Des Moines County, Iowa Genealogy

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United States > Iowa > Des Moines County 

County Courthouse

Des Moines County Courthouse
513 N. Main St.
PO Box 277
Burlington, Iowa 52601

(319) 753-8221

Des Moines County


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 Family History Centers throughout the world.

Transcriptions for some of these cemeteries can be found at:




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


Local Histories 






Vital 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

Web Sites


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).