Tracing Your Ancestors

Available Records
Utilize the following resources to assist you in tracing your Des Moines County Ancestors at the Burlington Public Library.


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).
  • State: 1836, 1852, 1925 in books. All indexed on ALE.
  • Mortality: 1850 index and 1870 abstract.

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

Obituary Indexes
  • 1973-1975, clipped obits 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.

Cemeteries of Des Moines County

  • Burlington’s original cemetery (n.e. corner of Central and Market).
  • Burials from 1833-1852. Many bodies moved to the Aspen Grove Potter’s Field.
  • Aspen Grove (2043 Sunnyside)
  • Tombstone readings, 1843-1980 (10 volumes, plus index volume).
  • Burials without markers, 1900-1949 (5 volumes) and 1950-1999 (5 volumes).
  • Old internment book (1 volume).
  • Register of Burial Permits: Potter’s Field, 1874-1896 (2 volumes).
  • Register of Burial Permits, 1874-1896 (6 volumes).
  • Jewish Cemetery (Vineyard and Hayes)
  • Cemeteries, City of Burlington, (1 volume).
  • North Sixth Street Catholic Cemetery (1200 N. 6th St.)
  • Cemeteries, City of Burlington, (1 volume).
  • Sacred Heart (Crapo Park)
  • Cemeteries, Concordia Township (1 volume).
  • Des Moines County, outside of Burlington
  • Iowa Army Ammunition Plant.
  • Several cemeteries. Burials start 1830s (1 volume).
  • Memorial Park, c1935-1979 (1 volume).
  • St. Mary’s Cemetery in West Burlington, 1880-1990s
  • (1 volume).
  • Shinar Cemetery in Pleasant Grove (1 volume).
  • Swedish Lutheran in Huron Township (1 volume).
  • Tombstone Readings for each township (11 volumes).
  • Other Related Records Leyda, Burrus & Metz Tombstone Sales, 1931-1938. (1 volume).
  • Veterans Buried With Markers in Des Moines County. (1 volume).
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).
  • Street numbering changed in 1938. Reverse Directories(by address) began in 1889 as part of city directory.
  • Phone Directories: 1934 – present. (384.6 BUR / Ask at the Help Desk).
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
For more maps, search by subject using “Burlington (Iowa) – Maps”.
  • Illustrated Historical Atlas of Des Moines County. 1873. (912.777 AND reproducible maps in a box in the GLH room).
  • Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. 1886, 1892, 1900, 1931(on microfiche in GLH). Bound copy on GLH table has additions to 1950.
  • Plat Books of Des Moines County (Ask at the Help Desk).
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, Oct. 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. Indexes for 1900 and 1921 (2 volumes).
  • Hawk Eye Index, 1985-present.
  • Created by a library volunteer, this index covers articles and photographs, but does not include birth, death, or marriage notices.
  • Hawk Eye Index, 1830's into 1897
  • Created by a local volunteer, this index covers birth, marriage, & death notices found in local newspapers.
  • Hawk Eye Online Archives, 1992-present.
  • Indexes staff-written articles and has some obituaries; full-text articles for a per article fee.
  • See also Obituary Indexes category in this document.
  • [Burlington] Daily Gazette and Argus. Apr 1867 – Feb 1871.
  • Burlington Daily Gazette. Mar 1871 – Jun 30, 1933.
  • Des Moines Bulletin. Jan 1870 – Dec 1870.
  • Illinois Patriot. Oct 27, 1832 – Nov 30 1833.
  • Iowa Patriot Hawk-Eye. Jun 6, 1839 – Dec 31 1846.
  • Burlington Weekly Telegraph. Aug 10, 1850 – July 1857.
  • Iowa State Gazette. June 1837 – Apr 1859.
  • The [Burlington] Daily Globe. Dec 1857 – July 1858.
  • Burlington Saturday Evening Post. Aug 19, 1882 – Nov 17, 1933.
Schools
  • Burlington High School Graduates (1 volume). 1868 – 1900.
  • The Blackhawk. Burlington Junior College yearbook, 1922-1962 (378.777 BLA / STO Ask at Help Desk).
  • Geode. Southeastern Community College yearbook, 1968-1971 (378.777 GEO / STO Ask at Help Desk).
  • eNDview. Notre Dame High School yearbook, 1966, 1968, 1974, 1976-78, 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.
Surnames
Surname cards. Information submitted from various sources. 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.