What’s in a Name?

It’s really fun to find your ancestors in old newspaper columns, vital records and census listings. But what happens if you cannot recognize the name of the town they lived in?

If it doesn’t exist now, how can you find out where it was and if it still exists by another name?

One resource is Abandoned Towns, Villages and Post Offices of Iowa. The call number for this item is 977.7 Mot and it is available for use in the Special Collections department or check it out to use at home, as there is also a circulating copy.

For a quick fix, here is a brief list of local cities that have changed their names over the years.  This list was published in the very first issue of the Scott County Iowan, our Scott County Iowa Genealogical Society’s publication, way back in 1977:

Bettendorf previously went by Lilienthal, Gilbert or Gilbertown

Burlington was known as Flint Hills

Davenport’s Indian name was Oskosh; another name was Morgan

Fairport was known as Salem

LeClaire had the names of Parkhurst, Berlin and Middletown

Keokuk was known as Fort Edwards

Milan, Illinois, was first named Camden

Muscatine went by Bloomington

Pleasant Valley was known as Valley City

Rock Island, Illinois, had two prior names – Stephenson and Farnhamsburg


(posted by Karen O)

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