Research in Iowa Archives, Libraries, Publications, Historical & Genealogical Societies

Archives  •  Museums  •  Libraries  •  Periodicals  •  Historical & Genealogical Societies  •  Newspapers & Publications

It is good to familiarize oneself with virtually any repository in Iowa which you might check out by getting in contact with to the appropriate archive or library in advance.

Many, if not all, Iowa repositories contain printed content that present its collections and also research policy.

Iowa archives and historical institutions also have Online web sites which provide the same important information. Quite a few also include down loadable sources for some or parts from the collections.

Iowa Archives

Iowa Museums

Iowa Libraries

  • Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, 210 Parkside Drive, West Branch, IA 52358; 319-643-5301
  • National Archives; Central Plains Region, Kansas City, 2312 East Bannister Road, Kansas City, Missouri 64131-3011; Email: kansascity.archives@nara.gov; Phone: 816-268-8000
  • State Historical Society of Iowa Research Library, 402 Iowa Avenue, Iowa City, IA 52240. The second largest research collection in the state is located at the Iowa City branch of the State Historical Society’s research facilities. Holdings include local, state and national histories, biographies, government documents, and current historical periodicals not all identical to the facility at Des Moines. Microfilm holdings are loaned between the collections. Of specific interest to genealogists are county histories, census data, cemetery records, atlases, and plat books. Iowa newspapers, beginning in 1836, can be found in 10,000 bound volumes and 12,000 microfilm rolls (microfilm available on interlibrary loan). Fire insurance maps include more than 700 Iowa communities. Over 100,000 photographic images can be located by standard subject headings, geographical designations, or the portrait index.
  • Harlan Community Library, 718 Court Street, Harlan IA 51537;
    Phone: (712) 755-5934
  • Matilda J. Gibson Memorial Library, 200 W. Howard Street, Creston, IA 50801; Phone: (641) 782-2277
  • Newberry Library, 60 West Walton Street, Chicago, IL 60610. Although in Illinois, this repository should be considered as a source for Iowa research. According to Peggy Tuck Sinko, author of Guide to Local and Family History at the Newberry Library (Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry, 1987), “The Iowa holdings of The Newberry Library are surpassed in size, scope, and quality only by the library’s Illinois collection.” The Iowa collection includes considerable genealogical and local history material, plus a number of very rare books and manuscripts included in the Graff Collection.

Iowa Periodicals

Genealogical publications provide you with many sources of facts, they usually are dismissed by family history and genealogy researchers and genealogist in seeking for family history. Many regional and county genealogical and/or historical societies issue periodicals that have records having to do with the region or area they support. Quite often these publications carry articles pertaining to records that are not accessible elsewhere.

  • State Historical Society of Iowa has published the Annals of Iowa, a scholarly quarterly in three series—1863–74, 1882–83, and 1893 to present
  • Iowa Historical Record (1885–1902); and the Iowa Journal of History and Politics, renamed Iowa Journal of History, 1903–61
  • the Palimpsest, a popular quarterly, published continuously since 1920
  • Hawkeye Heritage, the quarterly publication of the Iowa Genealogical Society, contains a wealth of local information from various parts of the state

Iowa Historical & Genealogical Societies

For almost every state there is a state genealogical society, a state genealogical council, or both. In addition to their own work, Iowa groups in some cases help manage the efforts of area societies from the Iowa. Their unique publications, newsletters and quarterlies, supplement those created by way of the local area societies

Regional and State

County, Township and City

Religious and Ethnic

Research in Iowa Newspapers & Publications

Iowa Genealogical publications (magazines, newsletters, periodicals, books, etc.) feature all sorts of invaluable information and facts related to specific ancestors, whole lineages and families, places in time, and regarding all sorts of genealogical records and repositories. They allow you to uncover a wealth of facts about your ancestors from many historical newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals. These types of resources can often bolster public records and supply information and facts that is not recorded elsewhere. Here, one can learn even more about your ancestor’s potential daily activities by putting them in the context of their time.

Books

Newspapers – Iowa newspapers can furnish all sorts of ideas about historical incidents, local history, court and legal notices, obituaries, and a lot more. The Du Buque Visitor, Iowa’s first newspaper, was published in 1836 at Dubuque, followed a year later by The Western Adventurer at Montrose.