Search For Your Ancestors



Polk County, Iowa
Genealogy, History & Facts

Polk County, Iowa Facts

When was Polk County, IA Created?
Polk County was established on January 13, 1846 (Organized in January 17, 1846) from Unorganized Territory. The county was named in honor of James Knox Polk (1795–1849), the eleventh president of the United States

What is the County Seat of Polk County, IA?
The County Seat is located in Des Moines and the county government website is

What counties are adjacent to Polk County, IA?
Bordering Counties are Boone CountyStory CountyJasper CountyMarion CountyWarren CountyMadison CountyDallas County.

What cities and towns are in Polk County, IA?
Cities and towns located in the County include Alleman, Altoona, Ankeny, Bondurant, Carlisle, Clive, Des Moines, Elkhart, Grimes, Johnston, Mitchellville, Pleasant Hill, Polk City, Runnells, Sheldahl, Urbandale, West Des Moines, Windsor Heights.

Polk County, IA Vital Records

Where can find Polk County Birth, marriage, Divorce and Death Records?
Polk 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 Polk 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.

Polk County, IA Census Records

What Polk County, IA census records are available?
There are many types of census records for Polk County guide you in researching your family tree. Federal Population Schedules are available for 1850186018701880 (free index)1890 (fragment)19001910192019301940.

Polk Co. Mortality Schedules can be found for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Polk Co. Industry and Agriculture can be obtained for 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. Polk 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

Polk County, IA Courthouse and Government Records

Polk County Courthouse

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

  • Polk County Courthouse (all departments listed below are located here, unless otherwise noted)
    • Address: 111 Court Ave, Des Moines, IA 50309
    • Phone: (515) 286-3921
  • Polk 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: 1846
    • Land Records: 1846
  • Polk 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: 1846
    • Court Records: 1846
  • BLM Land Records

Polk County, IA Societies and Family History Resources

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

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

What other genealogical resources are available in Polk County, IA?
The following are web links to Genealogy, Records and Resources pertaining to Polk 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.

Polk Co. IA Books, Newspapers & Publications

Polk Co. IA Cemeteries & Church Records

Polk Co. IA Family Websites, Pictures & Histories

Polk Co. IA General and History Websites

Polk Co. IA Maps, Atlases & Gazetteers

Polk Co. IA Military Records

Polk Co. IA Schools & Directories