Dickinson County, Iowa Genealogy

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

Dickinson County, Iowa
Map of Iowa highlighting Dickinson 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 January 15, 1851
County Seat Spirit Lake
Iowa, Dickinson County Courthouse.png
Address Dickinson County Courthouse
1802 Hill Ave
Spirit Lake, IA 51360
Phone:(712) 336-1495
County Website

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for the Daniel S Dickinson. The County has Spirit Lake as its seat and the County was created 1857. The County is located in the northwest area of the state.[1]

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

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[2]
Marriage Court Land Probate Census
1880 1880 1880 1880 1861 1880 1847
Statewide registration started for births in July 1880 and for deaths Jan 1891. General compliance by 1924.

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Dickinson County Courthouse
1802 Hill Ave
Spirit Lake, IA 51360

(712) 336-1495

Dickinson County

History[edit | edit source]

Parent County[edit | edit source]

1851--Dickinson County was created 15 January 1851 from unorganized territory. It was attached to Woodbury County prior to organization 3 August 1857.  County seat:  Spirit 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.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

1871 Courthouse burned in November and some county 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]

Unincorporated communities

Neighboring Counties[edit | edit source]

Clay • Emmet • O'Brien • Osceola • Palo Alto • Jackson County, Minnesota

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.

Cemeteries, IAGenWeb Dickinson County, Iowa

The Spirit Lake Public Library website has very through listings of cemetery burials in Dickinson county. On the main page of their website you can click the Do Research tab, and then select Local Cemetery Listings.

The direct link to that is www.spiritlake.lib.ia.us/do-research/cemeteryrecords

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 180
1870 1,389 671.7%
1880 1,901 36.9%
1890 4,328 127.7%
1900 7,995 84.7%
1910 8,137 1.8%
1920 10,241 25.9%
1930 10,982 7.2%
1940 12,185 11.0%
1950 12,756 4.7%
1960 12,574 −1.4%
1970 12,565 −0.1%
1980 15,629 24.4%
1990 14,909 −4.6%
2000 16,424 10.2%
2010 16,667 1.5%
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

Court[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

  • The lake region blue book and club directory of Spirit Lake and vicinity. By Henrietta Comstock Wright. Spirit Lake, Iowa?: unknown, 1906. 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 Dickinson 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.

  • Smith, R. A. A history of Dickinson County, Iowa : together with an account of the Spirit Lake massacre, and the indian troubles on the northwestern frontier. Des Moines [Iowa] : Kenyon Print. & Mfg., 1902.
  • Wright, Henrietta Comstock. The lake region blue book and club directory of Spirit Lake and vicinity. [Spirit Lake? La. : s.n.], 1906.
  • Minnewaukon (Spirit Lake) and its legend : or an illustrated story of Okoboji and Spirit Lakes. [Des Moines : The Kenyon Company, 1910].
  • Green, H. O. Terrace Park [on Lake Okoboji]. [S.l. : s.n,] 1905.
  • History of Emmet County and Dickinson County, Iowa : a record of settlement, organization, progress and achievement.. Chicago, Ill.: Pioneer Pub. Co., 1917. Online at: Ancestry.com ($)

Maps[edit | edit source]

Jackson CountyMartin CountyOsceola CountyEmmet CountyO'Brien CountyClay CountyPalo Alto CountyIA DICKINSON.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.

Ancestry.com has most of the Spirit Lake Beacon from 1870 to 1977 in searchable form. From ancestry's home page, select Card Catalog under the Search tab. Search for Spirit Lake and select the Spirit Lake Beacon on the right. If the name you are searching for is common, use the keyword field and type the name in quotation marks like this: "John Sears." You will have to do an additional search for names with initials such as "John C. Sears" but that's still easier than reading all the ads for Sears stores, or whatever your name might be confused with.

  • Spirit Lake Beacon. 1870- 1889 Spirit Lake, Iowa, United States Of America. Online at: Ancestry.com ($)
  • Milford Mail. 1937-1941, 1943-1957 Milford, Iowa, United States Of America. Online at: Ancestry.com ($)
  • Lake Park News. 1958-1977 Lake Park, Iowa, United States Of America. Online at: Ancestry.com ($)
  • Terril Record. 1935-1956 Terril, Iowa, United States Of America. Online at: Ancestry.com ($)

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]

Iowa began keeping vital records in 1880. Look in the Library catalog to find what is available for Dickinson county.

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

Societies and Libraries[edit | edit source]

Dickinson County Historical Society
1708 Keokuk Street
Spirit Lake IA 51360-1020

Spirit Lake Public Library
702 16th Street
Spirit Lake IA 51360

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Websites[edit | edit source]

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

Sites with online indexes or images of records pertaining to Dickinson 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 "dickinson 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 "dickinson county" in the search box
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
genealogytrails.com -Dickinson County page 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 Dickinson 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 ($)
CyndisList Free Click links. Some sites they link to may have fees ($)
Dickinson 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 Dickinson 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 Dickinson 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 Dickinson County Message Board

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Dickinson, Iowa," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dickinson_County,_Iowa.
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Dickinson 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, "Dickinson County, Iowa," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dickinson_County,_Iowa, accessed 3 September 2019.