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Deed records for St. Louis are available at the Recorder of Deeds Office in City Hall. These records dating from 1804 to 1876 cover for what is today St. Louis City and St. Louis County. St. Louis City records are also available from 1877 to current day at City Hall. The County records, starting in 1877 to the current day, are available at the County Courthouse in Clayton, Missouri.

The original Spanish and French land grants are available on microfilm. The 1838 Dupré Atlas outlines the original grants. The Board of Land Commissioners outlines early property owners.

Collett’s Index


Oscar Collett indexed early St. Louis deeds. During the French and Spanish days, prior to 1803, most citizens had the right to buy and sell property. After 1804, only adult white males were allowed to trade property. Unfortunately, Collett’s index does not include transactions by women, children, or people of color.

If you think your ancestor was the original landowner, check the Bureau of Land Management website. The transactions listed on this site include sales between the U.S. government and the grantee.

The Missouri Archives Land Patents database indexes grantees that purchased property from the state government from 1831 to 1910. St. Louis residents may have purchased property near St. Louis or further out-state for investment purposes. For example, a father may have purchased property and then sent his son(s) to farm and develop the new land.

Would you like StLGS to research Collett’s Index for your ancestor’s name? St. Louis Research Request.

Property Measures


A variety of measuring devices were used to survey property two hundred years ago. The measuring devices listed below describe the actual measurements.

1 mile = 80 chains = 320 poles, rods, or perches = 5280 feet
1 chain = 4 poles, rods, or perches = 66 feet = 100 links
1 pole, rod, or perch = 25 links = 16 1/2 feet
1 link = 7.92 inches

640 acres = 1 section = 1 square mile
320 acres = 1/2 section
160 acres = 1/4 section
80 acres = 1/2 of 1/4 section
40 acres = 1/4 of 1/4 section

Recorder of Deeds Offices

Recorder of Deeds Offices
Archives Department, Room 127
1200 Market
St. Louis, Missouri 63103
314-589-6796

Recorder of Deeds Office
St. Louis County Government Center
41 S. Central Avenue
Clayton, Missouri 63105

Bibliography

Atlas of the City and County of St. Louis by Congressional Townships. St. Louis: E. Dupré Lithographer, 1838. [This book is commonly called the1838 Dupré Atlas.]

Collet, Oscar W. Index to the Records in the Recorder’s Office of St. Louis County. 5 volumes. St. Louis: St. Louis City Hall, 1918.

Lowrie, Walter. Early Settlers of Missouri as taken from Land Claims in the Missouri Territory. Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1986.

St. Louis Genealogical Society. Index to the Minutes of the First and Second Board of Land Commissioners, Missouri, 1805–1812, 1832–1835. St. Louis: St. Louis Genealogical Society, 1983.

 

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