Buena Vista County, Iowa Genealogy

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

Buena Vista County, Iowa
Map of Iowa highlighting Buena Vista County
Location in the state of Iowa, United States Genealogy
Map of the U.S. highlighting Iowa
Location of Iowa in the U.S.
Founded November 20, 1851
County Seat Storm Lake
Iowa, Buena Vista County Courthouse.png
Address Buena Vista County Courthouse
215 E. 5th St.
P. O. Box 1186
Storm Lake, IA 50588-1186
Phone: (712) 749-2546

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for Battle of Buena Vista. The County has Storm Lake as its seat and the County was created 1851. The County is located in the northwest area of the state.[1]

Buena Vista County, Iowa Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[2]
Marriage Court Land Probate Census
1880 1880 1880 1877 1869 1880 1847
Statewide registration started for births in July 1880 and for deaths Jan 1891. General compliance by 1924.

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Buena Vista County Courthouse
215 E. 5th St.
P. O. Box 1186
Storm Lake, IA 50588-1186

(712) 749-2546

History[edit | edit source]

Parent County[edit | edit source]

1851--Buena Vista County was created 15 January 1851 from unorganized territory. It was attached to Woodbury County prior to organization 20 November 1858. County seat:  Storm Lake [3]

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.

Records Loss[edit | edit source]

1877 Courthouse burned on January 1, 1877 and most records were destroyed.

For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:

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:[4]

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Calhoun • Cherokee • Clay • Ida • O'Brien • Palo Alto • Pocahontas • Sac

Resources[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 Gravestones
Billion Graves
See Iowa Cemeteries for more information.

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 57
1870 1,585 2680.7%
1880 7,537 375.5%
1890 13,548 79.8%
1900 16,975 25.3%
1910 15,981 −5.9%
1920 18,556 16.1%
1930 18,667 0.6%
1940 19,838 6.3%
1950 21,113 6.4%
1960 21,189 0.4%
1970 20,693 −2.3%
1980 20,774 0.4%
1990 19,965 −3.9%
2000 20,411 2.2%
2010 20,260 −0.7%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

Iowa recorded not only the federal census but state census through out the years too. The state census contains very valuable genealogical information. Where the census information can be found, what years it was taken, mortality schedules, census substitutions and much more is discussed in the very informative Iowa Census article.

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

Lutheran[edit | edit source]

Buena Vista County

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

Trinity Lutheran Church, Linn Grove

  • Records of the Trinity Lutheran Church, Linn Grove, 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]

Local histories are available for Buena Vista 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.

  • Eilers, Tom D. Buena Vista's part in the world war : one Iowa county's record of service and sacrifice. Storm Lake, Iowa : Tom D. Eilers, 1920.
  • Wegerslev, C. H. Past and present of Buena Vista County, Iowa. Chicago, Illinois : S. J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1909.

Maps[edit | edit source]

O'Brien CountyClay CountyPalo Alto CountyPocahontas CountyCalhoun CountySac CountyIda CountyCherokee CountyIA BUENA VISTA.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Military[edit | edit source]

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

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

NewspaperArchive.com ($) has a large collection of digitized Iowa newspapers online. This database is sometimes free at libraries.

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]

Buena Vista County Genealogical Society
221 West Railroad
Storm Lake, IA 50588
E-mail: famhisbv@ncn.net

Buena Vista County Historical Society
214 West 5th Street
Storm Lake, IA 50588

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Buena Vista, Iowa," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buena_Vista_County,_Iowa.
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Buena Vista 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. Wikipedia contributors, "Buena Vista County, Iowa," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buena_Vista_County,_Iowa, accessed 24 August 2019.