Obtain Adoption Records

How to obtain pre-1917 adoption records from the Archives Department or post-1917 records from the 22nd Circuit Court


1917 to Present Missouri Adoption Records

Since July 1917, adoptions in Missouri have been under the jurisdiction of circuit courts and are sealed court records.

Family Court provides an information packet with instructions on how to obtain various adoption records. Visit the Circuit Court Family Court page for more information.

Pre-1917 St. Louis City Deeds of Adoption

Pre-1917 Deeds of Adoption were recorded with county Recorders of Deeds and are public records. Deeds of Adoption were recorded with property transactions in land record deed books.



Assemble as much of the following information as possible:

  1. Adoptive name
  2. Adoptee’s date of birth
  3. Adoptee's birth name
  4. Names of the adoptive parents
  5. The name of the adoption agency involved in the adoption
  6. Names of the birth parents
  7. Date on which the adoption was finalized



For Adoptions 1880 to 1916 visit the Archives department 8:00am-5:00pm Monday-Friday to request your adoption records.

Archives Department
Room 129-A, City Hall
1200 Market
St. Louis, Missouri 63103
(314) 589-8174

For 1917 to Present records, contact the Circuit Court Family Court.


For adoptions 1880-1916

  • Free name search using Deeds of Adoptions Card File Index
  • $3 Per uncertified copy
  • No copies of Index Cards or Book Covers
  • $ Payment for walk-In service is by Visa/MasterCard, Cash, Money Order, or Business Check. No personal checks.
  • $ Payment for mail-In service is by Personal Check, Business Check, Money Order, or Cash.


What to Expect

For pre-1917 adoption records, you can acquire the record during your visit to the Recorder of Deeds Archives Department.


Additional Information

Research Tip for Pre-1917: When recorded, a Deed of Adoption was indexed by date of recording not date of deed. Submitting and paying for recordation of a deed, real estate deed and deed of adoption alike, in a timely matter was not the norm in Missouri in the 19th Century and the first half of the 20th Century. While the last Deeds of Adoption were contracted in 1917, some of these deeds were recorded much later in the Century. This is an important consideration when researching Deeds of Adoption recorded in county Recorder offices which do not have adoptions re-indexed as a separate collection of records. It could be that a 1916 Deed of Adoption will be found in a 1950 Land Deeds Index.



Archives Department - Recorder of Deeds


(314) 622-4546

1200 Market St., City Hall, Room 129A
St. Louis, MO 63103

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Monday - Friday

Contact the Archives Department - Recorder of Deeds

Related Resources

22nd Circuit Court Family Court
Information on obtaining adoption records from 1917-present.

Adoption Information Registry
The Adoption Information Registry is a service within the Missouri Children’s Division by which Adult Adoptees (age 18 and over) and Biological Parents or Adult siblings may indicate their desire to be contacted by each other upon the voluntary registration of all parties to the adoption.

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