A coroner is an elected official whose job is to investigate all unnatural deaths, homicides, suicides, and accidents. Some counties in Missouri still have coroners. Others have medical examiners, who are usually specialists in forensic pathology and are appointed rather than elected.
The death of a child or younger person or a death of anyone in a public location is usually included in the coroner’s records. In the past, St. Louis City and County each had coroners. Today (2015), they each have medical examiners.
Most modern coroner records contain all or some of the following information: name of deceased, address or location of body, date of death, age, marital status, country of birth, occupation, residence (maybe the same as location of body), and name of the coroner. The record usually provides the cause of death and the names and statements from witnesses, if any.
There was a coroner’s office in St. Louis prior to 1876, with all unnatural deaths processed at this location. Those records are available at the Clark Avenue address listed below or on microfilm. The Missouri Digital Heritage Coroner’s Inquest Database is an index of coroners’ records from several Missouri counties, including the City of St. Louis.
From 1845 to 1876, all city and county records are in one location. After 1876, after the City of St. Louis split from St. Louis County, there were two coroners’ offices. Contact the St. Louis City office or the St. Louis County office to obtain the record you need. To expedite your search, you need to determine the place of death, either the city or county.
Coroners’ records are open to the public. Medical examiners’ records are considered private and available only to the next of kin. The microfilmed records of St. Louis City coroners start in 1846 and continue to 1900. Photocopies of records after 1900 are available from the office.
Coroners’ records in St. Louis City are available by mail. Send your request to:
St. Louis Medical Examiner’s Office
1300 Clark Ave.
St. Louis, Missouri 63101-2718
More information at https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/medical-examiner/
St. Louis County records starting in 1877 are not online or microfilmed. Contact the St. Louis County Coroner’s Office to obtain a copy of these records.
St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s Office
George Gantner Building
6059 N. Hanley Road
St. Louis, Missouri 63134
More information at http://www.stlouisco.com/healthandwellness/medicalexaminer
Northcott, Dennis. St. Louis County Coroners’ Records, 1826–1873. St. Louis: Missouri Historical Society, 1997.
Last modified: 21-Jun-2016 12:43