Instant Access to State, County and Municipal Records
Iowa Vital Records
In Iowa, the Office of Vital Records is charged with maintaining all state level vital records, which includes all documents relating to Iowa residents’ most important life events. These events can consist of births, deaths, marriages, and divorces. The files kept on these key milestone events can include, but are not limited to, divorce decrees, divorce certificates and other divorce records, birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, marriage certificates. These key files are all kept together in one central registry and are used for statistical analysis.
Divorce records are distributed by government officials in the state of Iowa, but only after the divorce or annulment in question is registered with the state. When someone files for a divorce or annulment in Iowa, records are kept along with other vital files in a state central registry. These files can consist of divorce certificates and divorce decrees, as well as other divorce-related files. It depends on the individual state as to whether these can be viewed or copied by the public. Divorce records have been kept since around 1834 in Iowa, which is when the first county was formed. Early divorce records can be found in the relevant county district courts. Since 1906, transcribed copies were sent to the state. There was a divorce rate of 1.9 per 1,000 inhabitants in Iowa in 2017. A copy of a record costs $20 in the state of Iowa.
Marriage records are also distributed by government officials in the state of Iowa, after the wedding is registered. The first marriage records in Iowa began in around 1835. These records usually include names, ages, nationality, race, birthplaces, occupations, parents’ names, date, location, and more. Some marriage certificates even list the number of times the groom has been married. The United States Marriage Records holds more information. A large number of Iowa marriage records have been transcribed and published by the Daughters of the American Revolution. There was a marriage rate of 6.2 per 1,000 inhabitants in Iowa in 2017. A copy of a record costs $20 in the state of Iowa.
Birth records refer to the certificates issued upon the birth of every single child in the state of Iowa, or a certified copy of that document. A small number of counties started recording birth statistics in the 1870s. Most county records began in 1880, when it was required by state law. This law was complied with by around 1924. Come the 1940s, a large number of people applied for delayed birth certificates so they would be eligible for social security benefits. There are state copies of birth certificates from July 1880. Birth records are collected and stored by the Iowa Department of Public Health. There was a birth rate of 12.2 per 1,000 inhabitants in Iowa in 2017. A copy of a record costs $20 in the state of Iowa.
Death records relate to the copy of information from a person’s death certificate upon their passing. There has been no state-wide registration of death records in Iowa. From the early days in the state, death records were recorded by clerk’s and county offices. These can now be found at the Iowa Family Search. The state stores copies of death records from as early as 1891. Death records are collected and stored by the Iowa Department of Public Health. There was a death rate of 9.7 per 1,000 inhabitants in Iowa in 2017. A copy of a record costs $20 in the state of Iowa.
Why are these records available to the public?
The Iowa Open Records Act was passed back in 1967,with amendments coming in later years. This act aims to ensure that all residents of Iowa can access public records at will. All public records held by local and state government can be accessed and copied by members of the public.
To access records:
Lucas State Office Building
321 E. 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319-0075
Phone: (515) 281-7689