Dickinson County, Iowa Genealogy

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United States Gotoarrow.png Iowa Gotoarrow.png Dickinson County

Hand and keyboard.jpg Iowa
Online Records

County Courthouse

Dickinson County Courthouse
1802 Hill Ave
Spirit Lake, IA 51360

(712) 336-1495

Dickinson County


Parent County

1851--Dickinson County was created 15 January 1851 from unorganized territory. It was attached to Woodbury County prior to organization 3 August 1857.  County seat:  Spirit Lake [1]

Boundary Changes

Record Loss

November 1871 -- Courthouse burned and many records were damaged.

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


Populated Places

Neighboring Counties

Clay | Emmet | O'Brien | Osceola | Palo Alto | Jackson County, Minnesota



Cemeteries, IAGenWeb Dickinson County, Iowa


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.




Local Histories 




Wikipedia has more about this subject: List of online newspaper archives

NewspaperArchive.com ($) has a large collection of digitized Iowa newspapers online. This database is sometimes free at libraries.

Ancestry.com has most of the Spirit Lake Beacon from 1870 to 1977 in searchable form. From ancestry's home page, select Card Catalog under the Search tab. Search for Spirit Lake and select the Spirit Lake Beacon on the right. If the name you are searching for is common, use the keyword field and type the name in quotation marks like this: "John Sears." You will have to do an additional search for names with initials such as "John C. Sears" but that's still easier than reading all the ads for Sears stores, or whatever your name might be confused with.



Vital Records

Iowa began keeping vital records in 1880. Look in the Library catalog to find what is available for Dickinson county.

Societies and Libraries

The Spirit Lake public library has helpfully published local cemetery records on http://www.spiritlakepubliclibrary.org/ On the library's home page, select the Cemetery Records tab. If you don't know which of the 16 cemetery records to search, then use the Merged Records option. It is slower, but it has everyone.

Family History Centers

Web Sites


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