Those Vital, Vital Records

To a genealogist, vital records are the mainstay of his or her research, the triumvirate of documentation.  Birth, marriage, and death records pin down a life from start to finish and connect an unbroken (one hopes) line from one generation to another.

We here in Special Collections understand how, well, vital these records are to our patrons.  It has therefore become our goal to add to our collections the available vital records from as many Iowa counties as we can, from the earliest possible to each county’s cut-off after the 1920 changes in Iowa law that changed the duties of county clerks.*

Iowa has ninety-nine counties, so this is what we would call an extended project—but we’re off to a pretty good start with the births, marriage, and deaths of the easternmost fourteen:





Scott (of course)



If you look at a county map of Iowa, you can see that we are resolutely marching west in our quest for these records.  And we vow not to stop until we reach Lyon County at the northwest corner of our fair state.

So, if you’re in the market for an early vital record or two from the eastern 14% of Iowa, c’mon in for a visit— we have  six microfilm reader/printers , a change machine, and extremely comfortable chairs!**


*Iowa law did not require clerks to record birth, marriage, and deaths at the county level between 1920 and 1941—these records were sent to the state.  Many clerks continued documenting some vital records as their duties permitted, but most eventually stopped until the law required them to begin again.

** Or if you really can’t manage a visit, drop us a line.  But then, you won’t know if we’re telling the truth about our chairs . . .

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