Iowa Genealogy

This guide contains a sample of The Newberry's resources on this topic. To locate additional resources, please check our catalog or consult a reference librarian.


The records of the United States census for Iowa from 1790-1930 are available online at the public access computers. Federal census microfilm holdings for 1840- 1880, and published statewide indexes for 1840-1860 are available. CDROM index for 1870 and an 1880 Soundex index also available. Ask at 2nd floor reference desk.

Iowa State Census, 1915. Call # Microfilm 220. Include name of county on call slip. See binder at genealogy desk for more information on contents.

Vital Records

Fretwell, Shela S. Iowa Marriages Before Statehood, 1835-1846. Waterloo, IA: Fretwells, 1985. Call # folio F620 F74.

Goranson, Rita. Bible records from Iowa libraries and museums. [Iowa? : s.n.], 1977-. Call # folio F620 .B87 Volume 2 includes bible records from Iowa that note births, deaths, and marriages.

Iowa Genealogical Society. Surname index. [Des Moines], 1972-. Available v.1(1972)-v.5(1990) Call # folio CS44 .I58a. Volume includes dates of births and marriages.

Iowa Pioneers: Their Ancestors and Descendants. [Des Moines, IA]: Daughters of the American Revolution. Iowa, 1969-1976. 8 volumes. Call # F620 D38. Volumes contain marriage records, bible records, family histories, obituaries, cemetery records, census records, etc.

Jackson, Ronald Vern. Iowa 1850 Mortality. North Salt Lake, UT: Accelerated Indexing Systems, c1987. Call # Local History Ref F620 J3415 (2nd floor open shelf).

Iowa grave records. [Iowa?: Daughters of the American Revolution, 197-?]. Call # folio F620 .I68 Includes cemeteries in the following counties: Bremer, Dallas, Montgomery, Poweshiek, Shelby, Benton, and Jefferson.

City Directories

The Newberry holds almost 100 city directories pertaining to the state of Iowa.

Sopp, Elsie L. Personal Name Index to the 1856 City Directories of Iowa. Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1980. Call # Local History Ref F620 S66 (2nd floor open shelf).

Atlases and Gazetteers

Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. Iowa. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998. Call # Local History Ref G1201 .F7 A8 1993, Iowa (2nd floor open shelf).

Iowa state gazetteer and business directory. Des Moines, IA: R. L. Polk & Co. Vol. 1 (1880/81)-v.20 (1922/23) Call # F 912.7


A Bibliography of Iowa Newspapers, 1836-1976. [Iowa City, IA]: Iowa State Historical Dept., Div. of the State Historical Society, 1979. Call # folio Z6952 I8 B5.

Land Records

Boyd, Gregory A. Family maps of…Iowa. Norman, Okla: Arphax, c2007-. 14 volumes, one volume per county. The following counties are included: Clayton, Decatur, Dubuque, Henry, Johnson, Keokuk, Linn, Mahaska, Page, Ringgold, Story, Warren, Wayne, Winneshiek. Includes index of surnames for county patents (with parcel-counts for each surname), and a surname/township index (with parcel-counts for each surname by township). All volumes are available on the 2nd floor open shelf. Ask at the 2nd floor reference desk.

Iowa Land Grants. [Iowa?: s.n., 1970-1980?]. 4 volumes. Call # Local History Ref F620 I67 (2nd floor open shelf).


Hall, Willis. Biographical sketches of the 25th General assembly of Iowa, the state officers and Iowa members of Congress. Des Moines: Rowen Bro., 1894. Call # J 0912.382

Hudson, David and Marvin Bergman, and Loren Horton, eds. Biographical Dictionary of Iowa. Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa Press, c2008. Call #CT234 .B56 2008. Also available online.

Tjernagel, Nehemias; edited by Margaret Harstad Matzke. The passing of the prairie by a fossil: biographical sketches of central Iowa pioneers and Civil War veterans. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2009. Call #F627.S8 T547 2009

Morford, Charles. Biographical Index to the County Histories of Iowa. Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1979. Call # Z1283 M66.

Ethnic Histories and Name Indexes

Bergmann, Leola Nelson. The Negro in Iowa, with an editorial addendum twenty years after, by William J. Petersen. Studies in Iowa History: v. 1, no. 1. Iowa City: State Historical Society of Iowa, 1969. Call # 4A 5528

Glazer, Simon. The Jews in Iowa. A complete history and accurate account of their religious, social, economical and educational progress in this state. Des Moines, IA: Koch Brothers Printing Co., [c1904] Call # F 912 .35

Iowa Quaker records: second series. [Iowa : s.n., 197- ?] Call # folio F620 .I592. Arranged first by city, this volume is an index by name that includes birth and death dates and locations, and children’s names.

Palen, Margaret Krug. German settlers of Iowa: their descendants & their European ancestors. Westminster, MD: Heritage Books, 2000. Cal # F630.G3 P35 2000. Volume includes short historical sketch of the general experience of the German people who immigrated to the United States. Also includes list of names with birth and death dates and locations and childrens’ names.

Scholte, Leonora R. Keables. A stranger in a strange land: the story of a Dutch settlement in Iowa under the leadership of H. P. Scholte. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1942. Call# F630.D9 S5


Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations From the State of Iowa. Call # Microfilm 1031. 29 reels. Alphabetical; include surname on call slip.

Iowa Adjutant-General’s Office. List of Ex-soldiers, Sailors and Marines, Living in Iowa. Des Moines. IA: G. E. Rorerts, state printer, 1886. Call # Local History Ref E494 I64 1886 (2nd floor open shelf).

Meyer, Steve. Iowa Valor: a compilation of Civil War Combat Experiences from soldiers of the state distinguished as most patriotic of the patriotic. Garrison, IA: Meyer Publishing, c1994. Call# E507.4.M49 1994

Records of Camp Dodge at Des Moines, Iowa: Soldier Enlistment Records. Call # Microfilm 1140. Alphabetical list of enlisted Iowa soldiers (chiefly for the Civil War). Can be used as an index to Roster listed below.

Revolutionary War Soldiers and Patriots Buried in Iowa. Marceline, MO: Walsworth Pub. Co., 1978. Call # F620 D394 1978.

Roster and Record of Iowa Soldiers in the War of the Rebellion: Together with Historical Sketches of Volunteer Organizations, 1861-1866. Des Moines: E.H. English, state printer, 1908-1911. Call # Local History Ref E507.3 R67 1908 (2nd floor open shelf). Volume 6 includes rosters of the Mexican War, Indian campaigns, and Spanish-American War and Philippines Wars. 6 volumes are split into multiple parts.


Hawkeye Heritage. 1966- currently received. Call # Local History Ref F620 H39 (2nd floor open shelf). Indexed in PERSI.


Merchants Rating and Credit Association local credit reports. [Red Wing, MN.?]: P.M. Tuttle, c1916. Call# HG3751.75.I3 M47 1916. Register of personal credit ratings for 1916, mainly for residents of Iowa. In a few cases, the entry is for a merchant. Frequently listed towns in Iowa include Forest City, Rockford, Scarville, Thompson, Northwood, Lake Mills, Britt, Kanawha, and Leland.