Cass County Records

Tracing your Cass County ancestors is easy with this beginner-friendly guide to research tips, resources, and more.


Researching Your Cass County Ancestors

While the Genealogy Branch can help you with researching your ancestors from around the world, we specialize in resources located here in Cass County, Missouri. This beginner’s guide to researching your Cass County ancestors is designed to help connect you with records and the repositories that hold them.

Click the category name below to view the information provided.

▶︎ The Basics of Researching in Cass County
The Basics of Researching in Cass County
  • There are no known courthouse fires or massive record destruction
  • After a period of time, a majority of county records are sent to the Historical Society
    • However, that cut-off year varies based on record type
  • Some county departments have online document search databases featuring select record collections
    • Some allow copy requests by email
    • Others will require a visit in person to get copies of records
Finding Your Ancestors in Records and Indexes
  • Consider the terminology the record uses
  • Your ancestor might be listed in indexes as:
    • Juror, witness, victim, defendant, plaintiff (criminal/civil court records)
    • Grantor, grantee, executor, administrator (property/land records)
    • Deceased, informant, registrar, undertaker, physician (death registers/certificates)
Reading Historical Documents
  • Earlier records are often handwritten
  • Typed records start to become more common circa the 1940s
  • Keep this in mind when using transcriptions and indexes
    • Illegibility of the handwriting may account for spelling variations or inaccurate information
    • Information in indexes is at least three degrees removed from your ancestor:
      1. The clerk hearing and recording the information in the record
      2. The transcriber reading the handwritten information
      3. The transcriber recording the information in the index
    • This can alter the information over time, like a game of telephone
    • Errors can happen at any step — i.e. a careless or inexperienced transcriber misreading a name or maybe even an ancestor lying about their age
Reconnaissance is Key
  • If you are unsure where a particular record type for a given time frame is kept (i.e. a deed in the 1940s), call ahead to the county office responsible
    • If you do not know where to find a record, contact the Genealogy Branch to be directed to the right place
    • This will avoid wasting time looking in the wrong place
  • Check the Cass County Historical Society first for historical records in their archives
    • i.e. records dated prior to the early–mid 1900s
    • An index of records held at the Historical Society may be available at the Genealogy Branch – check our Indexes
▶︎ Where to Go for Records
Cass County Historical Society

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Research inquiries and copy requests can be submitted to the Historical Society via email at: CCHSMO@gmail.com

  • The county sends records to Historical Society
    • Cut off date for this is typically records from before the 1950s
  • Archives Inventory Master Index (46 Pages)
    • Copy available at the Genealogy Branch
  • Unique Record Collections:
    • County School Records (including rural schools)
    • County-wide Obituary Collection
    • Professional Registration lists (chiropractors, dentists, doctors, etc.)
    • Historical Photos (indexed by location and subject)
    • Court R
    • ecords (court minutes, probate files, fees books, witnesses, etc.)
    • Tax Books, Receipts, Delinquent Taxes, Assessor’s Books
    • Chattel mortgages, estray records (helpful for farmer ancestors)
    • Donations of personal records and photos

CCHS Online Archives

  • Obituary Collection Index
    • Copies of obituaries can be requested for a $5 fee
  • Marriage Record Index (alphabetically by both bride and groom)

 

Cass County Justice Center and Courthouse

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The Cass County Justice Center houses:

  • Circuit Clerk’s office
    • Domestic, civil, and criminal records
  • Probate and wills

Court records held in this location include:

  • Domestic: Dissolution (divorce), paternity actions, modification (name changes)
  • Civil: Small Claims Court (civil claims up to $5,000)
  • Probate: Wills, estates, guardianships, conservatorships
  • Criminal: all felony criminal offense case records, jury books, trial dockets, miscellaneous papers, etc.

Copy requests can be submitted to the Circuit Clerk’s office via email at Cass.Copies@courts.mo.gov

  • Current/ongoing cases copy requests get top priority
  • Turn around speed depends on how many other requests they have at the time

The Historic Courthouse houses:

  • County Clerk’s office
    • Election Authority holds voter lists back to 1903
  • Recorder’s office
    • Real estate and land records

Recorder of Deeds

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Records held here include:

  • Real Estate Records and Indexes
    • Surveys and plats
    • Chains of title (land transaction lists)
    • Deeds, deeds of trust, release deeds, mortgages
    • Federal and state tax liens
  • Marriage licenses
  • Military Discharge Documents
    • Discharge, separation notice, certificate of service, report of transfer or discharge, including the DD 214
    • Copies can be requested by:
      • the subject, or someone with written authorization from the subject
      • the subject’s spouse
      • a relative who is next of kin
      • by court order

Recorder’s Document Search

Online database of transcribed real estate and marriage license records held by the Recorder’s office

  • The database will require a login, but you may login as a guest by entering GUEST in all capitals in the username blank and clicking the Login button
  • When searching: at least two characters are required in the last name blank for any search
  • This database contains:
    • Real Estate Records, 1980–Present
    • Note: Real estate records 1940–Present are available in-office, and 1940 and older are held at the Historical Society
      • You can search by first, middle, and/or last name or by the name of the business
      • Filter by grantor, grantee, or both
      • Sort alphabetically, by instrument number, or recording date
    • Marriage Licenses, 1800s-Present
      • Searchable by first, middle, and last name

County Assessor’s Office

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Records generated and held here are more beneficial to present-day users, but the databases may help with property or land research

  • Property Tax Records
  • Personal Property Inventories
  • Real Estate Value and Assessment

Online Databases

  • Real Estate Search
    • Assessed Property Value
    • Search by: parcel number, deed holder, house number, street name, city, legal description, and lot area
  • Personal Property Search
    • Property and Tax Payment History
    • Search by: account number, house number and street name, or name

Cass County Health Department

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Copies of Missouri birth and death certificates for select years can be requested from the County Health Department — this applies to certificates from all Missouri counties, not just Cass County

Copy requests are best submitted in person

  • They can also be submitted by mail with notarized request forms and a copy of your driver’s license
  • Online requests can be made through VitalChek
    • This database has an additional processing fees
▶︎ Resources at the Genealogy Branch
Record Collections and Resources

Cass County Newspapers on Microfilm: See our finding aid for a detailed index of our microfilm rolls by paper title and years of coverage.

Cass County Cemetery Records: Researchers Brenda Marble and Debbi Lehr compiled this nearly comprehensive 10-volume resource by piecing together pre-existing cemetery records, obituaries, funeral home records, and death certificates. Start with the Master Index and visit the Genealogy Branch to view the volume indicated.

Crouch Files Research Collection: This indexed genealogy research collection, donated by Mary B. B. Crouch, includes research files containing over 180,000 surnames, local maps, family charts, photos, newspaper articles, and more.

Digital Collections

Newspaper Image Index: An ongoing project at the Genealogy Branch with the goal of creating a complete, searchable index of every image published in all the Cass County newspapers on microfilm in our collection. Visit our Digital Collections page to view and search the indexes for completed papers.

County Poor Farm Records: This collection includes: an index of the County Poor Farm Register, and reconstructed death records, including farm pay-patients and inmates who were later buried in unmarked graves.

Runnenburger Funeral Home Records: This index covers the funeral record books dated from 1901 to 1983, when the Runnenburger Funeral Home closed. The original copies of these records can be viewed at the Cass County Historical Society’s archives.

Cass County Records on Microfilm at the Genealogy Branch:

This resource includes records such as:

  • County deeds and deed indexes on microfilm
  • Register of Attorneys, 1835-1965
  • Index to Deaths, 1951-1952 (Probate Original Entry Book 78-79)
  • Grand River Baptist Church Records, 1844-1960

Copies Requests and Research Inquiries at the Genealogy Branch

Research inquiries and copy requests can be submitted by email at askgenealogy@casscolibrary.org

  • Black-and-white: 15 cents/page; Color: 75 cents/page
  • Microfilmed newspapers and records can be viewed and scanned with one of the viewers in the branch and then saved to a portable storage device or printed
  • There is no fee associated with research inquiries, however, staff availability can affect the time it takes to receive an answer.
  • Due to limitations, our staff does not conduct research on a patron's behalf, but can find answers to concise and specific questions