About the Midwest Genealogy Center
The Midwest Genealogy Center (MGC) is one of the nation's preeminent resources for family history, providing access to almost three-quarter of a million on-site materials. The Genealogy Center features 52,000 square feet of space to house all the resources and technology genealogists need to research.
The Beginnings of the Midwest Genealogy Center
The Midwest Genealogy Center is part of the Mid-Continent Public Library (MCPL) system. MCPL has a long history of providing outstanding genealogy resources, and the Genealogy Center has been a major step in the growth of the system.
Amongst its many features, MGC houses a uniquely expansive circulating collection and almost completely open stacks. New technology is also a major attribute of the building. Microfilm reader-printers, a self-digitization station, and significant database access allow researchers to use today's technology to assist their investigations.
The Independence Public Library was formed in 1892 by the Independence Library Association, and Miss Carrie Wallace, a relative of former First Lady Bess Wallace Truman, was the first librarian, serving until 1947. She was instrumental in laying the ground work for the establishment of a genealogical library in the local public library. Early donations by the Independence Pioneers Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) formed the beginning of the future genealogical collection at the Midwest Genealogy Center.
The Jackson County Public Library, Mid-Continent Public Library's predecessor and successor to the Independence Public Library, was formed in 1947. In 1971, MCPL acquired a collection of Missouri county histories, and the "Missouri Room" was opened at the Independence Branch to accommodate patrons pursuing local historical information. In 1972, the North Independence Branch of the Mid-Continent Public Library became the home of the genealogy collection. In 1996, the collection was moved to the facility that became the MCPL Genealogy and Local History Branch, and in 2008, the Midwest Genealogy Center was opened at 3440 S. Lee's Summit Road in Independence, Missouri. Since the initial donation of a $14.64 book by the DAR in 1927, the collection has grown to over 17,000 circulating titles, more than 85,000 reference titles, and a vast number of periodicals and newspapers, as well as microforms, maps, and online databases.
The current "Genealogy from the Heartland" circulating collection began in 1984 with a small collection of books donated to the Mid-Continent Public Library by the American Family Records Association (AFRA). Other collections have been added over the years -- the Missouri State Genealogical Association (MoSGA), the Heart of America Genealogical Society (HAGS), and the Gann Historical Society & Library, Inc. have added their libraries to our circulating collection and continue to add books that are donated to them. Little did the early members of the DAR realize that their small collection of books would be the beginning of a nationally-known resource center which today draws researchers from all over the world.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does your staff provide reference or research services?
- Yes. Please review our research policy.
Are there Genealogical Researchers who will do research for me?
- Yes. We have prepared a listing of for-hire researchers (PDF, 28k)
Do you send Interlibrary Loans?
- Yes, there are over 17,000 genealogy and local history books available on interlibrary loan to researchers nationwide through local libraries. You may search our online catalog to find items available.
- All available U.S. federal population census schedules 1790 - 1930, including Soundex/Miracode indexes
- U.S. Land Sales in Missouri 1818 - 1903
- Draper Manuscripts
- Kentucky Tax Records
- Missouri State Penitentiary Records, 1836 - 1931
- Papers of the St. Louis Fur Trade
- Indexes to Compiled Service Records of MO Union and Confederate Civil War Soldiers
- Compiled Service Records of MO Union and Confederate Civil War Soldiers
- Selected Passenger Lists, Native American Sources, and State and Local Sources
- Partial state vital records for WA, AL, OR
- Records of Antebellum Southern Plantations
- City directory collection
- Independence Examiner
- Kansas City Star and Times and approximately 50 other Missouri newspaper titles.
- American Biographical Archives
- Black Biographical Dictionaries
- Civil War Unit Histories
- Partial state vital records for AR, CA, GA, IL, IN, KY, OR, TX
- Massachusetts original town records (incomplete - ongoing purchase)
- UMI Genealogy and Local History Series
- United States Serial Set
- Executive Branch Documents
Reference Book Collection
- 102,000 title collection of family genealogies, local and state histories and compiled county records for all U.S.states and some of Canada; over 17,000 of these books are available for checkout and interlibrary loan.
- Genealogy Periodical Collection
- Kansas City Star and Times newspaper obituaries 1979 - 2008
- Independence Examiner newspaper obituary and marriage index 1919 - 1950
- Census Indexes
Genealogy Circulating Collection
- Guide to Using Genealogy from the Heartland
Genealogy Endowment Fund
Kermit B. Karns, AFRA's founding President, started the Genealogy Endowment Fund in 1998 with a personal donation. The purpose of the Fund is to support the Circulating Collection or to add other materials to the Reference Collection as needed. The fund continues to grow with donations and bequests, large and small. Donations are welcome and are tax deductible.