Cemetery tombstones, or sexton's records, may give birth and death dates, age at death, name of spouse, names of children, and maiden names. Less often, they contain birth places. Tombstones may have symbols or insignias indicating military service and social or religious affiliations. There are also abbreviations that gives clues when deciphered. Also, family members may be buried in the same plot or nearby. The Association of Gravestone Studies (AGS) has recommendations on the treatment and care of tombstones when needing to make inscriptions more visible. There are several major collections of Iowa cemetery records created by various organizations that transcribed tombstones and sexton’s records. Not all cemetery records are computerized and the records may be recorded on "lot" cards.
Search each collection because no collection includes all the cemeteries, although there maybe some duplication. Some of the collections include the following:
- Iowa State Department of History and Archives.  This is the most comprehensive cemetery collection for Iowa. The records are listed by county and then alphabetically by the names of persons buried in that county. The Iowa WPA Graves Registration has a searchable site.
- Iowa State Department of History and Archives. These records were filmed at Des Moines, Iowa. The cemeteries are listed by county, starting with Adair County. The records give location, history, and a physical description of most cemeteries. Headstones are listed by rows.
- Daughters of the American Revolution (Iowa).  The DAR Library in Washington, D.C., contains Iowa volumes 1–24, 41–62. (For volumes 33–34, 36–39, see the collection below.) Most volumes are indexed. The State Historical Society of Iowa (see Iowa Archives and Libraries) has a collection of 85 DAR volumes. There is also a short guide indicating which volumes contain information about specific counties. (See the Iowa Bible Records for the library call number of the guide.)
- Daughters of the American Revolution (Iowa). Information is by county. This set contains DAR volumes 1–4, 7, 9–10, 12–15, 33–34, 36–39, 41, 44–46, 49, 53, 56, and 80. Use this collection with the one above because many of the volumes missing here are in the above collection.
- For Iowa soldiers who died in other states. 
Thousands of cemetery locations can be found at Iowa: Cemetery Locations.
A project to locate all cemeteries in Iowa is published in Iowa Cemetery Locations  Each volume of this series covers one region and includes county maps showing cemetery locations. Many of the cemetery records listed have been published by the Iowa Genealogical Society and are available at the Family History Library Catalog. Many cemetery records are published in periodicals. See the Iowa Periodicals for indexes to major periodicals.
The Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog lists more of these records under:
- IOWA - CEMETERIES
- IOWA, [COUNTY] - CEMETERIES
- IOWA, [COUNTY], [TOWN] - CEMETERIES
Web Sites for Transcribed Cemeteries
- Cemetery Junction
- Iowa Gravestones Photo Project
- Iowa WPA Graves Registration
- Saving Graves
- The Tombstone Project
- Iowa Cemetery and Grave Registration Project of the W.P.A. and D.A.R. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1978. (On 21 Family History Library films beginning with 1022211)
- Iowa Cemeteries. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1978. (Family History Library films 1023603 items 6–13 to 1023609 items 1–10)
- Iowa Genealogical Data. vols. 1–24, 41–62. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1971. (On 10 Family History Library films beginning with 851208 item 8)
- Iowa Grave Records and Genealogical Data, 1800–1900. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1978. (On 4 Family History Library films beginning with 1023114 item 11)
- Iowa. War Records Survey. Graves Registration Division. Iowa Veterans Buried Out of State. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1978. (On 10 Family History Library films beginning with 1023908)
- Iowa Cemetery Locations: Regions 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 1, 2, and 5. 8 vols. Des Moines, Iowa: Iowa Genealogical Society, 1990. (Family History Library book 977.7 V3i)