Pottawattamie County, Iowa Genealogy

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

Pottawattamie County, Iowa
Map of Iowa highlighting Pottawattamie County
Location in the state of Iowa
Map of the U.S. highlighting Iowa
Location of Iowa in the U.S.
Founded September 21, 1848
County Seat Council Bluffs
Iowa, Pottawattamie County Courthouse.png

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for Potawatomi tribe. The County has Council Bluffs as its seat and the County was created September 21, 1848. The County is located in the southeast area of the state.[1]

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

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[2]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1880 1840 1880 1876 1849 1846 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]

1848--Pottawattamie County was created 21 September 1848 from unorganized territory. County seat: Founded as Kanesville; renamed Council Bluffs 19 January 1953. [3] [4]

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.

Apparently the new county, covering over 5,000 sq. miles, once included nearly all of Iowa's Missouri River drainage between the southern halves of what are now Monona and Crawford Counties and the northern edge of Fremont, Page, Taylor, and Ringgold Counties. The following counties were completely formed from within this expanse: Harrison, Shelby, Cass, Mills, Montgomery, and Adams; most of Audubon, along with portions of Union, Adair, Guthrie, Carroll, Crawford, and Monona Counties were also part of Pottawattamie County until 1851.[5] However, the area near Mt. Pisgah was never in Pottawattamie County. Iowa's legislature gave the eastern half of today's Union County to Clarke County in 1846, then shrank both Clarke and neighboring Lucas County in 1847 (before either county became functional). As a result, the Mt. Pisgah community and cemetery were in a non-county area until Union County was formed in 1851 and organized in 1853.[6]

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

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

Places/Localities[edit | edit source]

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:[7]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Cass • Harrison • Mills • Montgomery • Shelby • Douglas County, Nebraska • Sarpy County, Nebraska

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.

Cemeteries, grouped by search site.  Information on search sites may vary from site to site, but usually at least has the name, most will have dates, and some will include epitaphs and other information.  Some include photos, some do not.  Indexing of headstone data and locations will also vary, completeness of coverage of any particular cemetery may also vary.


Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1850 7,828
1860 4,968 −36.5%
1870 16,893 240.0%
1880 39,850 135.9%
1890 47,430 19.0%
1900 54,336 14.6%
1910 55,832 2.8%
1920 61,550 10.2%
1930 69,888 13.5%
1940 66,756 −4.5%
1950 69,682 4.4%
1960 83,102 19.3%
1970 86,991 4.7%
1980 86,561 −0.5%
1990 82,628 −4.5%
2000 87,704 6.1%
2010 93,158 6.2%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

US Census

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

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints[edit | edit source]

Ward and Branch Records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  • Council Bluffs
  • Council Bluffs Dist
  • Council Point
  • Lake
  • Pottawatomie
  • Shirtses
  • Union
Lutheran[edit | edit source]

Council Bluffs

  • Records of the American Lutheran Church, Council Bluffs, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).

St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Neola

  • Records of the St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Neola, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).


  • Records of the American Lutheran Church, Underwood, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).

Court[edit | edit source]

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]

Green check.png
The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.

Local histories are available for Pottawattamie 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.

Maps[edit | edit source]

Washington CountyDouglas CountySarpy CountyHarrison CountyShelby CountyCass CountyMontgomery CountyMills CountyIA POTTAWATTAMIE.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Early migration routes to and from Pottawattamie County, Iowa Genealogy for European and African American settlers included:

Military[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

Regiments. Service men in Pottawattamie 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 Pottawattamie County, Iowa Genealogy:

- 4th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company B
- 15th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company H
- 17th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company H
- 23rd Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company E
- 29th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, Company A

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Pottawattamie County, Iowa Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:

  • Council Bluffs Nonpareil. 1936, 1943-50, and 1952-56. Council Bluffs, IA, USA. Online at: Ancestry.com ($)

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Probate[edit | edit source]

Online Probate Indexes and Records

In most counties in Iowa, probate records have been kept by the county judge. They include wills, fee books, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, probate ticklers, and dockets. The records are available at the county courthouse.

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]

Botna Valley Genealogical Society (East Pottawattamie)
P.O. Box 693
Oakland, IA 51560-0693
E-mail: botnavalleygenealogy@yahoo.com

Pottawattamie County Genealogical Society
Frontier Heritage Library
622 Fourth Street
P.O. Box 394
Council Bluffs, IA 51502-0394
E-mail: pcgs@pcgs.omhcoxmail.com

Walnut Genealogy Society
Walnut Public Library Genealogy Room
224 Antique City Drive
P.O. Box 493
Walnut, Iowa 51577-0493
E-mail: wgs@walnutel.net

Council Bluffs Public Library
Genealogy Department
400 Willow Ave.
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
E-mail: cbplref@cbpl.lib.ia.us

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Websites[edit | edit source]

Sites with online indexes or images of records pertaining to Pottawattamie County, Iowa Genealogy
State Historical Society of Iowa Free Select from research collection topics
The Iowa Heritage Digital Collection Free digital images from a variety of Iowa cultural institutions - results of "pottawattamie county" in the search box
State Library of Iowa Free electronic depository of documents intended for the general public produced by Iowa agencies - results of "pottawattamie county" in the search box
IAGenWeb Free Data may be submitted by individuals or complete transcriptions
USGenWeb Archives Free Data may be submitted by individuals or may be complete transcriptions
genealogytrails.com Free Data may be submitted by individuals or complete transcriptions
[1] [2][3] FamilySearch Free Births, 1880-1935; Deaths 1880-1992; Marriages, 1838-1934; all indexes
Sites that search for links pertaining to Pottawattamie 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 ($)
CyndisList Free Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
Pottawattamie County IA at LDS Genealogy 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 Pottawattamie 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 Pottawattamie 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 Pottawattamie County Message Board

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Potawatomi, Iowa," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pottawattamie_County,_Iowa."
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pottawattamie 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. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  4. Pottawattamie County Genealogical Society files: "Important Dates in Council Bluffs History" (transcribed by Rootsweb). Online at http://sites.rootsweb.com/~iapcgs/CBimportantdates.html
  5. Geology.com: "Iowa State Map Collection" (includes rivers map with current county lines overlaid). Online at http://geology.com/state-map/iowa.shtml
  6. MapofUS.org: "Iowa County Formation Maps"; interactive map of county formation and organization (select 1851). Online at http://www.mapofus.org/iowa/
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Pottawattamie County, Iowa," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pottawattamie_County%2C_Iowa, accessed 22 October 2019.
  8. Jim Tompkins, "The Oregon Trail 1841-1848 Map I" in Oregon Trail Landmarks at OTMap1.jpg (accessed 18 July 2011).
  9. "Oregon California Trails Association" at http://octatrails.micromaps.com/ (accessed 18 July 2011).
  10. "The Pioneer Story: The Mormon Pioneer Trail" in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at https://newsroom.churchofjesuschrist.org/article/pioneer-trek (accessed 18 July 2011).