Buena Vista County, Iowa Genealogy

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Guide to Buena Vista County, Iowa ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Storm Lake
Organized: February 10, 1870[1]
Parent County(s): Non-county Area 9[2]
Neighboring Counties
Calhoun  • Cherokee  • Clay  • Ida  • O'Brien  • Palo Alto  • Pocahontas  • Sac
See County Maps
Courthouse
Iowa, Buena Vista County Courthouse.png
Location Map
Iowa Buena Vista Map.png
Adoption

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

Buena Vista County was named for the Battle of Buena Vista and is located in northwestern Iowa.[3]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Buena Vista County Courthouse
215 E 5th St
PO Box 1186
Storm Lake, IA 50588-1186
Phone: 712-749-2546
Buena Vista County Courthouse

Buena Vista County, Iowa Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1880 1880 1880 1877 1869 1880 1847
*Statewide registration started for births in July 1880 and for deaths January 1891. General compliance by 1924.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

1877 Courthouse burned on January 1, 1877 and most records were destroyed.

For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

  • For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[8]
Cities
Townships


History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

  • History of Western Iowa, it's Settlement and Growth. A Comprehensive Compilaton of Progressive events concerning the Counties, Cities, Towns and Villages - Biographical Sketches of the Pioneers and Business men, with an Authentic history of the state of Iowa. Western Publishing Co., Sioux City, IA., 1882. Online at: FamilySearch Digital Library.
  • Index to History of western Iowa. Compiled by Oakland Genealogical Society, 1974. Online at: FamilySearch Digital Library.
  • Buena Vista County, Iowa Biographies Project at RootsWeb — links to biographies and local histories

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Buena Vista County, Iowa online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Iowa Cemeteries for more information.

 

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Iowa recorded not only federal, but state censuses for several in-between years as well. For more information, see the very informative Iowa Census article.

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 57
1870 1,585 2680.7%
1880 7,537 375.5%
1890 13,548 79.8%
1900 16,975 25.3%
1910 15,981 −5.9%
1920 18,556 16.1%
1930 18,667 0.6%
1940 19,838 6.3%
1950 21,113 6.4%
1960 21,189 0.4%
1970 20,693 −2.3%
1980 20,774 0.4%
1990 19,965 −3.9%
2000 20,411 2.2%
2010 20,260 −0.7%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

State Census

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Most church records are held by individual churches. Some denominations are gathering their records into a central repository. For more information about these major repositories, see Iowa Church Records.

Church Records and Indexes

Lutheran

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. They include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See Iowa Land and Property for information about early Iowa land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, transactions were usually recorded and housed at the county courthouse.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Buena Vista County, which may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see Iowa Local Histories.

Online Local Histories and Indexes

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

County and state maps, historical and more current, are valuable research tools. For online maps and collections in libraries and societies, see Iowa Maps. Historical maps may be especially useful.

O'Brien CountyClay CountyPalo Alto CountyPocahontas CountyCalhoun CountySac CountyIda CountyCherokee CountyIA BUENA VISTA.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Multiple Wars

Civil War

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Online Naturalization Indexes and Records

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

In most counties in Iowa, probate records have been kept by the county judge. They include wills, fee books, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, probate ticklers, and dockets. The records are available at the county courthouse.

Online Probate Indexes and Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

Iowa tax records complement land records and can supplement the years between censuses. Iowa's unique Old Age Assistance tax gives names, addresses and birth years. There may be gaps of several years. For more information, see the wiki page Iowa Taxation.

Online Tax Indexes and Records

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records consist of births, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded by civil officials on registers, certificates, and other documents. Copies or extracts may be purchased from the Iowa Department of Public Health or the County Clerk's office. See also Iowa Vital Records.

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Buena Vista County. For state-wide library facilities, see Iowa Archives and Libraries.

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Listed below are libraries in Buena Vista County. For state-wide library facilities, see Iowa Archives and Libraries.

Alta Community Library
1009 S Main St
Alta, IA 51002
712-200-1250
Website

Newell Public Library
205 East 2nd Street
PO Box 183
Newell, IA 5056
712-272-4334
E-mail: newellpubliclibrary@gmail.com
Website

Museums[edit | edit source]

Buena Vista County Historical Society And Museum
214 West 5th Street
Storm Lake, IA
712-732-4955
E-mail: info@stormlakeunited.com
Facebook

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Buena Vista County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see Iowa Societies.

Buena Vista County Genealogical Society
221 W Railroad
Storm Lake, IA 50588
712-732-7111
E-mail: famhisbv@ncn.net
Website

Buena Vista County Historical Society
214 West 5th Street
Storm Lake, IA 50588
712-732-4955
Facebook

Websites[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Iowa Historical Boundary Changes - list of all boundary changes by county provided by Newberry Library; accessed on 11 April 2021.
  2. Iowa Historical Boundary Changes - list of all boundary changes by county provided by Newberry Library; accessed on 11 April 2021.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Buena Vista, Iowa," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buena_Vista_County,_Iowa.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Buena Vista County, Iowa. Page 230-238 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 222-225.
  5. Iowa Historical Boundary Changes - list of all boundary changes by county provided by Newberry Library; accessed on 11 April 2021.
  6. Iowa Historical Boundary Changes - list of all boundary changes by county provided by Newberry Library; accessed on 11 April 2021.
  7. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Iowa. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  8. Wikipedia contributors, "Buena Vista County, Iowa," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buena_Vista_County,_Iowa, accessed 24 August 2019.