Palo Alto County, Iowa Genealogy
Guide to Palo Alton County, Iowa ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.
|Palo Alto County, Iowa|
Location in the state of Iowa
Location of Iowa in the U.S.
|Founded||January 15, 1851|
- 1 County Information
- 2 County Courthouse
- 3 Quick Facts
- 4 Places/Localities
- 5 Resources
- 6 Societies, Libraries and Museums
- 7 References
Palo Alto County, Iowa Record Dates
1851 Palo Alto County was created 15 January 1851 from unorganized territory. It was attached to Boone and Webster Counties prior to organization 29 December 1858. County seat: Emmetsburg 
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.
There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.
Town/city records in the FamilySearch Catalog
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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.|
- 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.
- Records of the American Lutheran Church, Palo Alto County, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).
Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.
See Iowa Land and Property for additional information about early Iowa land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse, where records are currently housed.
Local histories are available for Palo Alto County, Iowa Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section Iowa Local Histories.
- History of Palo Alto County, Iowa. By Dwight G. McCarty. Cedar Rapids, Iowa : Torch Press, 1910. Online at: FamilySearch Books Online, Internet Archive; At various libraries (WorldCat).
- Official souvenir program of the semi-centennial of Palo Alto County, Iowa : at Emmetsburg, Iowa July 4th, 5th, and 6th, 1906. By Palo Alto County, Iowa Old Settlers Committee. Emmetsburg, Iowa : Tribune Pub. Co., 1906. Online at: FamilySearch Books Online; At various libraries (WorldCat).
- History of Palo Alto County, Iowas at Ancestry.com ($)
- 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 ($) has a large collection of digitized Iowa newspapers online. This database is sometimes free at libraries.
- The Ruthven Free Press. 1917-32 and 1934-44. Ruthven, IA, USA. Online at: Ancestry.com ($)
- West Bend Journal. 1956. West Bend, IA, USA. Online at: Ancestry.com ($)
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 - Palo Alto - 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
- 1880-1992 - Iowa, County Death Records, 1880-1992 at FamilySearch — index
- 1921-1940 - Iowa, Death Records, 1921-1940 at FamilySearch — index and images
Societies, Libraries and Museums
Palo Alto County Genealogical Society
Emmetsburg Public Library
707 N Superior Street
Emmetsburg, Iowa 50536
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.
| Check back often with these websites. Internet offerings are growing at record rates.
Local societies and libraries may know of other websites.
|State Historical Society of Iowa||Free||Select from research collection topics|
|The Iowa Heritage Digital Collection||Free||digital images from a variety of Iowa cultural institutions - results of "palo alto county" in the search box|
|State Library of Iowa||Free||electronic depository of documents intended for the general public produced by Iowa agencies - results of "palo alto county" in the search box|
|IAGenWeb||Free||Data may be submitted by individuals or complete transcriptions|
|USGenWeb Archives||Free||Data may be submitted by individuals or may be complete transcriptions|
|genealogytrails.com||Free||Data may be submitted by individuals or complete transcriptions|
|  FamilySearch||Free||Births, 1880-1935; Deaths 1880-1992; Marriages, 1838-1934; all indexes|
|RootsWeb Resources||Free||Data may be submitted by individuals or may be complete transcriptions|
|Linkpendium||Free||Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)|
|CyndisList||Free||Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)|
|Palo Alto IA at LDS Genealogy||Free||Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)|
|StateofUS.com||Free||family history resources and government records|
Books, microfilm, or manuscripts of genealogical records
|FamilySearch Catalog||Select topics. To select towns, add a comma to the search box.|
|WorldCat||To find nearby libraries that have specific items, see WorldCat Online Catalog.|
|Allen County Public Library||located in Indiana They are heavily involved in digitizing.|
|GeneaBloggers||enter "Iowa" in search box to see list and links to Iowa blogs|
|Google+||list of groups from "iowa genealogy" search|
|list of groups from "Iowa Genealogy" search|
|genealogy.com||Iowa Genealogy Forum|
|ancestry.com||Palo Alto County Message Board|
- 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).