How to Find Iowa Birth Records

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Guide to How to Find Iowa Birth Records ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

Finding Iowa Birth Records[edit | edit source]

Iowa was created in 1846 from Iowa Territory. Statewide registration of births began in July 1, 1880 in Iowa and was generally complied with by 1924. The counties have copies of these records.

Next Step: When did the birth occur? [edit | edit source]

Choose a time period to search for your ancestor's birth record:

Learn more about U.S. Birth Records

Births before 1880[edit | edit source]

Before 1880, very few births were recorded by the county or state. You must search substitute records to locate your ancestor’s birth date and place.

  Records that give birth information:
Death Records
Cemetery Records
Church Records
Military Records
Return to top: Choose another birth year

Births from 1880 thru Present[edit | edit source]

In 1880, Iowa was created a state from Iowa Territory. Iowa began to register vital records during the 1870s, but most county records began in 1880, when a state law took effect requiring counties to record births. Statewide registration of births began July 1, 1880. County registrars do not have birth records for the years 1921 to 1941. These must be ordered from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

For births that exist during the time period, try the following databases.

Includes Index and Digital Images
Try 1st: Iowa, County Births, 1880-1935 at Index to the birth records created by the counties of Iowa. When completed it will contain records for all of the 99 counties in the state. This collection is 80% complete.
Try 2nd:

Iowa, Births and Christenings, 1830-1950 at

Name index to birth, baptism and christening records from the state of Iowa. Microfilm copies of these records are available at the Family History Library and some FamilySearch Centers. Due to privacy laws, recent records may not be displayed. The year range represents most of the records. A few records may be earlier or later.
Try 3rd:

Iowa, Births and Christenings Index, 1857-1947 at

This database is an index extracted from more than 1.7 million birth, baptism, and christening records from Iowa.

Can't find your ancestor in the index?
Tips for searching indexes
No birth record for your ancestor?
Other records with birth information
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Obtain the Certificate[edit | edit source]

With an exact date (from your records or the index above), you can order a copy of the birth record for a fee from the county of birth or the Iowa Department of Public Health.

If you do not know the exact date or place of birth:
For a fee, the Iowa Department of Public Health will do a search. The fee is non-refundable.

To obtain a copy of the birth certificate, you must:

  • State your relationship to the individual on the record
  • The reason you want the information
  • Include the person named on the certificate
  • Include names of children and grandchildren of the person on the certificate
  • Include names of siblings on the certificate
  • Anyone who has legal interest in the certificate
  • Additional proof of entitlement may be required.

All applications for certified copies of vital record events must be in writing and completely identify the record, as well as satisfactorily establish entitlement to the record being requested.Certified copies of birth, death, or marriage certificates may be obtained from the state office of vital records by telephone, in-person, or through a postal service.

If you do not want to order the birth record, there are other records with birth information. you can search.

Return to top: Choose another birth year

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