Buena Vista County, Iowa Genealogy
Guide to Buena Vista County, Iowa ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.
|Buena Vista County, Iowa|
Location in the state of Iowa
Location of Iowa in the U.S.
|Founded||November 20, 1851|
|County Seat||Storm Lake|
|Address|| Buena Vista County Courthouse|
215 E. 5th St.
P. O. Box 1186
Storm Lake, IA 50588-1186
Phone: (712) 749-2546
- 1 County Information
- 2 County Courthouse
- 3 History
- 4 Places/Localities
- 5 Resources
- 6 Societies and Libraries
- 7 Websites
- 8 References
Buena Vista County, Iowa Record Dates
Buena Vista County Courthouse
215 E. 5th St.
P. O. Box 1186
Storm Lake, IA 50588-1186
1851--Buena Vista County was created 15 January 1851 from unorganized territory. It was attached to Woodbury County prior to organization 20 November 1858. County seat: Storm Lake 
For animated maps illustrating Iowa County boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Iowa County Boundary Maps" (1816-1872) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.
1877 Courthouse burned on January 1, 1877 and most records were destroyed.
For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:
- Burned Counties Research in the FamilySearch Research Wiki.
- Arlene Eakle, When the Records are Gone in the Tennessee Genealogy Blog.
- Michael John Neill, Burned Counties in Family History Circle.
Town/city records in the FamilySearch Catalog
- Albert City
- Barnes Township
- Brooke Township
- Coon Township
- Elk Township
- Fairfield Township
- Grant Township
- Hayes Township
- Lee Township
- Lincoln Township
- Linn Grove
- Maple Valley
- Newell Township
- Nokomis Township
- Poland Township
- Sioux Rapids
- Storm Lake
- Sulphur Springs
- Washington Township
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|Tombstone Transcriptions Online||Tombstone Transcriptions in Print||List of Cemeteries in the county|
|Findagrave.com||Family History Library||Findagrave.com|
|See Iowa Cemeteries for more information.|
- Gravestone pictures I have in my collection (e-mail me). Barnes Township Cemetery Buena Vista Memorial Park Cemetery, Cooke Cemetery, Daily Burial Ground, Elk Cemetery, Fairfield Cemetery, First M E Church Cemetery,Garton Graveyard,Hayes Township Cemetery, Lincoln Township Cemetery, Little Sioux Valley Cemetery, Lone Tree Cemetery,Maple Valley Cemetery, Newell Catholic Cemetery, Newell Cemetery,Plainview Cemetery,Poland Cemetery,Saint John's Cemetery, Saint John's Lutheran Cemetery, Saint Johns Church Of Christ Cemetery, Saint Joseph's Cemetery, Saint Mary's Cemetery, Scandinavian Cemetery, Smith Cemetery, Storm Lake Municipal Cemetery, Trinity Lutheran Cemetery, Varina Cemetery, Woodlawn Cemetery, Zion Lutheran Cemetery I will look up any gravestone from the list. Please provide full name, cemetery and DOD if possible.
Iowa recorded not only the federal census but state census through out the years too. The state census contains very valuable genealogical information. Where the census information can be found, what years it was taken, mortality schedules, census substitutions and much more is discussed in the very informative Iowa Census article.
- 1895 - Iowa State Census, 1895 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1905 - Iowa State Census, 1905 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1915 - Iowa State Census, 1915 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1925 - Iowa State Census. 1925 at FamilySearch — index and images
Most church records are held by individual churches. For contact information, check a phone directory, such as SearchBug or Dex Knows. Some denominations are gathering their records into a central repository. For more information about these major repositories, see Iowa Church Records.
Buena Vista County
- Records of the American Lutheran Church, Buena Vista County, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).
Trinity Lutheran Church, Linn Grove
- Records of the Trinity Lutheran Church, Linn Grove, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).
Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.
See Iowa Land and Property for additional information about early Iowa land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse, where records are currently housed.
Local histories are available for Buena Vista County, Iowa Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section Iowa Local Histories.
- Eilers, Tom D. Buena Vista's part in the world war : one Iowa county's record of service and sacrifice. Storm Lake, Iowa : Tom D. Eilers, 1920.
- Online at FamilySearch (Free)
- Wegerslev, C. H. Past and present of Buena Vista County, Iowa. Chicago, Illinois : S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1909.
- Past and present of Buena Vista County, Iowa at Ancestry.com ($)
- Buena Vista County history, Iowa at Ancestry.com ($)
- 1835-1998 - Iowa, Armed Forces Grave Registrations, ca. 1835-1998 at FamilySearch — index
- 1861-1949 - Iowa, Grand Army of the Republic Membership Records, 1861-1949 at FamilySearch — index and images
NewspaperArchive.com ($) has a large collection of digitized Iowa newspapers online. This database is sometimes free at libraries.
Online Probate Records
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.
The FamilySearch Catalog lists films of probate records. To find the records for this county, use the Place Search for Iowa - Buena Vista - Probate records.
Iowa tax records complement land records and can be used to supplement the years between censuses. Tax lists were usually made every year, however, there may be gaps of several years. For more information, see the wiki page Iowa Taxation.
Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Iowa Department of Public Health or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred. See also How to order Iowa Vital Records or order electronically online.
- 1850-1990 - Iowa, Deaths and Burials 1850-1990 at FamilySearch - index
- 1880-1992 - Iowa, County Death Records, 1880-1992 at FamilySearch — index
- 1921-1940 - Iowa, Death Records, 1921-1940 at FamilySearch — index and images
Societies and Libraries
Buena Vista County Historical Society
214 West 5th Street
Storm Lake, IA 50588
Family History Centers
- Family history centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See family history center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.
- Buena Vista County, IA History, Records, Facts and Genealogy
- Iowa Genealogy Network Community on Google+
- Iowa Genealogy Network Group on Facebook
- FamilySearch Catalog
- Buena Vista County, Iowa Genealogy and Family History (Linkpendium)
- Alice Eichholz, Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources, Revised ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1992), 225-231. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27rb 1992
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).