Tracing Your Des Moines County Ancestors

Census Indexes
  • Books located on the shelves to the left of the microfilm cabinets
  • Federal: All years on ALE and some on HQO. 1840 (Des Moines County), 1850, 1860, and 1870 in books. 1880 (online), 1900 (Soundex), and 1920 (Soundex)
  • Mortality: 1850 index and 1870 abstract
  • State: 1836, 1852, 1925 in books. All indexed on ALE
Census Records
  • Ancestry Library Edition (ALE) available in the library
  • Enumeration District (ED) Descriptions: 1840 -1930
  • Federal Census: 1840-1930, images on Heritage Quest Online HQO and ALE
  • Films located in microfilm cabinets in the Genealogy and Local History Room (GLH)
  • Heritage Quest Online (HQO) available in the library and through the library's website
  • Mortality: 1850 -1880
  • State Census: 1836, 1852, 1854, 1856, 1885, 1895, and 1925 include Des Moines County. Images on ALE
Photographs
  • Daily Life Along the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad
  • Online collection includes over 60 photographs from Burlington in the 1940s including local homes and workers at the shops
Territorial Papers
  • Iowa (102 rolls)
  • Wisconsin (121 rolls)
Directories
  • City Directories: 1856 (Business only), 1859, 1862, 1866, 1868-1995 (Microfiche), 1996-present (Ask at the Help Desk).
  • Phone Directories: 1934 – present. (384.6 BUR / Ask at the Help Desk).
  • Street numbering changed in 1938. Reverse Directories(by address) began in 1889 as part of city directory.
Churches
Search by subject using “Burlington (Iowa) – Churches” for church histories. The Burlington Family History Center (FHC) has the early records of many churches on film on indefinite loan (see FHC binder in the GLH).

Maps
  • Illustrated Historical Atlas of Des Moines County. 1873. (912.777 AND reproducible maps in a box in the GLH room)
  • Plat Books of Des Moines County (Ask at the Help Desk)
  • Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. 1886, 1892, 1900, 1931(on microfiche in GLH). Bound copy on GLH table has additions to 1950
For more maps, search by subject using “Burlington (Iowa) – Maps”.

Tax Lists
  • Internal Revenue Assessment Lists for Iowa, 1862-1866 (INT 001 / GLH) (16 rolls)
Voter Registrations
  • Voter Registrations, 1868 (1 volume)
  • Register of Elections, October 1877 (1 volume)
Newspapers
Ask at the Help Desk about clipping files.

Papers are on microfilm in the GLH room.
  • [Burlington] Hawk Eye. September 30, 1843 - present.
Hawk Eye Index, 1830's into 1897Created by library volunteer Mary Titus, this index covers birth, marriage, & death notices found in local newspapers.
Hawk Eye Index, 1985-2013.
Created by local volunteer Ed Fort and found in the library catalog.
Hawk Eye Online Archives, 1992 - present. Indexes staff-written articles and has some obituaries; full-text articles for a per article fee.
Indexes for 1900 and 1921 (2 volumes)
See also Obituary Indexes category in this document.

  • [Burlington] Daily Gazette and Argus. April 1867 – February 1871
  • Burlington Daily Gazette. March 1871 – June 30, 1933
  • Burlington Saturday Evening Post. August 19, 1882 – November 17, 1933
  • Burlington Weekly Telegraph. August 10, 1850 – July 1857
  • Des Moines Bulletin. January 1870 – December 1870
  • Illinois Patriot. October 27, 1832 – November 30, 1833
  • Iowa Patriot Hawk-Eye. June 6, 1839 – December 31, 1846
  • Iowa State Gazette. June 1837 – April 1859
  • The [Burlington] Daily Globe. December 1857 – July 1858
Schools
  • The Blackhawk. Burlington Junior College yearbook, 1922 - 1962 (378.777 BLA / STO Ask at Help Desk) Geode.
  • Burlington High School Graduates (1 volume). 1868 – 1900
  • Notre Dame High School yearbook, 1966, 1968, 1974, 1976 - 1978, 1981, 1995, 2006 - 2007, 2007 - 2008, 2008 - 2009, 2009 - 2010 (373.77 END / STO Ask at Help Desk)
  • Pathfinder. Burlington High School yearbook, 1911 - present (not published 1933) (373.777 PAT / STO Ask at Help Desk)
  • Purple and Gray. Burlington High School newspaper. Incomplete run; ask at the Help Desk.
  • Southeastern Community College yearbook, 1968 - 1971 (378.777 GEO / STO Ask at Help Desk) eNDview.
Surnames
Surname card information is submitted from various sources. Utilize 3 rolls of microfilm. Search the Catalog using “family histories” as the subject for a list of all family histories in the library. For a specific family, search by “[surname] family” as the subject. (For example, “Miller family”).

Hidden Names: Surnames in Burlington Public Library Collection of Family Histories (929.4 HID). This book lists surnames in the published family histories. These surnames include ones in the title and ones that are not. Be sure to try this source.

Birth Records
Iowa law did not require birth records be maintained by civil authorities until 1880. For records of these early births, try delayed births, church records, and death records.

  • August 1880 – 1910 (3 rolls). Earliest record books list parents’ birth place / nationality
  • Delayed Births, books 1-9
  • Jan 1884 – Dec 1889 (6 volumes). Abstracts
  • July 1880 – Dec 1883 (1 volume). Abstracts

Marriage Records

  • Index to Dissolution of Marriages, 1835-1930
  • Iowa Marriages: Early to 1850 (977.7 / GLH)
  • Marriage Index, 1835-1899 (18 volumes)
  • Marriage Index: Iowa, 1851-1900, CD-ROM (SW008 / Rotunda)
  • Marriage Record Books, 1875-1910 (9 rolls). Indexes at the front of each volume. Starting in May 1880 includes return of marriage which has birth places of the bride and groom and their parents names
  • Returns are often filmed at the end of the volume

Death Records
Iowa law did not require death records be maintained by civil authorities until 1880. Prior to 1880, use the coroner’s inquests listed above, cemetery records, obituaries, and church records.

Order civil records of births, marriages, and deaths from the Des Moines County Recorder of Deeds Office, 513 North Main Street, Burlington, IA 52601-5221. Cost is $1. Call (319) 753-8262 for other questions. From 1921-1941, birth and death records where only maintained at the state level.

  • Book 1 July 1880 – August 1889 (4 volumes)
  • Book 2 June 1889 – Jan 1895 (4 volumes)
  • Book 3 February 1895-Sept 1897 (2 volumes)
  • Book 4/4A 1897-1910 (1 roll). Provides names and birth places of parents starting in 1906
  • Coroner’s Inquest Index, 1834-1974 (1 volume) FHL has records on film
  • Coroner’s Report Death Records, June 1889 – January 1895 (1 volume). FHL filmed records
  • Coroner’s Records, 1882-1885 Copies of original records
  • Mortuary Records, 1880-1906 (4 volumes)

Obituary Indexes

  • 1973 -1975, clipped obituaries in binders, indexed
  • 1976 - present, alphabetical card file with date obituary appeared in the Hawk Eye newspaper along with some facts about the deceased, located in old catalog cabinet in the Local History room
  • Obituary Cards, c1976 - 1996 (27 rolls)
  • See also newspapers category in this document
Cemeteries
Cemetery Finder: Provides the township location of each cemetery in Des Moines County. Browse the following Cemeteries of Des Moines County:
  • Aspen Grove (2043 Sunnyside)
  • Burials from 1833-1852. Many bodies moved to the Aspen Grove Potter’s Field
  • Burials without markers, 1900-1949 (5 volumes) and 1950-1999 (5 volumes)
  • Burlington’s original cemetery (n.e. corner of Central and Market)
  • Cemeteries, City of Burlington, (1 volume)
  • Cemeteries, Concordia Township (1 volume)
  • Des Moines County, outside of Burlington
  • Iowa Army Ammunition Plant
  • Jewish Cemetery (Vineyard and Hayes)
  • Memorial Park, c1935-1979 (1 volume)
  • North Sixth Street Catholic Cemetery (1200 N. 6th St.)
  • Old internment book (1 volume)
  • Other Related Records Leyda, Burrus & Metz Tombstone Sales, 1931-1938. (1 volume)
  • Register of Burial Permits, 1874-1896 (6 volumes)
  • Register of Burial Permits: Potter’s Field, 1874-1896 (2 volumes)
  • Sacred Heart (Crapo Park)
  • Several cemeteries. Burials start 1830s (1 volume)
  • Shinar Cemetery in Pleasant Grove (1 volume)
  • St. Mary’s Cemetery in West Burlington, 1880-1990s (1 volume)
  • Swedish Lutheran in Huron Township (1 volume)
  • Tombstone Readings for each township (11 volumes)
  • Tombstone readings, 1843-1980 (10 volumes, plus index volume)
  • Veterans Buried With Markers in Des Moines County. (1 volume)

Funeral Home Records
  • Burnett Walker Burial Record Book, 1913 -1952 (11 volumes)
  • Prugh’s Burial Records, 1889 -1898 (2 volumes in one)
Probate Records

  • Covers approximately 1845 – 1875 (1 volume)
  • FHL filmed records
  • Index at front of each volume. Provides wills as copied by clerks
  • Index to Probate Records, 1901-1930 (1 volume)
  • Probate abstracts, books 1 and 2
  • Probate File Index, 1850 -1910 (1 roll)
  • Provides record of proceedings with dates
  • Refers to book and page in Revised Probate Index. No dates
  • Revised Probate Index, 1853-1887 (5 rolls)
  • Will Record Books, 1874-1908 (3 rolls)

Naturalization Records

  • Declaration of Intent, 1880 -1896 (1 roll)
  • Final Papers, 1866 -1868, 1882 -1906 (2 rolls)
  • Index at front of each volume.
  • Indexes declarations of intent for 1855 -1929 and final papers for 1849 -1912
  • Naturalization Records (7 volumes)
  • Recorder of Deeds has naturalization records and index

Land Records

  • Grantor followed by grantee indexes
  • Index and Abstracts
  • Land Records, 1852 -1887 (7 rolls)
  • Real Estate Register, 1859-1904 (2 volumes)
  • Recorder of Deeds office has land records

Military Records

  • Civil War Units Raised in Des Moines County
  • Iowa Army Ammunition Plant, Burlington, Iowa: Historical Files, 1940 -1996. 20 rolls of microfilm. (977.796 IOW / GLH)
  • Lest We Forget: World War II Veterans of North Des Moines County (977.7 DAV)
  • List of Ex-Soldiers, Sailors and Marines, Living in Iowa. 1886 (977.7 IOW / GLH)
  • Report of the Adjutant General and Acting Quartermaster General of the State of Iowa, 1863 - 1864 (977.7 REP / GLH)
  • Roster and Record of Iowa Soldiers in the War of the Rebellion, together with historical sketches of volunteer organizations, 1861-1866 (977.7 ROS / GLH)

Other Court Records
Originals at the Des Moines County Courthouse. Inventory Guide to Court Records Des Moines County. Published 1979. Summary of court records and where to find them.