Iowa vital records, as their name suggests, are connected with central life events: birth, marriage, and death. Maintained by civil authorities, they are prime sources of genealogical information; but, unfortunately, official vital records are available only for relatively recent periods. These records, despite their recent creation in the United States, are critically important in genealogical research, often supplying details on family members well back into the nineteenth century. The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy, by Loretto Szucs and Sandra Luebking.

A few counties in Iowa began to register vital statistics during the 1870s, but most county records began in 1880, when a state law took effect requiring counties to register births and deaths. This law was generally complied with by 1924. In the 1940s, many people applied for delayed birth certificates in order to be eligible for Social Security benefits.

Need to order Iowa Vital Records?

  • Iowa Department of Public Health
    The state has copies of birth records beginning in July 1880 and copies of death records beginning in January 1891. Copies are available to immediate family members only. You will need to state your relationship to the individual whose record you want and the reason you want the information. To request copies or information about fees and restrictions, contact:

The following is a list of online resources useful for locating Iowa vital records which consist of births, marriages, divorces, and deaths. Most online resources for Iowa Vital Records are indexes. After locating a person in an index always consult the original record to confirm the information in the index.

Iowa Birth Records

Birth records contain much information for family historians. Because births are recorded near the time of the event, they are considered a primary source. In birth records, you generally find the date and place of birth; name and sex of the child; name, residence, race, age, birthplace, and occupation of the father and mother; the mother’s maiden name; number of children born to the mother; number of living children; and physician’s certificate.

The state has copies of birth records beginning in July 1880. Copies are available to immediate family members only. You will need to state your relationship to the individual whose record you want and the reason you want the information.

Iowa Birth Records by County

Iowa Marriage Records

  • Iowa, Marriages, 1809-1992
    Name index to marriage records from the state of Iowa.

  • Iowa, County Marriages, 1838-1934
    Index and images to the marriage records created by the counties of Iowa. When completed it will contain records for all of the 99 counties in the state.
  • United States Marriages – Iowa ($) FindMyPast
  • Iowa Marriages 1835 to 1850 ($)
    This database contains over 10,000 abstracts of Iowa marriages to 1850.
  • Iowa, Marriages, 1836 – 1926, ($), MyHeritage
    This collection is an index to marriages performed in Iowa from 1836 to 1926. The records in this collection include the names and ages of the bride and the groom and the date and place of the marriage
  • Iowa, Compiled Marriages, 1851-1900 ($) Ancestry
    Taken from microfilm copies of original county documents, each record provides spouses’ names, marriage date, and county of residence. Records vary between counties, as outlined below.

    • Adair County, Iowa Marriages, 1854-1900. County court records located at Greenfield, Iowa or Family History Library microfilm #1845994-1845996 and #1846154.
    • Appanoose County, Iowa Marriages, 1851-1900. County court records located at Centerville, Iowa or Family History Library #1007081-1007179.
    • Boone County, Iowa Marriages, 9 January 1851-1900. County court records located at Boone, Iowa or Family History Library microfilm #1034317-1034320.
    • Dallas County, Iowa Marriages, 1851-85. County court records located at Adel, Iowa. Family History Library film # (1034112)
    • Greene County, Iowa Marriages, 1854-1900. County court records located at Jefferson, Iowa or Family History Library microfilm #1034209-1034210 and #1531414.
    • Guthrie County, Iowa Marriages, 1852-99. County court records located in Guthrie Center, Iowa or Family History Library microfilm #1643595-1643601 and #1643679-1643681.
    • Hamilton County, Iowa Marriages, 21 April 1857-99. County court records located at Webster City, Iowa or Family History Library microfilm #1404699-1404700.
    • Johnson County, Iowa Marriages, 1851-75. County court records located in Iowa City, Iowa or Family History Library microfilm #1704850 and #1704942.
    • Lee County, Iowa Marriages, 1851 – 1860. County court records located at Keokuk, Iowa. Family History Library film # (0959189 – 0959190)”
    • Louisa County, Iowa Marriages, 1851-99. County court records located at Wapello, Iowa or Family History Library microfilm #1006645-1006649.
    • Lucas County, Iowa Marriages, 1851-99. County court records located in Chariton, Iowa or Family History Library microfilm #1009237-1009242.
    • Marion County, Iowa Marriage Register, 1851-1900. County court records located at Knoxville, Iowa or Family History Library microfilm #1019714-1019717.
    • Monroe County, Iowa Marriages, 8 September 1887-1900. County court records located at Albia, Iowa or Family History Library microfilm #0980485-0981243.
    • Muscatine County, Iowa Marriage Register, 1851-1900. County court records located at Muscatine, Iowa or Family History Library microfilm #1003359-1003361 and #1003489-1003490.
    • Plymouth County, Iowa Marriages, 1860-90. County court records located at Le Mars, Iowa. Family History Library film # (1404987 – 1404988)
    • Polk County, Iowa Marriages, 1871-88. County court records located at Des Moines, Iowa. Family History Library film # (1014765 – 1014767)
    • Scott County, Iowa Marriages, 1870-79. County court records located at Waynesboro, Iowa. Family History Library film # (1004414 – 1004416)
    • Warren County, Iowa Marriages, 1851-75. County court records located at Indianola, Iowa. Family History Library film # (1011010 – 1011011)
    • Webster County, Iowa Marriages, 1853-89. County court records located at Fort Dodge, Iowa. Family History Library film # (1401651 – 1401652)
    • Woodbury County, Iowa Marriages, 1881-99. County court records located at Sioux City, Iowa. Family History Library film # (1451556 – 1451557)
    • Worth County, Iowa Marriages, 17 September 1858-99. County court records located at Northwood, Iowa or Family History Library microfilm #1445838.
  • Iowa, Marriage Records, 1880-1940 ($) Ancestry
    Civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths began 1 July 1880 in Iowa. This collection includes indexed images of marriage records held at the State Archives of Iowa for the years 1880 through 1940 for all counties.

Iowa Marriage Records by County

Iowa county marriage records have been kept since about 1835. These marriage records may provide names, ages, races, residences, occupations, birthplaces, maiden name of wife, marriage date and place, parents’ names, and the name of person who performed the marriage. Some certificates give the number of times the groom has been married.

You may obtain copies of the original records by contacting the clerk of the district court in the county where the license was issued. Many marriage records have been transcribed and published by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and other organizations.

Adams County Iowa Marriage Records

Allamakee County Iowa Marriage Records

Appanoose County Iowa Marriage Records

Boone County Iowa Marriage Records

Iowa Marriage Records

This video was published by the Iowa Genealogical Society. Learn about Iowa Marriage Records at both the state and county level.

Iowa Divorce Records

Divorce records have been kept since about 1834, when the first Iowa county was formed. They may provide: a person’s age, the divorce date, maiden name of wife, marriage date and place, occupation, childrens’ names, names of other family members, and places the family lived. Early divorce proceedings are in the district court of each county, and beginning in 1906, transcribed copies of divorce records were sent to the state.

Iowa Divorce Records by County

Boone County Iowa Divorce Records

  • Boone County Iowa Divorce records, 1901-1987
    Microreproduction of original records filmed at the Boone County Courthouse, Boone, Iowa. Lists husband, color, age, nationality, date of marriage, no. of prior marriages, cause of divorce, wife, color, age, nationality, date of divorce, no. of prior marriages, to whom granted. Includes index. Must be at FHC to view images.
  • records from across the state of Iowa!
  • Iowa Armed Forces Grave Registrations, ca. 1835-1998
    Index to grave registrations from the Soldiers Relief Commission (Polk County, Iowa). The grave registrations contain information on United States military veterans buried in Iowa, ranging from Revolutionary War veterans (ca. 1835) to 1998. These records were acquired from the Iowa State Historical Society in Des Moines. The collection is arranged alphabetically.

Iowa Death Records

Death records are also a valuable source. Often, they give: date, place, and cause of death, name, residence, sex, race, marital status, age, occupation and birth place of the deceased, date and place of burial, name and birth place of father, and maiden name and birth place of mother.

The state has copies of death records beginning in January 1891. Copies are available to immediate family members only. You will need to state your relationship to the individual whose record you want and the reason you want the information. To obtain death information about Iowians before 1891 research other death record sources, such as Iowa Bible Records, Iowa Cemeteries, Iowa Coroner Records, Iowa Funeral Records, Iowa Mortality Census, Iowa Digital Newspapers, Iowa Obituaries, and Iowa Wills and Probate Records.

  • United States Social Security Death Index
    Name index to deaths recorded by the Social Security Administration beginning in 1962. Current as of February 28, 2014.

  • U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, ($) Ancestry
    This database picks up where the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) leaves off by providing more details than those included in the SSDI. It includes information filed with the Social Security Administration through the application or claims process, including valuable details such as birth date, birth place, and parents’ names. While you will not find everybody who is listed in the SSDI in this database, data has been extracted for more than 49 million people.
  • TAPS (US Spanish War Veterans Deaths)
  • Iowa WPA Graves Survey – 1930s some counties not included – 656,621 burials
    These cemetery records represent seventy-six counties in Iowa which were transcribed by the Works Project Administration, Graves Registration Project. This collection is the largest compilation of the Iowa WPA cemetery records found in a single place. The database was created from copies of the transcriptions created by the Works Progress Administration; because of multi-generational copies some names were hard to decipher. As with any genealogical index, the data is to be used as a finding aid to original records. Records in this database generally include the page number where the record can be found in the WPA index, the name of the deceased, birth date, death date, age, cemetery name, town name, and additional comments if noted. This collection of Iowa Cemetery records represents an important tool in finding your early Iowa ancestors.

  • Iowa Gravestone Photo Project
    Browse over 1.2 million gravestone photo records from across the state of Iowa!
  • Iowa Armed Forces Grave Registrations, ca. 1835-1998
    Index to grave registrations from the Soldiers Relief Commission (Polk County, Iowa). The grave registrations contain information on United States military veterans buried in Iowa, ranging from Revolutionary War veterans (ca. 1835) to 1998. These records were acquired from the Iowa State Historical Society in Des Moines. The collection is arranged alphabetically.

Iowa Death Records by County