Searching Early St. Louis Records for Deaths by Drowning

The following record collection in Ancestry Library Edition (Ancestry LE) covers nearly all deaths recorded in the Death Registry Books for St. Louis during the period August 1850 through December 1902:

St. Louis, Missouri, Death Records, 1850-1902

Flash flooding deaths 2015 (Mo.gov photo)
Flash flooding deaths 2015 (Mo.gov photo)

Statewide registration of deaths was not required in Missouri until 1910, only about 60 percent of St. Louis City deaths were recorded prior to that date.

It is possible to search using these parameters:

    First & Middle Name(s)
    Last Name
    Birth—Location
    Death—Day—Month—Year—Location
    Any Event—Location
    Keyword
    Cemetery
    Address

You can search for an individual of interest, but it is also possible to do a general search of these records for drowning deaths. Yes, there are numerous advantages to living beside a mighty river—but a mighty river can at times be hazardous to one’s health. These searches turn up definite drowning victims (case does not matter):

ADDRESS drowning (Exact)
ADDRESS drowned (Exact)
ADDRESS floating (Exact)
ADDRESS in the river (Exact)

You can also try these searches:

ADDRESS Mississippi River (Exact) 428 results
ADDRESS River (Exact) 680 results

Some of these people in the results lived on or near the waterfront, but some were drowning victims. Further research in local newspapers may help pinpoint cause of death in cases of uncertainty.

These searches should prove of great interest to genealogists, students, and local historians.

You can use Ancestry LE at Central Library or any of our branches.

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