes to see if a name appears.

Missouri Death Certificates

As most of you know, researchers with ancestors that died in Missouri are fortunate to have Death Certificates after 1910 available online. The law provides for death certificates to become public domain 50 years after the person is deceased. Each year the State of Missouri adds a full years worth of Death Certificates to the online database.

Perpetual Calendar

Ever wonder what day of the week you were born? What day someone died on? What day of the week a historic event took place? The Accuracy Project's Perpetual Calendar Index (1801 - 2100) will help you find all of that and more. And while you are there, take a look at the other goodies they have available. It's a great resource for all kinds of good information!

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St. Joseph Missouri
Convention & Visitors Bureau