Des Moines County, Iowa Genealogy

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

County Facts
County seat: Burlington
Organized: 28 December 1846[1]
Parent County(s): Unorganized territory[2]
Neighboring Counties
Henry  • Lee  • Louisa  • Henderson (IL)  • Mercer (IL)
See County Maps
Courthouse
Iowa, DesMoines County Courthouse.png
Location Map
Iowa Des Moines Map.png
Adoption

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

Des Moines County was named for the Des Moines River and is located in southeastern Iowa.[3]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Des Moines County Courthouse
513 North Main Street / PO Box 158
Burlington, Iowa 52601
Phone: 319-753-8272
Des Moines County Website

Des Moines 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 1835 1880 1835 1837 1835 1847
* Statewide registration started for births in July 1880 and for deaths January 1891. General compliance by 1924.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

1873 Courthouse burned and some 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]

Populated places: 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
Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places
Townships
Ghost towns
  • Prairie Grove
  • Reams
  • Rock Island Junction
  • Roscoe
  • Sand Ridge, 1849-1851 changed to Green Bay
  • South Flint, 1854-1889 of Pleasant Grove Twp
  • Spring Grove
  • Stony Hollow
  • Vandyke, 1859-1869 of Pleasant Grove Twp


History Timeline[edit | edit source]

  • Pre June 1834 Part of Wisconsin
  • June of 1834 Des Moines County Congress, IA Genweb, passed an act attaching the Black Hawk Purchase to the Territory of Michigan
  • September 1834 Legislature of Michigan divided this land purchase into two counties, Dubuque and Des Moines. The dividing boundary was a line running west from the lower end of Rock Island. At this time County courts were established with Des Moines County Court placed in the city of Burlington. Des Moines was named after the Des Moines River.
  • 1 October 1834 Created 1 October 1834.

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 Des Moines 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 12,988
1860 19,611 51.0%
1870 27,256 39.0%
1880 33,099 21.4%
1890 35,324 6.7%
1900 35,989 1.9%
1910 36,145 0.4%
1920 35,520 −1.7%
1930 38,162 7.4%
1940 36,804 −3.6%
1950 42,056 14.3%
1960 44,605 6.1%
1970 46,982 5.3%
1980 46,203 −1.7%
1990 42,614 −7.8%
2000 42,351 −0.6%
2010 40,325 −4.8%
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. List of Churches and Church Parishes

Lutheran

Methodist

Presbyterian

  • 1866-1903 McClintock, John C., Record book, 1866-1903 Mt. Pleasant, 1866-1870; Burlington, 1871-1896; and Sioux City, 1896-1903 at FamilySearch; — images

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 Indexes and Records

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

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

  • The History of Des Moines County, Iowa containing a history of the county, its cities, towns, ect., A biographical directory of citizens, war record of its volunteers in the late rebellion, general and local statistics, portraits of Early Settlers and Prominent men .... Western Historical, Chicago, IL., 1879. Online at: FamilySearch Digital Library.
  • Antrobus, Augustine M. History of Des Moines County, Iowa, and It's People. The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL., 1915. Online at: FamilySearch Digital Library.
  • Merrill, J. W. Yellow Spring and Huron. A Local History Containing Sketches of all the People, Institutions, and events, from the earliest settlement to date of Publication. Self Published, Mediapolis, Iowa 1897. Online at: FamilySearch Digital Library.
  • Des Moines, Iowa pictorial and biographical deluxe supplement. The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, IL., 1911. Online at: FamilySearch Digital Library.
  • Portrait and biographical album of Des Moines County, Iowa, containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county. Acme Publishing Co, Chicago, IL, 1888. Online at: FamilySearch Digital Library, Ancestry.com ($).
  • Biographical review of Des Moines County, Iowa : containing biographical and genealogical sketches of many of the prominent citizens of to-day and also of the past. Hobart Publishing Co, Chicago, IL., 1905. Online at: FamilySearch Digital Library Vol 1, Ancestry.com ($), FamilySearch Digital Library Vol 2.
  • The Blue book of Des Moines, Iowa, 1897-1898. Published by The Blue Book Directory Company, Des Moines, IA, 1898. Online at: FamilySearch Digital Library.

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.

Louisa CountyHenry CountyLee CountyMercer CountyHenderson CountyIA DES MOINES.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Multiple Wars

Civil War

Civil War service men in Des Moines 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:

- 1st Regiment, Iowa Infantry (3 months, 1861), Companies D and E
- 2nd Regiment, Iowa Cavalry, Company K
- 6th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company I
- 14th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company K
- 17th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company D
- 25th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Companies D, E and G
- 30th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company C
- 45th Regiment, Iowa Infantry (100 days, 1864), Companies F and G
- 48th Regiment, Iowa Infantry (100 days, 1864), Company D
- Engineer Regiment of the West, Missouri Volunteers (Union), Company K

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]

Iowa law did not require birth records be maintained by civil authorities until 1880. For records of these early births, try delayed births, church records, and death records. Birth records kept by the District Court, 1880-1904; 1906-1934, have been microfilmed and are available at the State Historical Society in Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa and 1880-1931 at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Some early Marriages Of Des Moines County 1837 to 1850 have been transcribed and published. Des Moines County Marriage Records, from 1880-1904; 1906-1935 have been microfilmed and can be found at the State Historical Society in Des Moines, Polk County Iowa. Index to marriage records, 1921-1977; marriage records, 1835-1930 at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

Death[edit | edit source]

Death records are held by the District Court, 1835-1930, have been microfilmed and are available at the State Historical Society in Des Moines, Polk County Iowa and 1880-1921 at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

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

Burlington Public Library
210 Court St
Burlington, IA 52601-1647
319-753-1647
E-mail: iowabpl@gmail.com
Website

Danville Station
102 N Main St
PO Box 304
Danville, IA 52623
319-392-8317
E-mail: danville.iowa.library@gmail.com
Website

Museums[edit | edit source]

Heritage Center
501 North 4th Street
Burlington, IA 52601
319-752-7449
E-mail: robins@dmchs.org
Website

Societies[edit | edit source]

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

Des Moines County Historical and Genealogical Society
501 North 4th Street
PO Box 493
Burlington, IA 52601
319-572-9290
E-mail: dmcgs@dmcgs.org
Website

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 6/17/2021.
  2. Iowa Historical Boundary Changes - list of all boundary changes by county provided by Newberry Library; accessed 6/17/2021.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Des Moines, Iowa," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Des_Moines_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 8 Jul 2021.
  6. Iowa Historical Boundary Changes - list of all boundary changes by county provided by Newberry Library; accessed 8 Jul 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, "Des Moines County, Iowa," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Des_Moines_County%2C_Iowa#Communities, accessed 3 September 2019.