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O’Brien County, Iowa
Genealogy, History & Facts

O’Brien County, Iowa Facts

When was O’Brien County, IA Created?
O’Brien County was established on January 15, 1851 (Organized in 1860) from Unorganized Territory. The county was named in honor of William Smith O’Brien, (1803–1864), Irish revolutionary who was inspired by American democratic ideals.

What is the County Seat of O’Brien County, IA?
The County Seat is located in Primghar and the county government website is

What counties are adjacent to O’Brien County, IA?
Bordering Counties are Osceola CountyClay CountyCherokee CountySioux County.

What cities and towns are in O’Brien County, IA?
Cities and towns located in the County include Archer, Calumet, Hartley, Paullina, Primghar, Sanborn, Sheldon, Sutherland

O’Brien County, IA Vital Records

Where can find O’Brien County Birth, marriage, Divorce and Death Records?
O’Brien County vital records can be found at the Iowa Office of Vital Records which has copies of birth, marriage and death records from July 1880. There is a fee for each copy requested. Please refer to the information to the Statewide Vital Records in Iowa for current fees and application process.

You can search online for O’Brien County Birth, Marriage, Divorce or Death Records. You can also Order Electronically Online or can download an application for Iowa Birth CertificateMarriage CertificateDeath Certificate Application to mail.

O’Brien County, IA Census Records

What O’Brien County, IA census records are available?
There are many types of census records for O’Brien County guide you in researching your family tree. Federal Population Schedules are available for 186018701880 (free index)1890 (fragment)19001910192019301940.

O’Brien Co. Mortality Schedules can be found for 1860, 1870 and 1880. O’Brien Co. Industry and Agriculture can be obtained for 1860, 1870 and 1880. O’Brien Co. Union Veterans Schedules is available for 1890.

Another Iowa census is the Iowa State Census Collection from 1836-1925. One can find free online and printable census forms to help you with your research. See Also Iowa Census Records Research Guide

O’Brien County, IA Courthouse and Government Records

O’Brien County Courthouse

What genealogical records can I find in the O’Brien County Courthouse?
The below facts shows exactly what death, marriage, birth, property, wills, and court records are typically in O’Brien County. The years listed below are the first noted records with this county. See Also Iowa Corthouse Records Research Guide.

  • O’Brien County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
    • Address: 155 S Hayes Ave, Primghar, IA 51245
    • Phone: (712) 957-3045
  • O’Brien County Recorder’s Office maintains official records of documents affecting title to real estate. Every real estate transaction that takes place begins in the Recorder’s Office. One of the major duties of the office is the management of public records. As a result, accuracy and preservation of records are a must in the Recorder’s Office. In addition to real estate transactions, the Recorder’s Office issues titles and liens; records veterans discharge papers; processes passport applications; accepts marriage applications and issues the subsequent license; issues certified copies of birth, death and marriage records as well as other numerous duties.
    • Birth / Death Records: 1880
    • Marriage Records: 1860
    • Land Records: 1857
  • O’Brien County Clerk of Court manages and maintains all trial court records, including pleadings, evidence and orders. The clerks of court have hundreds of administrative duties. They accept and process fines, fees and court costs owed to the state, child support checks, and civil judgments owed to litigants. They maintain a record of liens on all real estate in the county. Clerks help with involuntary hospitalization cases. They have the authority to dispose of scheduled violations which are not contested and do not require a court hearing. Clerks are also responsible for informing state and local government agencies of court orders.
    • Probate Records: 1880?
    • Court Records: 1870
  • BLM Land Records

O’Brien County, IA Societies and Family History Resources

What genealogical and historical societies, archives, museums, associations and libraries are available for O’Brien County, IA?
A list of O’Brien County Historical  and Genealogical Societies, Libraries, Archives. See also list of Statewide Iowa Archives, Historical & Genealogical Societies.

Where can I connect with other O’Brien County, IA Researchers through message boards and forums?

What other genealogical resources are available in O’Brien County, IA?
The following are web links to Genealogy, Records and Resources pertaining to O’Brien County. Many of these genealogy links fall into 3 categories: Business oriented Sites, Private Sites or Organization Sites. Some have free access some have to have a cost. This is simply a list which has been compiled or submitted. I do not endorse or promote one genealogy site over another.

O’Brien Co. IA Books, Newspapers & Publications

O’Brien Co. IA Cemeteries & Church Records

O’Brien Co. IA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

O’Brien Co. IA General and History Websites

O’Brien Co. IA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

O’Brien Co. IA Military Records

O’Brien Co. IA Schools & Directories