Winneshiek County, Iowa Genealogy

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Guide to Winneshiek County, Iowa ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Decorah
Organized: March 1, 1851[1]
Parent County(s): Unorganized territory
Neighboring Counties
Allamakee  • Chickasaw  • Clayton  • Fayette  • Howard  • Fillmore (MN)  • Houston (MN)
See County Maps
Iowa, Winneshiek County Courthouse.png
Location Map
Iowa Winneshiek Map.png

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

Winneshiek County was named for Chief Winnishiga, of the Winnebago tribe and is located in northeastern Iowa.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Winneshiek County Courthouse
201 West Main Street
Decorah, IA 52101
Phone: 563-382-2469
Winneshiek County Website

Winneshiek County, Iowa Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[3]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1880 1851 1880 1855 1851 1853 1847
* Statewide registration started for births in July 1880 and for deaths January 1891. General compliance by 1924.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • 1847 Winneshiek County was created 20 February 1847 from unorganized territory and Non County Area 10. It was later detached from Area 10 prior to full organization 1 March 1851.
  • County seat: Decorah[4]
  • Interactive Map of Iowa County Formation History (1790-1897) - animated maps illustrating Iowa county boundary changes
  • Iowa Historical Boundary Changes - list of all boundary changes by county provided by Newberry Library

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[5]

Unincorporated communities
  • Kendalville
Census-designated places
  • Military
  • Orleans
  • Pleasant
  • Springfield
  • Sumner
  • Washington
Ghost towns

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Listed below are resources for Bible records specific to Winneshiek County. To find more resources, go to the Iowa Bible Records page.

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Winneshiek County, Iowa online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Iowa Cemeteries for more information.


Census Records[edit | edit source]

Iowa recorded not only federal, but state censuses for several in-between years as well. For more information, see the very informative Iowa Census article.

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1850 546
1860 13,942 2453.5%
1870 23,570 69.1%
1880 23,938 1.6%
1890 22,528 −5.9%
1900 23,731 5.3%
1910 21,729 −8.4%
1920 22,091 1.7%
1930 21,630 −2.1%
1940 22,263 2.9%
1950 21,639 −2.8%
1960 21,651 0.1%
1970 21,758 0.5%
1980 21,876 0.5%
1990 20,847 −4.7%
2000 21,310 2.2%
2010 21,056 −1.2%
Source: "".

State Census

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Most church records are held by individual churches. Some denominations are gathering their records into a central repository. For more information about these major repositories, see Iowa Church Records.

List of Churches and Church Parishes


Court Records[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. They include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See Iowa Land and Property for information about early Iowa land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, transactions were usually recorded and housed at the county courthouse.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Winneshiek County, which may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see Iowa Local Histories.

  • And So They Came .. to Bloomfield Township.1980. Judith M. Friedrich, Ed. Winneshiek County, IA: The Bloomfield Township Historical Society. Online at: FamilySearch Digital Library.

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

County and state maps, historical and more current, are valuable research tools. For online maps and collections in libraries and societies, see Iowa Maps. Historical maps may be especially useful.

Fillmore CountyHouston CountyHoward CountyChickasaw CountyFayette CountyClayton CountyAllamakee CountyIA WINNESHIEK.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Multiple Wars

Civil War

Civil War service men in Winneshiek County served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were specifically formed here:

- 1st Regiment, Iowa Cavalry, Company K
- 3rd Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company D
- 6th Regiment, Iowa Cavalry, Company D
- 9th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company H
- 15th Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry, Company K
- 46th Regiment, Iowa Infantry (100 days, 1864), Company F

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Please see the Iowa Naturalization and Citizenship page for state-wide information.

Online Naturalization Indexes and Records

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

In most counties in Iowa, probate records have been kept by the county judge. They include wills, fee books, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, probate ticklers, and dockets. The records are available at the county courthouse.

Online Probate Indexes and Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

Iowa tax records complement land records and can supplement the years between censuses. Iowa's unique Old Age Assistance tax gives names, addresses and birth years. There may be gaps of several years. For more information, see the wiki page Iowa Taxation.

Online Tax Indexes and Records

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records consist of births, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded by civil officials on registers, certificates, and other documents. Copies or extracts may be purchased from the Iowa Department of Public Health or the County Clerk's office. See also Iowa Vital Records.

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Winneshiek County. For state-wide library facilities, see Iowa Archives and Libraries.

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Listed below are libraries in Winneshiek County. For state-wide library facilities, see Iowa Archives and Libraries.

Decorah Public Library
202 Winnebago Street
Decorah, IA 52101

Museums[edit | edit source]

Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum
520 W Water Street
PO Box 379
Decorah, IA 52101-0379

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Winneshiek County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see Iowa Societies.

Decorah Genealogy Association
808 River Street
Decorah, IA 52101

Howard-Winneshiek Genealogical Society, IAGenWeb Project
PO Box 362
Cresco, IA 52136-0362

Winneshiek County Historic Preservation Commission
201 W Main Street
PO Box 63
Decorah, IA 52101-0063

Winneshiek County Historical Society
509 W Broadway
PO Box 63
Decorah, IA 52101-0063

Websites[edit | edit source]

  • State Historical Society of Iowa — select from research collection topics
  • State Library of Iowa — electronic depository of documents intended for the general public produced by Iowa agencies
  • The Iowa Heritage Digital Collection — digital images from a variety of Iowa cultural institutions
  • Winneshiek County at Cyndi's List - a comprehensive, categorized & cross-referenced list of links that point you to genealogical research sites online
  • Winneshiek County at Genealogy Trails - volunteer transcriptions of genealogical and historical data
  • Winneshiek County at Iowa USGenWeb - free online resources for genealogical research
  • Winneshiek County at Iowa USGenWeb Archives - free online data for genealogical research
  • Winneshiek County at Linkpendium - genealogy and family history
  • FamilySearch Catalog – The FamilySearch catalog contains descriptions and access information for all genealogical materials (including books, online materials, microfilm, microfiche, and publications) in their collection.  Use Historical Records to search for specific individuals in genealogical records.

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Historical Boundary Changes - list of all boundary changes by county provided by Newberry Library; accessed July 23, 2021.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Winneshiek, Iowa," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, ",_Iowa."
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Iowa.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Iowa.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Winneshiek County, Iowa," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 4 November 2019.