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Instant Access to State, County and Municipal Records

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Are Iowa Vital Records Open to the Public?

Not all records are open to the public. In compliance with the Iowa Code 144.43, vital records such as birth, marriage, and death records that are less than 75 years are only available to eligible individuals upon request. However, older records may be accessed without meeting the designated requirements.

 

What Information Do I Need to Search for Iowa Vital Records Online?

Members of the public searching for Iowa Vital records must be able to provide basic information about the record of interest as well as appropriate proof of identification supporting eligibility. The basic information includes:

  • The name and personal information of the requestor
  • Personal Information of the named party to the record
  • The relationship of the requestor to the named party in the record (father, mother, son, daughter, husband, sibling, aunt, uncle, grandparent, legal guardian, etc)
  • The reason for record request (personal use, insurance proceeds, authentication, death benefits, and other legal purposes)
  • The date the event occured
  • The gender of the named party on the record (if applicable)
  • The age of the named party on the record at the time the event took place (if applicable)
  • The name of the city the event was recorded
  • Father’s name and mother’s maiden name (for birth certificates only)
  • Scope of search required (statewide or county limited)
  • Proof of ID revealing that the requestor has a direct and tangible interest (compulsory for all vital records related searches, verification, and certification).

The Iowa Department of Health Division of Health Statistics file and maintains various types of vital records, including birth and death records. Publicly available vital records are also managed and disseminated by some third-party aggregate sites. These websites are generally not limited by geographical record availability and may serve as an adequate starting point when researching specific or multiple records. However, third-party sites are not affiliated with the government. As such, record availability may differ from official channels. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, the requesting party will be required to provide:

  • The location of the record in question including city, county, or state where the case was filed.
  • The name of someone involved provided it is not a juvenile.

 

What Do I Need to Obtain Vital Records in Iowa?

To obtain copies of marriage, birth, and death records at the state level, interested parties must provide a document proving the requester’s direct relationship to the named person on the record. However, older records may be freely accessible by anyone and thus may not require proof of identification before they are released. At the county level, uncertified copies of vital records are available to anyone and thus can be searched and obtained by anyone. However, certified copies are only released to persons with a direct and tangible interest to the record in question.

 

What’s the difference between a Certified Record and Uncertified Copy?

Certified copies of Iowa vital records are official copies that have been signed by the custodian and strictly used for legal and authentication purposes while uncertified copies of a record are reserved for non-official, genealogical research, and medical research purposes. While both forms of vital record contain the same information, the certified copies are usually printed on a security paper as opposed to informational copies that are printed on plain paper and clearly marked “Informational”.

Are Iowa Marriage Records Public Information?

Marriage records older than 75 years are regarded as public information and hence available to non-entitled persons. More recent marriage records may be unavailable to the general public. The State Registrar and county custodians only issue marriage certificates to entitled persons.

 

How Do I Find Marriage Records In Iowa?

Iowa marriage records can be found by querying the office of the Bureau of Vital Statistics or the County Recorder’s office. Usually, the County Recorders can search and issue copies of all marriages that occurred within the state’s limit from 1954 to today. However, marriages that occurred prior to this date and period can only be found at the particular county where the license was issued.

Generally, marriage records can be obtained online, in person, by mail, or by telephone (if applicable). However, before determining the most convenient channel, the requesting party must first prepare the basic requirements for obtaining the record of choice. The basic requirements for obtaining marriage records include but may not be limited to:

  • Full names of the couple
  • The county of marriage
  • The date the marriage event was performed
  • The full names of the couple prior to marriage
  • The reason for requesting the record
  • The requester’s relationship to the person named on the record
  • A government-issued valid photo ID

After getting the basic information ready, the requesting party may then proceed to make a request. The Vital Offices in Iowa furnishes some third-party vendors with the right to assist eligible applicants in obtaining marriage records.

Persons who wish to request marriage records by physically visiting the state office or county recorders are usually required to provide a written request signed before a public notary and contains satisfactory information. Some county recorders provide application forms to facilitate the request. (For instance, see Polk County Marriage Application Form). Additionally, applicable fees and a Current Government-Issued Photo ID must be provided before the record request is processed.

To obtain a marriage record by mail in Iowa, the requesting party will need to send a completed Vital Records Application Form along with valid photo ID, and applicable fees to:

Iowa Department of Public Health Bureau of Health Statistics
Lucas State Office Building 1st Floor,
321 E. 12th Street Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0075

While the fee schedule is the same for the featured access channels, online vendors may incur additional charges for profit purposes. Officially, vital records cost $15 for each copy of the marriage record.

Are Iowa Divorce Records Public Information?

Most Iowa divorce records are public information, which can be accessed by interested members of the public upon request. However, the records available to the public might exclude certified copies as well as sensitive information such as details of any relief or financial agreements/settlements, financial information such as bank statements and account numbers as well as identifying information of domestic violence victims.

 

How Do I Find Divorce Records In Iowa?

Divorce records are maintained at the county level by the clerk of the particular court where the case was filed. Usually, these records can be found by making an online request, by sending a mail-in request, or by physically visiting the courthouse. Prior to choosing the most convenient channel of access, the requesting party will need to check eligibility and provide the basic information needed to recover the record of interest. This includes:

  • The full name of the parties named on the record
  • The case number on the record
  • The date of divorce
  • The place of divorce
  • Where certified copies are also needed, requesters will be prompted to bring a government-issued photo ID.

Additionally, the fee for searching and copying divorce records varies and must be fully paid before the record request is processed.

Are Iowa Birth Records Public Information?

No, birth records are not public information in the state of Iowa. However, for genealogical research purposes, the state statute allows anyone to obtain and view birth records older than 75 years without prohibitions. Furthermore, the Iowa Bureau of Health Statistics maintains birth records for all births registered within the state limits. Also, statewide birth records registered from 1988 to date can be obtained from any County Recorder Office. Records of births officially documented before 1988 can only be accessed at the particular county where the individual was born.

 

How Do I Find Birth Records In Iowa?

In Iowa, birth certificates can be obtained by ordering online via third-party vendors or by utilizing the physical visit or mail method options. The requesting party is required to deliver a completed Birth Record Application Form in person or by mail to:

Iowa Department of Public Health Bureau of Health Statistics
Lucas State Office Building 1st Floor,
321 E. 12th Street Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0075

Note: The application must be signed in front of a Notary Public and should also be accompanied by a photocopy of a valid photo ID and applicable payment. The standard processing fee is $15 for each copy of a record requested at the same time. However, online expedited orders may incur additional charges.

Are Iowa Death Records Public Information?

Death records that are not older than 75 years from the date on the record are not public records and are not available to anyone. On the other hand, older death records are available to the public for the sake of genealogical research. Persons entitled to obtain these records must provide a valid government-issued photo ID showing that the requester is a direct family member of the deceased, the deceased’s attorney/ any authorized legal representative, as well as anyone with a certified court order.

 

How Do I Find Death Records In Iowa?

In Iowa, death certificates can be obtained by ordering online via third-party vendors or by utilizing the physical visit or mail method options. The requesting party is required to deliver a completed Death Record Application Form in person or by mail to:

Iowa Department of Public Health Bureau of Health Statistics
Lucas State Office Building 1st Floor,
321 E. 12th Street Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0075

Note: The application must be signed in front of a Notary Public and should also be accompanied by a photocopy of a valid photo ID and applicable payment. The standard processing fee is $15 for each copy of a record requested at the same time. However, online expedited orders may incur additional charges.

How Do I Find Sealed Vital Records in Iowa?

At the state level, vital records including marriage records, birth records, and death records are deemed private and confidential. As such, they are sealed and unavailable for public inspection. Usually, sealed vital records in the Bureau of Vital Statistics can be found at the particular County Recorder’s Office where the event took place. However, requesters must bear in mind that information available at the county recorder’s office is subject to local guidelines. Thus, only publicly available information, as well as uncertified copies of vital records, are issued at the various county locations. Most often than not, uncertified copies of vital records do not include sensitive information such as financial account numbers, social security numbers, passwords, alimony, child support agreements, details of adoption, as well as other extended facts related to the record in question. Persons who wish to obtain the full vital record are required to petition the court for a certified court order.

Iowa State Archives

State Archives

Contact: (319) 246-8720

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Results are based upon available information from state, county and municipal databases, and may not include some or all of the above details.

Iowa

Iowa

  • State Archives hold over 700 cubic feet of records.
  • There are 2 levels of Courts: trial and appellate.
  • Iowa District Courts are the state trial courts of general jurisdiction in the state of Iowa.
  • There are 8 judicial districts, each encompassing five or more of Iowa's 99 counties.
  • The highest Court in Iowa is Iowa Supreme Court.

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