Iowa Record Finder
This table can help you decide which records to search.
It is most helpful for research from 1800 to the present.
Step 1. Choose an ancestor you would like to know more about. Decide what new information you would like to learn about that person. This new information is your research goal.
Step 2. In column 1 of this table, find the goal you selected.
Step 3. In column 2 of this table, find the types of records most likely to have the information you need; then read the sections in this outline about those types of records.
Step 4. Look in the Family History Library Catalog and choose a specific record to search.
Step 5. Look at the record.
Step 6. If you do not find the information you need, go to column 3 and search those record types.
Note: Records of previous research (Genealogy, Locality Search, History, Periodicals, and Societies) are useful for most goals, but they are not listed unless they are especially helpful.
|1. If you need information about||2. Look first in||3. Then search|
|Adoptions||Probate Records, Court Records, Obituaries||Census, Societies, Church Records, Probate Records|
|Age||Census, Vital Records, Cemeteries||Military Records, Obituaries, Naturalization and Citizenship|
|Birth date||Vital Records, Church Records, Cemeteries||Bible Records, Obituaries, Military Records|
|Birth place||Vital Records, Church Records, Census||Obituaries, Genealogy, Military Records|
|Boundaries and origins||History, Maps||Gazetteers, Historical Geography|
|Children||Census, Probate Records, Obituaries, Genealogy||Bible Records, Vital Records, Church Records, Land and Property|
|City or parish of foreign birth||Vital Records, Naturalization and Citizenship||Obituaries, Church Records|
|Country of foreign birth||Census, Naturalization and Citizenship, Obituaries||Military Records, Vital Records, Church Records|
|Death information||Vital Records, Cemeteries, Probate Records||Bible Records, Church Records, Obituaries|
|Divorce||Court Records, Vital Records, Divorce Records||Newspapers|
|Ethnic background||Minorities, Native Races, Census||Societies, Church Records, Naturalization and Citizenship|
|Historical background||History, Periodicals, Biography||Minorities|
|Immigration date||Naturalization and Citizenship, Census, Emigration and Immigration||Newspapers, Obituaries, Genealogy|
|Living relatives||Genealogy, Directories, Obituaries||Census, Church Records, Probate Records|
|Maiden name||Vital Records, Church Records, Bible Records||Cemeteries, Military Records, Probate Records, Obituaries|
|Marriage information||Vital Records, Church Records, Census, Divorce Records||Bible Records, Cemeteries, Probate Records, Land and Property|
|Naturalization||Naturalization and Citizenship, Census||Obituaries, Land and Property (sometimes in homestead records)|
|Occupations||Census, Directories, Land and Property||Court Records, Obituaries, Military Records|
|Other family members||Census, Probate Records, Obituaries||Bible Records, Genealogy, Land and Property|
|Parents||Vital Records, Church Records, Census||Probate Records, Obituaries, Land and Property|
|Physical description||Military Records, Biography, Emigration and Immigration||Naturalization and Citizenship (after Sept. 1906), Vital Records, Genealogy|
|Place-finding aids||Gazetteers, Maps, Historical Geography||History, Periodicals|
|Places of residence / Place of residence when you know only the state||Census, Land and Property, GenealogyCensus (indexed), Genealogy, Military Records, Vital Records, and other records with a statewide index||Military Records, Obituaries, DirectoriesBiography, Probate Records, History, Obituaries, Directories|
|Previous research||Genealogy, Periodicals, Societies||History, Biography|
|Record-finding aids||Archives and Libraries||Periodicals|
|Religion||Church Records, Biography||Cemeteries, Obituaries|
|Social activities||History, Biography, Newspapers|