Digitizes All Readily Available Iowa State Census Records From 1836 to 1925

Ancestry leaf logo.bmpMore Than 14 Million Records Offer Insight Into State and Family Histories   

From Notable Natives, John Wayne and President Herbert Hoover, to the Settlers of the 1830s

Free access to the Iowa State census records collection will be available on through the end of March.

PROVO, Utah, March 15 /PRNewswire/ —, the world’s largest online resource for family history, today announced that it has digitized and indexed all readily available Iowa State census records from 1836 to 1925. Researchers spent more than two years manually entering each name from actual early handwritten documents, bringing nearly a century of Iowa State history to life at the click of a mouse. In total, the collection features more than 14 million Iowa State census records and more than 3 million images, making the first and only online source to provide access to all publicly released Iowa State census records. “Census records are the backbone of family history. They’re more than just names and numbers. If you look closely, they tell stories,” said Megan Smolenyak, Chief Family Historian for “The Iowa state census records, in particular, provide a wide range of snapshots into the lives and lifestyles of Iowan ancestors. With these records now available online, Iowans can dig deeper into their state and family histories.”

Searching for Genealogical Gold
Iowa has an exceptionally rich census repertoire, having taken censuses more frequently than any other state in America. The Iowa census collection contains more than 14 million Iowa State census records from 28 state censuses. The state conducted five complete, statewide censuses of all 99 counties and 23 partial censuses, of which all but three contain 13 counties or less. The 1925 census, widely regarded as genealogical gold, is the highlight of the collection, featuring more detail than any other censuses in Iowa or most other states. Unique information available in this enumeration include mother’s maiden name and father’s full name, birthplace and year of marriage, providing invaluable insight and additional clues to help discover family history. Other data listed in Iowa census records include name, age, gender, race, marital status, place of residence, parents’ names and each resident’s war service and citizenship status.

“The 1925 census’s depth and detail is recognized across the country as a one-of-a-kind resource which, to the best of my knowledge, can’t be found anywhere else,” said Theresa Liewer, President, Iowa Genealogical Society. “Although census records are available on microfilm at our library, being able to use the online indexes and access the digitized versions makes it easier to sort through millions of names and find that elusive ancestor who sometimes seems to be deliberately hiding at the click of a mouse.”

Inside America’s Breadbasket
The Iowa census collection provides tremendous historical insights into the state, capturing a cross-section of America’s “breadbasket,” from the first white settlers of 1833 to a period of German and Northern European immigration to Iowa. It also accounts for the influx of thousands of settlers from the American Midwest and mid-Atlantic. Interestingly, Germans, Swedes, Norwegians, Danes and Dutch made up most of Iowa’s immigrant population.

Famous Personalities Owed To Iowa
Iowa is the birthplace for famous 19th century Wild West figures Wyatt Earp and Buffalo Bill Cody. Big-screen cowboy, John Wayne, born Marion Morrison in May 26, 1907 in Winterset, Iowa, and Johnny Carson, former host of the Tonight Show, also hail from the Hawkeye State. Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States, can be found in the 1885 state census.

With 23,000 searchable databases and titles, is the No. 1 online source for family history information. Since its launch in 1997, has been the premier resource for family history, simplifying genealogical research for millions of people by providing them with many easy-to-use tools and resources to build their own unique family trees. is part of The Generations Network, Inc, a leading network of family-focused interactive properties, including,,, and Family Tree Maker. In total, The Generations Network properties receive 8.5 million unique visitors worldwide and over 400 million page views a month ((C) comScore Media Metrix, January, 2007).


5 thoughts on “ Digitizes All Readily Available Iowa State Census Records From 1836 to 1925

  1. It is very interesting to note the richness of the 1925 Census, with all of the information it offers us. Can you imagine the same questions being asked today? Our “need for privacy” would likely keep our descendants guessing about our life details–except that a digitized world will provide other sources. A bit ironic, eh?

  2. I’m really glad the Iowa censuses are now being made available through the Internet, albeit even through a site with a paid membership. I started researching back in 1956 and have invested many, many dollars in postage, traveling to various states to search in the original records, etc. Thank you for continuing to provide new genealogical findings.

  3. The 1925 census has allowed me to break through a roadblock several years old, and find 2 generations of direct ancestors. Since the 1925 census gives the mother’s maiden name and father’s name for nearly every person, it’s truly been a goldmine. A couple of tips and a question for other users about the 1925 data:

    1). If you are used to going directly from the search results to the “view image”, be sure to also review the search results or click the “view record” link because that’s where the parents’ names are given. The parents’ names are not given on the images themselves. The mother’s maiden name and the father’s name have been correct (though frequently misspelled), in all the records needed. [And that’s my question: does anyone know where the mother’s maiden name, father’s name info comes from, since they’re not on the images?]

    2). When searching the 1925 census, try leaving the name field blank and just searching on the father’s and mother’s names (full or partial). This is a really good way to find the previously unknown married name of a daughter, or other siblings of a person of interest.

  4. MJ mentioned that the parents’ names are not given on the actual
    images, but this is incorrect.
    Each entry on this census actually occupies 4 pages. The parents’
    names are on the third and fourth pages. This additional sheet
    is not as wide as the first sheet, so that when it is turned you
    can still see the name of the individual, lined up with the
    parents’ names.
    After locating your relative in the index and viewing the image,
    go to the next image to see the remaining information.

  5. Ken Hinds –
    Thank you SO much!! I didn’t realize that there were another two pages of records. And there’s a lot more there than just the parents’ names there, but place of birth and place of their marriage, and age. Wow.

    I wish I could edit message #3 to remove my misinformation. Sorry everyone, and thanks again, Ken, for the enlightenment!

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