Iowa Record Finder

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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