The Mississippi Department of Health keeps statewide birth and death records from November 1912. Statewide marriage records and a divorce index date from 1926, except for 1938 to 1941, when only county circuit courts kept marriage records. In the counties, check circuit and chancery courts for earlier marriage records. The state legislature handled early divorce cases. Check county chancery courts for divorces after the mid-1800s. Pre-1955 adoption records are open; check courts in the county where the adopting parents lived.
More than a third of Mississippi’s 82 counties have experienced record losses due to storms or fires, few of which occurred during the Civil War. Since such disasters rarely destroy everything, look for surviving records and those of parent and neighboring counties. Also consult records created in the family and in colonial, territorial, local, state and federal jurisdictions. Mississippi is a federal land state, with land patents searchable at http://www.glorecords.blm.gov.
Mississippi began granting Confederate pensions in 1888 to indigent Civil War veterans or their widows. The state archives website http://mdah.state.ms.us contains information on requesting copies.
Other helpful Mississippi-specific records include:
- Natchez Trace Papers, primarily for early Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas, at the University of Texas, Center for American History, Austin.
- Territorial Papers of the United States (includes some early censuses) and Territorial Papers of the US Senate for Mississippi Territory.
- State censuses, various counties, various years (1822-1825, 1837, 1841, 1845, 1853, 1866). See FHL microfilms 899868-70 for censuses between 1792 and 1866; some are statistical only. Some state censuses of the 1820s contain statistics on births and deaths among slaves and white family members.
- Records of antebellum plantations, on microfilm at the University of Mississippi and the University of Southern Mississippi.
- Records of the three Mississippi branches of the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company, 1865-1874; see FHL microfilm 928584.
- Indentures, marriages, and labor contracts in the records of the Freedmen’s Bureau (Family History Library microfilm, beginning with film 491557 and film 1616481).
- Enumerations of Confederate soldiers and widows, 1907, 1925-1933.
- School censuses for the late-19th and early-20th centuries, at the state archives for various counties and years.
- Anglo-Americans in Spanish Archives: Lists of Anglo-American Settlers in the Spanish Colonies of America; A Finding Aid by Lawrence H. Feldman (Genealogical Publishing Co., 1991)
- Index to Naturalization Records, Mississippi Courts, 1798-1906 (Old Law Naturalization Records Project, 1942)
- Early Settlers of Mississippi as Taken from Land Claims in the Mississippi Territory by Walter Lowrie (1834; Southern Historical Press, 1986)
- English Land Grants in West Florida: A Register for the States of Alabama, Mississippi, and Parts of Florida and Louisiana, 1766-1776 by Winston DeVille (Winston DeVille, 1986)
- Mississippi Pre-1908 Patents, Cash, Homestead, Chickasaw Indian Treaty And Choctaw Indian Scrip from the US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM Eastern States, 1997)
- Private Land Claims of Mississippi and Missouri by Fern Ainsworth (Fern Ainsworth)
- Spanish And British Land Grants In Mississippi Territory, 1750-1784, 3 vols., by Clifford Neal Smith (Westland, 1996)
- Hometown, Mississippi, 2nd edition, by James Brieger (Town Square Books, 1997)
- Mississippi Atlas of Historical County Boundaries compiled by John H. Long and Peggy Tuck Sinko (Simon & Schuster, 1993)
- Mississippi, 4 vols., by Dunbar Rowland (Southern Historical Publishing Association 1907; Reprint Co., 1976)
- Mississippi Maps, 1816-1873 (Mississippi Department of Archives and History, 1970)
- Mississippi Post Offices by John S. Gallagher (The Depot, 1996)
- A Postal History of Mississippi—Stampless Period, 1799-1860 by Bruce C. Oakley (Magnolia Publishers, 1969)
- Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Mississippi from the US Record and Pension Office (National Archives, 1962)
- Military Annals of Mississippi: Military Organizations Which Entered the Service of the Confederate States of America from the State of Mississippi by John C. Rietti (1976; Reprint Co., 1976)
- Military History of Mississippi, 1803-1898 by Dunbar Rowland (1908; Reprint Co., 1996)
- Mississippi Confederate Grave Registrations, 2 vols., by Betty Crouch Wiltshire (Heritage Books, 1991)
- Mississippi Confederate Pension Applications, 3 vols., by Betty Crouch Wiltshire (Pioneer Publishing Co., 1994)
- Mississippi Territory in the War of 1812 by Eron Opha Rowland (1921; Clearfield Co., 1996)
- Official & Statistical Register of the State of Mississippi, Military History Only by Dunbar Rowland (1908; Higginson Co., 1995)
- Residents of the Mississippi Territory, 3 vols., by Jean Strickland and Patricia N. Edwards (Ben Strickland)
- Roster of Mississippi Men Who Served in the War of 1812 and Mexican War (Department of Archives and History)
- United States Adjutant General’s Office Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the Mexican War in Organizations from the State of Mississippi (National Archives, 1971)
- United States Adjutant General’s Office Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the War of 1812 in Organizations from the Territory of Mississippi (National Archives, 1967)
- Mississippi County Court Records by May Wilson McBee (1858; Clearfield Co., 1994)
- Mississippi Court Records 1799-1835 by J. Estelle King (1936; Genealogical Publishing Co., 1969)
- Mississippi Index of Wills, 1800-1900, compiled by Betty Couch Wiltshire (Heritage Books, 1989)
- The Natchez Court Records, 1767-1805 by May Wilson McBee (1953; Clearfield Co., 1994)
- Early Mississippi Records by Betty Crouch Wiltshire (Heritage Books, 1996)
- Guide to Vital Statistics in Mississippi: Volume 1, Public Archives (Historical Records Survey, 1942)
- Mississippi Cemetery and Bible Records, 3 vols., (Mississippi Genealogical Society, 1954)
- Mississippi Marriages, Early To 1825 by Jordan R. Dodd (Precision Indexing Publishers, ca. 1990)
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