Newspapers publish notices of marriage, divorce, death, funerals and probate matters. Since about 1880 they may also publish birth notices. Notices include the names of the persons involved, dates, and places. Marriage and death notices may contain maiden names, names of parents, and names of other living relatives. There are also social columns that tell of local events and visiting persons. Also, they often tell about marriages and who attended them (especially for prominent families). There may be engagement announcements and notices of 25th and 50th wedding anniversaries.
Legal notices, such as the settlement of estates, appointment of guardians, filing of divorces, coroner inquests, delinquent tax lists, and other legal advertising, can be of great help, especially if a fire destroyed the records in the courthouse. Newspapers also include local and national news and advertisements for commodities and services.
Iowa newspapers have been published since 1836.
Resources for Iowa Newspapers
A guide to locating newspapers is: A Bibliography of Iowa Newspapers, 1836–1976 
Libraries and Archives
The State Historical Society of Iowa at Iowa City has a vast collection of newspapers.
The U.S. Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present is a national directory from the Library of Congress of over 140,000 newspaper titles. The directory provides a list of libraries from around the country that have the newspapers in their collections.
Digital Issues Online
NewspaperArchive.com ($) has a large collection of Iowa newspapers online. This database is sometimes free at libraries under the name AccessNewspaperArchive.
Family History Library
Family History Library collects indexes and abstracts of newspaper records but does not have original newspapers from Iowa.
Newspapers are listed in the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog:
- IOWA - NEWSPAPERS
- IOWA, [COUNTY] - NEWSPAPERS
- IOWA, [COUNTY], [TOWN] - NEWSPAPERS
- IOWA - NEWSPAPERS
Iowa Old Press internet site has transcriptions of old Iowa newspapers. The entries are arranged by county then by date.
- United States Newspaper Project. A Bibliography of Iowa Newspapers, 1836–1976. Iowa City, Iowa: Iowa State Historical Department, 1979. (Family History Library book 977.7 B33b; film 1033840 item 7)