Des Moines County, Iowa Genealogy

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United States Gotoarrow.png Iowa Gotoarrow.png Des Moines County

Guide to Des Moines County Iowa genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

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Online Records

Des Moines County, Iowa
Map of Iowa highlighting Des Moines County
Location in the state of Iowa
Map of the U.S. highlighting Iowa
Location of Iowa in the U.S.
Founded October 1, 1834
County Seat Burlington
Address 513 N. Main St.
PO Box 277
Burlington, Iowa 52601
Phone: (319) 753-8221
Des Moines County Website

County Courthouse

Des Moines County Courthouse
513 N. Main St.
PO Box 277
Burlington, Iowa 52601
(319) 753-8221


Parent County

1834--Des Moines County was created 1 October 1834, when Des Moines County Congress passed an act attaching the Black Hawk Purchase to the Territory of Michigan in June of 1834 prior to that it was part of Wisconsin. The following September the Legislature of Michigan divided this land purchase into two counties, Dubuque and Des Moines. The dividing boundary was a line running west from the lower end of Rock Island. At this time County courts were established with Des Moines County Court placed in the city of Burlington. Des Moines was named after the Des Moines River.  County seat:  Burlington [1]

Boundary Changes

Record Loss

1873 -- Courthouse burned and many records were damaged.

For further information on researching in burned counties, see the following:


Cities: Burlington | Danville | Dodgeville | Mediapolis | Middletown | West Burlington

Historical Postoffices: Linton

Unincorporated Towns: Augusta | Latty | Sperry

  • Townships and Villages:

Ghost Towns of Des Moines County

Ghost towns are settlements, towns, and villages whose thriving little communities dried up for various reasons. Some are now part of other townships, some have just faded away. Here are their names, the years they were functioning, and the Townships they were a part of.

  • Albright's 1849-65 of Benton Twp
  • Amityville 1871-79 of Huron Twp
  • Bluff Dale 1817-53 of Kingston
  • Burkhart's Point 1836 of Franklin Twp
  • Centerville 1857 of Danville Twp
  • Cora 1847
  • Danville Center of Danville Twp
  • Denny
  • Evermanns Switch
  • Fan 1890-1910 of Flint River Twp
  • Flint Hills the original name for Burlington
  • Fox Landing 1893
  • Franklin Mills 1859-97 Franklin Twp
  • Garland
  • Growell
  • Hartford 1841-51 of Danville Twp
  • Hawkeye 1845-63 of Huron Twp

Neighboring Counties

Henry County (west)| Lee County  (south) | Louisa County (north) | Henderson County, Illinois (east) | Mercer County, Illinois (northeast)



There are many cemeteries in townships, cities, and farms located throughout Des Moines County that have been transcribed. Additional information on their locations is at Des Moines County Cemeteries Map. More information can be found on microfilm at the Family History Library based in Salt Lake City, Utah and can be requested and viewed at[:Category:Family_History_Centers|Family History Centers]] throughout the world.

Transcriptions for some of these cemeteries can be found at:


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.


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.

  • Record book, 1866-1903 [2]Contains baptisms, burials, marriages, membership lists, and sermons.Dr. McClintock was pastor to churches at Mt. Pleasant, 1866-1870; Burlington, 1871-1896; and Sioux City, 1896-1903.
  • Records of the American Lutheran Church, Des Moines County, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at ($).
  • Church records, 1855-1917. [3]Text in German.This church was also known as the German Methodist Church.Contains records for the churches of Flint Creek, Temmytown/Tamytown, Bluffs, Pleasant Grove, Union, Bethel, Sperry, Kline.Includes marriages; baptisms; membership lists; burials, 1856, 1865-1916; meeting minutes; finances; conference reports.


The Des Moines Courthouse is located in the town of Burlington.


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

Local histories are available for Des Moines 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.




For more information about the history of newspapers in Des Moines County see the Burlington Library Genealogy Site.


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 - Des Moines - Probate records.


Vital Records

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.


Iowa law did not require birth records be maintained by civil authorities until 1880. For records of these early births, try delayed births, church records, and death records.

Birth records kept by the District Court, 1880-1904; 1906-1934, have been microfilmed and are available at the State Historical Society in Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa and 1880-1931 at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

Marriage Records

Some early Marriages Of Des Moines County 1837 to 1850 have been transcribed and published.

Des Moines County Marriage Records, from 1880-1904; 1906-1935 have been microfilmed and can be found at the State Historical Society in Des Moines, Polk County Iowa. Index to marriage records, 1921-1977; marriage records, 1835-1930 at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

Death Records

Deaths records are held by the District Court, 1835-1930, have been microfilmed and are available at the State Historical Society in Des Moines, Polk County Iowa and 1880-1921 at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

Societies and Libraries

For more information about Societies in Iowa see the Iowa Societies page.

Family History Centers

Web Sites


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. McClintock, John C. Record book, 1866-1903. FHL US/CAN Film 956371 Item 4
  3. St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church (Burlington, Iowa) (Main ,Author), German Methodist Church (Burlington, Iowa) Church records, 1855-1917 US/CAN Film 956373
  4. Chicago: Western Hist. Co., 1879.
  5. Chicago: Acme Publishing, 1888.
  6. Hobart Pub. Co., 1905.
  7. ed. by Augustine M. Antrobus. 2 vols. Chicago: S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1915.