Greene County Records

This site contains the full-text contents of publications exploring different aspects of the history and people of Greene County, Missouri. It is a collection of full-text, indexes and abstracts to records held at the Greene County Archives and Records Center, Springfield, Missouri. These records include circuit court record books, coroner's records, alms house records, justice of the peace records and others. You may perform a keyword search on all of the documents in the Greene County Records site or view the Table of Contents for direct links to the various publications.

The material is of interest to genealogists who are attempting to fill in gaps in their research or to fill in details about individuals they have encountered in previous research. The material is also of interest to historians and others interested in historical details of the interaction between local government authority and citizens.

Index to the Register of the Alms House

In Missouri, county government was legally bound to provide that "poor persons shall be relieved, maintained and supported by the county of which they are inhabitants" (Missouri R.S. 1909@1333). The county treasurer had to maintain a separate fund for this purpose. The statutes further provided that "aged, infirm, lame, blind or sick persons who are unable to support themselves and when there are no other persons required by law and able to maintain them, shall be deemed poor persons."

In Greene County the County Poor Farm was charged with the care of indigent and ill citizens who had no other resources for care. This agency was later known as the County Home and in 1955 became Sunshine Acres. The facility closed in 1978.

Records included here are abstracts of admission books kept by the superintendents for 1875 - 1955. Entries include name, age, sex, date of admission, date of dismissal, date of death and brief remarks. The entries also indicate the book and page number of the original record.

Index to Coroner's Record Books

The duties of the county coroner are set by state statute. The primary duty of the coroner was to investigate suspicious, unnatural or unattended deaths that have occurred in the county, and to determine whether criminal activity may have been involved. In 1973, Greene County eliminated the elective office of coroner and adopted the appointed medical examiner system to investigate fatalities.

Records included here are abstracts of the coroner's record books for 1875 - 1972. The abstracts include name and age of victim, book number, page and date of inquiry.

The original record book entries include whether the action was an inquest or a "view", name of the examiner, date of the entry, cause of death, names of jurors and witnesses, and a listing of personal effects of the deceased. Further information may be found in the actual case files which would include much of the same information and, in some cases, testimony of witnesses or legal officials.

Abstracts of Circuit Court Record Books

This group of documents contains county records from Greene County, Missouri. Included are indexes, abstracts and direct transcriptions of a variety of records maintained in the course of county activities over the years.

The most extensive records available are the Abstracts of Circuit Court Records 1833-1865. The abstracts reflect civil and criminal court actions for the period available. Many of the civil actions are for disputes over debts, nonpayment for services, and damages for lost or stolen property. The criminal cases include a whole range of familiar offenses, but also include a large number of charges for illegal sale of liquor, sabbath violations, profanity and gaming.

Chronological Listing and Index to Divorce Records

This group of records contains abstracts of records of dissolution of marriage in Greene County, Missouri, for 1837 through 1950. All records include the names of the plaintiff and defendant, record book number, page number, date of final decree and an indication of who is the "innocent and injured party". Many of the records include the circumstance of the divorce, amount of support awarded and names of children affected.

Guide to the Records of the Greene County Courts

This publication presents a preliminary inventory to the existing circuit court records for Greene County, as well as records of earlier magistrate and chancery courts. The records described are held at the Greene County Archives and Records Center, Springfield, Missouri.

The introduction provides a brief history of the Missouri judicial system. Each type of record is described, giving the years available and a description of the purpose of the record. Records described include appeals, assignments, several types of dockets and other records of court proceedings. There are descriptions of listings of jurors and witnesses, and a chronological list of court officers.

Guide to the Records of the Probate Court

Probate courts are a division of the circuit court system in Missouri. The primary functions of the probate court are to administer the wills and estates of deceased persons, and to administer and decide incompetency proceedings. The records are held at the Greene County Archives and Records Center, Springfield, Missouri.

This publication presents a preliminary inventory of groups of records on file at the Greene County Archives and Records Center from the Greene County Probate Court from various dates between 1836 and 1983. The holdings that are described include applications, appraisals, bonds, dockets, indexes, estate inventories, inheritance records and other administrative records. Of interest as well are descriptions of records which include apprenticeship records, blind person's pensions and embalmer's licenses.

Index to the Justice of the Peace Docket Books

The office of justice of the peace was established when Missouri was still part of Louisiana Territory. Each township had at least one justice. Justices of the peace continued to serve until the office was abolished in 1945. This index is to those matters which were brought before justices in Greene County, Missouri.

The majority of cases that came before justices involved disputes over money. Justices were authorized to decide minor cases, commit persons to a higher court, issue warrants, perform marriages and record reports of stray livestock found by persons in their jurisdiction.

This index covers 1835 - 1885.

Index to Naturalization Records in the Greene County Circuit Court

Naturalization means to admit to citizenship, in this case United States citizenship. In 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment established national citizenship. Since then, laws have been enacted which regulate the procedure for obtaining citizenship for foreign born people. Most citizenship proceedings were in federal courts. Prior to 1906 however, when the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization was established, any local court of record could oversee this action.

The index presented here represents those naturalizations that were filed with the Greene County Circuit Court 1868-1906. Each entry includes the name, country of origin, date of action, type of document (whether a Declaration of Intention or Certificate of Citizenship), and book and page number in the original circuit court record books.

Index to Greene County Stray Records

These are records of stray livestock. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, Missouri statutes provided specific guidelines for individuals finding and harboring lost cattle, horses, mules and other livestock. Before a person could take possession of the stray, he was required to post a notice of intent for at least thirty days and pay a bond to ensure that the animal would not be disposed of in that time. After notices had been posted in public places for thirty days, the finder was required to file a notice with a justice of the peace, who determined if the proper procedure was followed and collected a bond equal to the appraised value of the animal. After one year, if the animal remained unclaimed, half of the bond was returned to the finder. The justice of the peace submitted lists which were provided to the county clerk, who posted the information in the stray books.

The material included is available for use at:

Local History Department
Springfield-Greene County Library
4653 S. Campbell Avenue
Springfield, MO 65810

The original records involved are held at:

The Greene County Archives and Records Center
1126 Boonville Ave.
Springfield, MO 65802
(417) 868-4021

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