All Library locations will close at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 18 for a staff development event.
Missouri Valley Room Genealogical Resources
The genealogical resources in the Missouri Valley Room can help provide some of the pieces to the puzzle when tracing your family history, especially those from the Kansas City region.
Librarians began collecting genealogical materials almost from the beginning of the Library, but in 1933, a donation of the vast personal genealogical library of lumber baron John Barber White greatly enhanced the collection. Resources continued to be added. Of note are the many now out-of-print nineteenth-century histories of counties in the Midwest, specific family histories, and many genealogical periodicals beginning in the late 1800s.
Besides the Missouri Valley Room collection, the Kansas City area fortuitously has two major genealogical repositories: The National Archives for the Central Plains Region (NARA) and the Midwest Genealogy Center, one of the largest public genealogy libraries in the United States.
Explore our Resources page to see the types of materials in the Missouri Valley Room that can help your search. You’ll find specific titles by searching the Library’s online catalog. See also our guides for obituaries, vital records, a list of city directories, newspapers, and information about adoptions.
For photographs, postcards, advertising cards, maps, and more, search the Digital Gallery. For specific information about numerous Kansas City topics, search the Local History Index which includes citations to magazine and newspaper articles, and other materials.
With the explosion of the Internet in the 1990s, many pieces of those puzzles that took years to track down can now be located on numerous Web sites. Check out our extensive list of links on our Genealogy Resources on the Internet guide.
- Ask a MVSC librarian for a Genealogy Starter Kit
- Check out a how-to-book like The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Genealogy (929.1 R79C 2005) or Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide to Family History & Genealogy (929.1 W69AN)
- Search these online tutorials:
How to Start Your Family History
RootsWeb's Guide to Tracing Family Trees
Beginners' Guide to Genealogy Research on the Internet