Iowa map

Your Guide to Researching
Iowa Ancestors

* General Guides * Maps * Statewide Genealogy Websites * Societies, Libraries and Archives *
* Finding and Using Records * Queries & Help * More Links *

General Guides to Iowa Research

I know of no current book that covers Iowa genealogy, although there are a few for specific areas of Iowa.

  • The Key to Genealogical Research in the Quad Cities area consisting of Rock Island and Mercer Counties in Illinois and Scott County, Iowa (find in a library)
  • Dubuque County, Iowa area key : a guide to the genealogical records of Dubuque County, Iowa, including maps, histories, and other helpful material 1995. (find in a library)

The Iowa Genealogical Society has made some Iowa county research guides available for free on the web.

Each of the three reference books listed below has a small section covering each state that includes maps, historical information, vital records coverage and a bibliography of resources for that state. (note: some libraries may have earleir editions; those are usable)

  1. Handybook for Genealogists ( 11th edition) (find in a library)
  2. Ancestry's Redbook, 3rd ed, revised. (find in a library) (see above for online copy)
  3. The Family Tree Resource Book for Genealogical Research (find in a library)

Atlases, Maps & Gazateers

For more information on finding and using maps,
see Your Guide to Atlases, Maps and Gazetteers.

Statewide Genealogy Websites

Next, see what is available for your counties of interest at at one of these statewide sites. For each, use the county selection list to find out what is available for the various counties. Content will vary, but in usually you wil find the GenWeb site to be the most robust. All are volunteer driven sites; all data free, but as time goes by, the upkeep of many of these sites seems to be falling by the wayside.

  • the Iowa Gen Web (U.S.Genweb)
  • AHGP Iowa page. (American History and Genealogy Project)
  • Iowa Genealogy Trails (Genealogy Trails History Group)

Societies, Libraries and Archives

For more information on using libraries and archives, see genealogy guides to Libraries and Archives

Finding and Using Records: cemetery, census, church, city directories, countyl histories, court & legal, military, land and property, naturalizations, newspapers, probate, vital.

Use the place name box in the Family History Library catalog to find out what has been filmed covering the state of Iowa, the counties of iowa and the cities, villages or townships within the counties.

  • As you type Iowa in the place box, you will see an alphabetical listing of counties in the dropdown;
    • once in a county, you can click in the place box on the left to see an alphabetical list of the towns, cities and villages within that county.
    • This only shows areas for which material is available at the Family History Library.
  • An item will likely be in one of the three, perhaps two of the three and almost never in all three of these searchs --you need to check each

Cemetery: For general informaton, see Guide to Cemetery Records, this website

  • FamilySearch Wiki: Iowa Cemeteries
  • Ancestry Redbook Wiki: Iowa Cemery Records
  • Findagrave -- you can limit your search of a surname to a state or county.
  • lists Iowa online cemetery transcriptions by county.
  • Cemetery Lookup forum -- there may be a volunteer in the Iowa county you need.
  • WPA 1930's Grave Registration Project: Iowa
  • U.S. Gen Web
    • Tombstone Transcription Project for Iowa
  • Guide to Iowa Online Death Records & Indexes (includes links to several cemetery transcriptions)

Census: For general inforamtion, see Guide to Census Records, this website.

Church: For general information, see Guide to Church Records, this website.

City and County Directories: For general information, see guide to city and county directories, this website.

  • FamilyHistory Research Wik: Iowa Directories
  • Check the Iowa City Directories of the Unites States site to see if one exists for a city you are interested in -- but don't rely on this. It is neither a comprehensive list of what exists nor a complete record of where it is held.
  • Online Historical Directories: Iowa (ditto above)
  • Distant Cousin has a few Iowa city directories online.
  • Iowa Genealogy Society holds many city directores (listing). What good does that do you? They offer a for fee research service, which you can use to get copies of the appropriate pages.

County and Local Histories: For general informaton, see Guide to County Histories, this website

Court & Legal; For general information, see Guide to Law Libraries, this website

Land & Property: For general information, see Guide to Land Records, this website.

Military; For general inforamtion, see guide to military records, this website

Naturalizations; For general informaton, see Guide to Naturalizations, this website

Newspapers: For general information, see Guide to Newspapers, this website

  • Wiki Iowa Newspapers
  • Newspapers at the State Historical Society of Iowa (they will lend microfilm copies of newspapers on ILL, through your local library)
  • Chronicling America lists newspapers published in Iowa -- use the dropdown to select state, county and city of publication, if you wish to narrow it to a city. Then click search to find what was published.

Probate: For general inforamton, see Guide to Probate Records, this website

Tax Records

Vital: For general inforamtion, see guide to vital records, this website.

Queries & Help

More Links

  • Cyndi's List: Iowa
  • Linkpendium's Iowa Page
  • Access Genealogy: Iowa Genealogy
  • GeealogyLinks: Iowa
  • GenealogyToday's State Gen Site: Iowa
  • Rootsweb U.S. Resources: Iowa (this finds data hosted on the Rootsweb servers)




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This page last updated April 30, 2012