Search For Your Ancestors in Historical Documents




State of Iowa
Court Records Research

Iowa Court records cover a wide range of genealogy subject areas that could aid you with your research, such as land ownership, courts, taxes, and naturalizations. Since Iowa court records cover a wide range of topics, they can help you in many various ways. For example, they may assist you to identify ancestors' residences, confirm occupations, discover financial information, identify citizenship status, or make clear relationships between people. The whole thing will depend on on the kind of court records that your particular ancestors" names can be found in. For Definitions of all court trems see the Genealogy Encyclopedia.

The Miners' Compact of 1830 is believed to be the first form of government in the area. In 1838, three district courts were established and stayed established until the 1846 addition of Iowa to the union as a state. At that point, they were merged into one. Then, in 1849, there were again divided into three, known as the southern, northern and middle divisions.

The entire area was reorganized and redivided many times up until 1907. There are files on record at the National Archives/Central Plains Region for the years 1845-1882 for the District of Iowa, 1850-1959 for the Northern District and 1842-1959 for the Southern District.

Iowa Court Links

Iowa County records differ extensively from county to county in both quality and volume. There are several types of court records that are in all likelihood to possess details applicable for your genealogical research.

Iowa Court Records - The majority of courts in America usually are courts of record that is they are required by law to maintain a record of their proceedings. Iowa courts are no different. In fact in the present day few people escape mention in a court room records ultimately during his or her lifetime as witnesses, litigants, jurors, appointees to office or as petition signatories. However Americans from a few of generations ago also expected to be present before local court procedures while they were in session. It must have been a civic duty and they could very well be fined if they couldn't attend. Iowa court files emulate U.S. history. Concealed away in courthouses along with archives pretty much everywhere are the desires and worries of lots of citizens. The prospects are excellent that your potential ancestors have left a concise record of at least some areas of life in a court room records.

County clerks hold civil and criminal county court records. Some of the state's court records are being moved to the Des Moines State Archives office. The Order Books for the Supreme Court of Iowa, which are four volumes covering 1838 to 1858, are of particular interest to genealogical researchers. For example, twenty-one naturalizations are listed in Order Book A and span the years of 1840 through 1851.

Iowa Tax Records

Both real estate and personal property tax rolls were kept by each county's treasurer or auditor. The State Historical Society of Iowa has some of the records are available on microfilm. However, each county's original tax rolls are not typically transferred to microfilm.

Genealogical researchers whoa re doing research into Iowa's history may be able to take advantage of records for old age pension taxes in the state. In 1934, an old age assistance tax was collected from anyone over twenty-one years old. The practice was stopped in 1936, but the tax lists included valuable information, including name, date and place of birth, address, gender, parent names and other information. The FHL can supply copies of many of those lists on microfilm.

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