Vital Records

    Records of vital statistics (births, marriages and deaths) are excellent sources of genealogical information. Prior to 1880, only marriages, which required a license, were recorded in public records, and then only at the county level. In 1880, legislation was passed creating the Iowa Department of Health and requiring all births, deaths, and marriages to be recorded at both the county and state levels.

    The State Historical Society of Iowa has available birth, death and marriage records from across the state. These records include an extensive collection of County Records Microfilm of pre-1940 births, deaths and marriages filmed by FamilySearch in the counties; the years vary for in each county. In addition, the State Archives collections include the state’s birth, death, and marriage records from the Department of Public Health. Iowa law requires that all records of vital statistics in the custody of the State Archives must be 75 years or older to be made available to the public. All records of fetal deaths, regardless of age, are closed to the public. For a description of the information contained in these records over the years refer to Researching Iowa Birth, Death, Marriage and Divorce Records.

    If you are interested in Iowa birth, death and marriage records you are encouraged to visit the Research Center in Des Moines. You may also submit requests for copies of specific records by filling out the Basic Research Request Form.

    FamilySearch and Ancestry are available free online at the Research Centers in Des Moines and Iowa City.

    For certified copies of birth, death and marriage records or more recent birth, death, and marriage records contact the Department of Public Health.

    The State Historical Society of Iowa is in the process of making more of these records available online. The following is a brief summary of records currently available at the Des Moines Research Center and online.

    Birth Records

    Records Available

    Record Source

    Dates

    County Birth Records

    County Records Microfilm at Research Center

    1880-Varies
    View Date Index

    Delayed Birth Records Index*

    State Records Microfiche at Research Center

    1852-1916

    Delayed Birth Records*

    State Records Microfilm at Research Center

    1852-1916

    State Birth Records Index**

    Adair County - Humboldt County
    Ida County - Osceola County
    Page County - Wright County

    July 1904-June 1906

    State Delayed Birth Records*

    Family Search

    1850-1939

    * Delayed Births are births not recorded at the time of birth.

    ** In 1904 legislation was enacted that required certificates of birth to be filed with the State Department of Health and not in the counties. In 1906, the law was reversed and births were once again also recorded in the county. These indexes contain nearly 70,000 births recorded during this period.

    Marriage Records

    Records Available

    Record Source

    Dates

    County Marriage Records

    County Records Microfilm at Research Center

    Varies
    View Date Index

    County Marriages Index

    Family Search

    1838-1934

    State Marriage Records

    State Records Microfilm at Research Center

    1880-1937

    State Marriage Records

    Ancestry.com (free use at Research Center)

    1880-1937

    State Divorce Records

    State Records Microfilm at Research Center

    1906-1937

    State Divorce Records

    State Records Volumes at Research Center

    1938-1940

    Death Records

    Records Available

    Record Source

    Dates

    County Death Records

    County Records Microfilm at Research Center

    1880-Varies
    View Date Index

    State Death Records Index

    State Records Microfiche at Research Center

    1904-1916

    State Death Records

    Family Search

    1921-1940

    State Death Records Indexes by County

    Online Indexes Below

    Inclusive dates vary

    State Death Record Indexes

    Uncertified copies of death records that appear in these indexes are available from the State Historical Society of Iowa by submitting a Basic Research Request Form.

    Choose a County

    Navigation