Polk County, Iowa Genealogy

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Guide to Polk County, Iowa ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

Polk County, Iowa
Map of Iowa highlighting Polk County
Location in the state of Iowa
Map of the U.S. highlighting Iowa
Location of Iowa in the U.S.
Founded January 13, 1846
County Seat Des Moines
Iowa, Polk County Courthouse.png

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for President James K. Polk. The County has Des Moines as its seat and the County was created 1846. The County is located in the center area of the state. [1]

Polk County, Iowa Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[2]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1880 1880 1941 1850 1846 1855 1847
Statewide registration started for births in July 1880 and for deaths Jan 1891. General compliance by 1924.

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

Parent County[edit | edit source]

1846--Polk County was created 13 January 1846 from unorganized territory. County seat:  Des Moines

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

For animated maps illustrating Iowa County boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Iowa County Boundary Maps" (1816-1872) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Places/Localities[edit | edit source]

Town/city records in the FamilySearch Catalog

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[3]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places

  • Neighboring Counties

Boone • Dallas • Jasper • Madison • Marion • Story • Warren

Resources[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county
Findagrave.com Family History Library Findagrave.com
IAGenWeb WorldCat Billion Graves
IAGenWeb Archives FamilySearch Places
Tombstone Project
Iowa Gravestone Photo Project
Billion Graves
See Iowa Cemeteries for more information.

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1850 4,513
1860 11,625 157.6%
1870 27,857 139.6%
1880 42,395 52.2%
1890 65,410 54.3%
1900 82,624 26.3%
1910 110,438 33.7%
1920 154,029 39.5%
1930 172,837 12.2%
1940 195,835 13.3%
1950 226,010 15.4%
1960 266,315 17.8%
1970 286,101 7.4%
1980 303,170 6.0%
1990 327,140 7.9%
2000 374,601 14.5%
2010 430,640 15.0%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

State Census

Church[edit | edit source]

Most church records are held by individual churches. Some denominations are gathering their records into a central repository. For more information about these major repositories, see Iowa Church Records. List of Churches and Church Parishes

Ward and Branch Records

  • Des Moines

Court[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

Fold3.com ($) has Des Moines City Directories 1881-1913 (2 yrs. missing) and miscellaneous years going back to 1866 available online.

  • R.L. Polk & Co.'s Des Moines City and Valley Junction directory for the year commencing December 1st, 1915 Des Moines, Iowa: R.L. Polk & Co., 1915. Online at: Ancestry.com ($)
  • R.L. Polk & Co.'s Des Moines City and Valley Junction directory for the year commencing December 1, 1912 Des Moines, Iowa: R.L. Polk & Co., c1912. Online at: Ancestry.com ($)

Land[edit | edit source]

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. They include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See Iowa Land and Property for information about early Iowa land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, transactions were usually recorded and housed at the county courthouse.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Polk County, Iowa Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section Iowa Local Histories.

  • Resources and industries of Des Moines and Polk County, Iowa: showing the trade and commerce, railroads, business, manufacturing, mining interests, etc., of Iowa's capital and metropolis, the great railroad center of the Northwest, also containing short sketches of the towns of Polk County. By Joseph P.Bushnell. Des Moines, Iowa: J.P. Bushnell, 1885. Online at: FamilySearch Digital Library.

Maps[edit | edit source]

Boone CountyStory CountyMarshall CountyDallas CountyMadison CountyWarren CountyMarion CountyJasper CountyIA POLK.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Military[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

Regiments. Service men in Polk County, Iowa Genealogy served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were specifically formed in Polk County, Iowa Genealogy:

- 2nd Regiment, Iowa Cavalry, Company D
- 2nd Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company D
- 4th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company E
- 10th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company A
- 10th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company K
- 13th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company E
- 15th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company B
- 16th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company K
- 17th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company B
- 17th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company K
- 18th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company I
- 23rd Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company A
- 23rd Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company B
- 23rd Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company C
- 23rd Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company E
- 47th Regiment, Iowa Infantry (100 days, 1864), Company F

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia has more about this subject: List of online newspaper archives

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Probate[edit | edit source]

Online Probate Indexes and Records

Taxation[edit | edit source]

Iowa tax records complement land records and can supplement the years between censuses. Iowa's unique Old Age Assistance tax gives names, addresses and birth years. There may be gaps of several years. For more information, see the wiki page Iowa Taxation.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records consist of births, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded by civil officials on registers, certificates, and other documents. Copies or extracts may be purchased from the Iowa Department of Public Health or the County Clerk's office. See also Iowa Vital Records.

Births[edit | edit source]
Marriages[edit | edit source]
Deaths[edit | edit source]

Societies and Libraries[edit | edit source]

Iowa Genealogical Society
628 E Grand Ave
Des Moines IA 50309-1924
E-mail: igs@iowagenealogy.org

State Historical Society Research Center
600 E Locust St.
Des Moines, IA 50319

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Websites[edit | edit source]

Sites with online indexes or images of records
State Historical Society of Iowa Free Select from research collection topics
IAGenWeb Project Free Data may be submitted by individuals or complete transcriptions
USGenWeb Archives Free Data may be submitted by individuals or may be complete transcriptions
[1] [2][3] FamilySearch Free Births, 1880-1935; Deaths 1880-1992; Marriages, 1838-1934; all indexes
FamilySearch Free Iowa, Polk County Probate Records, 1914-1924; browse images
Sites that search for links pertaining to Polk County, Iowa Genealogy
RootsWeb Resources Free Data may be submitted by individuals or may be complete transcriptions
Linkpendium Free Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
CyndisList Free Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
StateofUS.com Free family history resources and government records
Major catalogs for hard copy collections of Polk County, Iowa Genealogy
Books, microfilm, or manuscripts of genealogical records
FamilySearch Catalog Select topics. To select towns, add a comma to the search box.
WorldCat To find nearby libraries that have specific items, see WorldCat Online Catalog.
Allen County Public Library located in Indiana They are heavily involved in digitizing.
See also local libraries and Iowa Archives and Libraries
Social networking sites pertaining to Polk County, Iowa Genealogy
GeneaBloggers enter "Iowa" in search box to see list and links to Iowa blogs
Facebook list of groups from "Iowa Genealogy" search
genealogy.com IA Genealogy Forum
ancestry.com Polk County Message Board

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Polk, Iowa," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polk_County,_Iowa."
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Polk County, Iowa. Page 230-238 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 222-225.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Polk County, Iowa," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polk_County,_Iowa, accessed 22 October 2019.