Iowa Archives and Libraries

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Archives and libraries often have maps, gazetteers, and other place-finding aids. They frequently have collections of previous research, such as family and local histories and biographies. Many have record-finding aids, such as guides to their own collections or inventories of records housed elsewhere in the state.

The following organizations have major collections or services for genealogical researchers:

State Historical Society of Iowa
(Formerly known as Iowa Historical Society or Iowa State Department of History and Archives)
Library and Archives
600 East Locust
Des Moines, IA 50319
Telephone: 515-281-6412 or 515-281-3007
Fax: 515-282-0502

The Archives Division of the State Historical Society of Iowa primarily collects manuscript records of the state, including government, land, and military records. They also have family histories in book and manuscript form.

State Historical Society of Iowa Library
Centennial Building
402 Iowa Avenue
Iowa City, IA 52240-1806
Telephone: 319-335-3916
Fax: 319-335-3935

The State Historical Society of Iowa Library has manuscript records as well as numerous published sources, censuses, and newspapers. A helpful guide to these sources:

Harris, Katherine, comp., Guide to Manuscripts. Iowa City: State Historical Society of Iowa, 1973. (Family History Library book 977.7 A3i.)

National Archives–Central Plains Region (Kansas City)
2312 East Bannister Road
Kansas City, MO 64131-3060
Telephone: 816-926-6920
Fax: 816-926-6982

The National Archives branch in Kansas City has the records of regional federal offices for Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska, including the following:

  • Federal naturalization records
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs and other American Indian records
  • Copies of federal census, military, and immigration records

Iowa Genealogical Society
6000 Douglas Avenue
P.O. Box 7735
Des Moines, IA 50322
Telephone: 515-276-0287

To find other archives and libraries with collections of Iowa records, look in the directories listed in the "Archives and Libraries".

To learn more about the history and record-keeping systems of Iowa counties, use the 11 inventories of county archives published by the Historical Records Survey from 1938 to 1942. They are available for Carroll, Cherokee, Dallas, Dubuque, Ida, Jasper, Montgomery, Polk, Sac, Taylor, and Woodbury Counties. The Family History Library has all of these, except for Carroll and Sac counties. Check the "Author/Title Search" of the Family History Library Catalog under Historical Records Survey (Iowa).

A 1978 project by the Iowa State Historical Society created inventories for 13 additional counties. The Family History Library has copies of these inventories for Allamakee, Dubuque, Franklin, Iowa, Osceola, and Ringgold Counties.

Inventories of archive and library collections are found in the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog under: