Decatur County, Iowa Genealogy

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

County Facts
County seat: Leon
Organized: May 8 1850[1]
Parent County(s): Unorganized territory[2]
Neighboring Counties
Clarke  • Lucas  • Ringgold  • Union  • Wayne  • Harrison (MO)  • Mercer (MO)
See County Maps
Courthouse
Iowa, Decatur County Courthouse.png
Location Map
Iowa Decatur Map.png
Adoption
Stephen Decatur

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

Decatur County was named for Stephen Decatur Jr and is located in southeastern Iowa.[3]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Decatur County Courthouse
207 N Main Street
Leon, IA 50144-1647
Phone: 515-446-4331
Decatur County Website

Decatur 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 1871 1874 1880 1847
* Statewide registration started for births in July 1880 and for deaths January 1891. General compliance by 1924.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

1874 Courthouse was destroyed by fire on March 31 and most records were lost.

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:[7]

Cities
Unincorporated communities
Townships


History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

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

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Decatur 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.
1850 965
1860 8,677 799.2%
1870 12,018 38.5%
1880 15,336 27.6%
1890 15,643 2.0%
1900 18,115 15.8%
1910 16,347 −9.8%
1920 16,566 1.3%
1930 14,903 −10.0%
1940 14,012 −6.0%
1950 12,601 −10.1%
1960 10,539 −16.4%
1970 9,737 −7.6%
1980 9,794 0.6%
1990 8,338 −14.9%
2000 8,689 4.2%
2010 8,457 −2.7%
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.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints LDS Ward and Branch Records

  • Garden Grove

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.

Online Land and Property Records

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

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

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.

Clarke CountyLucas CountyUnion CountyRinggold CountyWayne CountyHarrison CountyMercer CountyIA DECATUR.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Early migration routes to and from Decatur County for European settlers included:

Green check.png
The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.


Military Records[edit | edit source]

Multiple Wars

Civil War

Civil War service men in Decatur County served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were specifically formed here:

- 4th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company D
- 17th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company A
- 48th Regiment, Iowa Infantry (100 days, 1864), Company C

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 Decatur 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

To locate the closest family history center or affiliate library, use the link listed above.

Libraries[edit | edit source]

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

Lamoni Public Library
301 W Main Street
Lamoni, IA 50140
641-784-6686
E-mail: lamonipl@grm.net
Website
Facebook

Leon Public Library
200 W 1st Street
Leon, IA 50144
641-446-6332
E-mail: john@leon.lib.ia.us
Website
Facebook

Museums[edit | edit source]

Liberty Hall
1138 W Main Street
Lamoni, IA 50140
641-784-6133
E-mail: libhall@grm.net
Website
Facebook

Societies[edit | edit source]

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

Decatur County Genealogical Society
Lamoni Public Library
301 West Main
Lamoni, IA 50140
641-784-6686
E-mail: lamonipl@grm.net
Facebook

Decatur County Historical Society
100 Block of North Main
Leon, IA 50140
Email: rjbixby@grm.net
Website
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 23 July 2021.
  2. Iowa Historical Boundary Changes - list of all boundary changes by county provided by Newberry Library; accessed 23 July 2021.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Decatur, Iowa," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decatur_County,_Iowa.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Iowa.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  5. Iowa Historical Boundary Changes - list of all boundary changes by county provided by Newberry Library; accessed 25 July 2021.
  6. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Iowa.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Decatur County, Iowa," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decatur_County,_Iowa, accessed 2 September 2019.
  8. National Park Service, "Auto Tour Route Maps" in Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail at http://www.nps.gov/mopi/planyourvisit/maps.htm (accessed 18 July 2011).