Polk County, Iowa Genealogy
Guide to Polk County, Iowa ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.
|Polk County, Iowa|
Location in the state of Iowa
Location of Iowa in the U.S.
|Founded||January 13, 1846|
|County Seat||Des Moines|
- 1 County Information
- 2 County Courthouse
- 3 History
- 4 Places/Localities
- 5 Resources
- 6 Societies and Libraries
- 7 References
The County was named for President James K. Polk. The County has Des Moines as its seat and the County was created 1846. The County is located in the center area of the state. 
Polk County, Iowa Record Dates
1846--Polk County was created 13 January 1846 from unorganized territory. County seat: Des Moines
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
- Allen Township
- Bloomfield Township
- Clay Township
- Crocker Township
- Des Moines
- Des Moines Township
- Jefferson Township
- Pleasant Grove
- Valley Junction
- West Des Moines
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- Portrait and biographical album of Polk County, Iowa : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent an at Ancestry.com ($)
|Tombstone Transcriptions Online||Tombstone Transcriptions in Print||List of Cemeteries in the county|
|Findagrave.com||Family History Library||Findagrave.com|
|See Iowa Cemeteries for more information.|
- I have photos of all headstones in the Oralabor Cemetery in Ankeny, Polk County, Iowa as of 2008. If you need one looked up, email me. Please provide a surname, christian name and DOD if you have it.
- Glendale Cemetery, Des Moines BillionGraves
- 1895 - Iowa State Census, 1895 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1905 - Iowa State Census, 1905 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1915 - Iowa State Census, 1915 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1925 - Iowa State Census. 1925 at FamilySearch — index and images
Most church records are held by individual churches. For contact information, check a phone directory, such as SearchBug or Dex Knows. Some denominations are gathering their records into a central repository. For more information about these major repositories, see Iowa Church Records.
LDS Ward and Branch Records
- Des Moines
Fold3.com ($) has Des Moines City Directories 1881-1913 (2 yrs. missing) and miscellaneous years going back to 1866 available online.
- R.L. Polk & Co.'s Des Moines City and Valley Junction directory for the year commencing December 1st, 1915 Des Moines, Iowa: R.L. Polk & Co., 1915. Online at: Ancestry.com ($)
- R.L. Polk & Co.'s Des Moines City and Valley Junction directory for the year commencing December 1, 1912 Des Moines, Iowa: R.L. Polk & Co., c1912. Online at: Ancestry.com ($)
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 Polk 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.
- Annals of Polk County, Iowa : and city of Des Moines at Ancestry.com $
- Centennial history of Polk County, Iowa. By J. M. Dixon. Des Moines : State Register, 1876. Online at: FamilySearch Books Online, Internet Archive, HathiTrust; At various libraries (WorldCat)Centennial history of Polk County, Iowa at Ancestry.com $
- Historical Polk County ... By Writers' Program (Iowa). [S.l. : s.n., 1940?]. Online at: FamilySearch Books Online; At various libraries (WorldCat).
- The history of Polk County, Iowa : containing a history of the county, its cities, towns, etc.. Des Moines, Ia. : Union Historical Co., 1880. Online at: FamilySearch Books Online, Internet Archive, Google Books; At various libraries (WorldCat).
- Des Moines, the pioneer of municipal progress and reform of the middle West : together with the history of Polk County, Iowa, the largest, most populous and most prosperous county in the state of Iowa. By Johnson Brigham. Chicago, Illinois : S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1911. Online at: FamilySearch Books Online, HathiTrust, Google Books; At various libraries (WorldCat).
- Pioneers of Polk County, Iowa, and reminiscences of early days. By Lorenzo F. Andrews. Des Moines [Iowa] : Baker-Trisler Co., 1908. Online at: Vol. 1 FamilySearch Books Online, Internet Archive, Vol. 2 FamilySearch Books Online, Internet Archive; At various libraries (WorldCat).
- Resources and industries of Des Moines and Polk County, Iowa : showing the trade and commerce, railroads, business, manufacturing, mining interests, etc., of Iowa's capital and metropolis, the great railroad center of the Northwest, also containing short sketches of the towns of Polk County. By Joseph P.Bushnell. Des Moines, Iowa : J.P. Bushnell, 1885. Online at: FamilySearch Books Online.
- Roster of the Ohiowa Association : living in Polk county and Ohioans and their descendants who are eligible to membership. By John L. Crawford. [s.l.] : The Association, 1908. Online at: FamilySearch Books Online; At various libraries (WorldCat).
- Old Antique Atlases & Maps of Iowa
- View historic Polk County, Iowa maps in the David Rumsey Map Collection.
- Township Map of 1875 Polk County, Iowa with enlarged views of each township (My Genealogy Hound)
- 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
- 1862-1910 - Iowa, Records of Persons Subject to Military Duty, 1862-1910 at FamilySearch — index
Regiments. Service men in Polk County, Iowa Genealogy 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 in Polk County, Iowa Genealogy:
- - 2nd Regiment, Iowa Cavalry, Company D
- - 2nd Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company D
- - 4th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company E
- - 10th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company A
- - 10th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company K
- - 13th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company E
- - 15th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company B
- - 16th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company K
- - 17th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company B
- - 17th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company K
- - 18th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company I
- - 23rd Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company A
- - 23rd Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company B
- - 23rd Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company C
- - 23rd Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company E
- - 47th Regiment, Iowa Infantry (100 days, 1864), Company F
Naturalization and Citizenship
- Iowa. District Court (Polk County). Naturalization Records, 1907–1927. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1977. FHL films 1015201–17 item 2.
- Iowa. District Court. (Polk County). Index to Naturalization, 1852–1884. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1977. FHL film 1015217 item 1.
- Altoona Public Library Archives, Polk County (1876-2000)
- Johnston Historical Society Archive, Polk County (1970-2007)
- NewspaperArchive.com ($) has historical newspapers online including Des Moines newspapers that covered local news on Polk County residents. This database is free at some libraries.
- Roland Historical Society Archives, Story County (1895-1975)
- Warren County Newspapers (1855-Present)
- Des Moines Daily Leader. 1901-02. Des Moines, IA, USA. Online at: Ancestry.com ($)
Online 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.
- 1850-1939 - Iowa, Delayed Birth Records, 1850-1939 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1921-1942 - Iowa, Birth Records, 1921-1942 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1518-1996 - Iowa, United States Marriages at FindMyPast — index $
- 1838-1934 - Iowa, County Marriages, 1838-1934 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1850-1990 - Iowa, Deaths and Burials 1850-1990 at FamilySearch
- 1880-1992 - Iowa, County Death Records, 1880-1992 at FamilySearch — index
- 1904-1951 - Iowa, Death Records, 1904-1951 at FamilySearch — index and images
Societies and Libraries
State Historical Society Research Center
600 E Locust St.
Des Moines, IA 50319
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.
- Des Moines Iowa Family History Center 3301 Ashworth Rd., West Des Moines, IA 50265 United States Location Map
| 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|
|IAGenWeb Project||Free||Data may be submitted by individuals or complete transcriptions|
|USGenWeb Archives||Free||Data may be submitted by individuals or may be complete transcriptions|
|  FamilySearch||Free||Births, 1880-1935; Deaths 1880-1992; Marriages, 1838-1934; all indexes|
|FamilySearch||Free||Iowa, Polk County Probate Records, 1914-1924; browse images|
|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 ($)|
|CyndisList||Free||Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)|
|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||IA Genealogy Forum|
|ancestry.com||Polk County Message Board|
- Wikipedia contributors, "Polk, Iowa," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polk_County,_Iowa."
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Polk County, Iowa. Page 230-238 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 222-225.