Iowa Archives, Societies & Publications

It is a good idea to familiarize personally with just about any repository in Iowa that you simply might travel to by communicating with to the best suited archive or library in advance.

Most, if not all, Iowa repositories have written and published content that present its collections as well as research policy.

Iowa archives and historical organizations usually have On-line sites that provide equivalent details. Several also contain down loadable data for some or parts of their collections.

List of Iowa Archives

List of Iowa Libraries & Museums

  • Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum,
    210 Parkside Drive, West Branch, IA 52358;
    PH: 319-643-5301
  • National Archives; Central Plains Region, Kansas City,
    2312 East Bannister Road, Kansas City, Missouri 64131-3011;
    Email:; Phone: 816-268-8000
  • State Historical Society of Iowa Research Library,
    402 Iowa Avenue, Iowa City, IA 52240. 
    The second largest research collection in the state is located at the Iowa City branch of the State Historical Society’s research facilities. Holdings include local, state and national histories, biographies, government documents, and current historical periodicals not all identical to the facility at Des Moines. Microfilm holdings are loaned between the collections. Of specific interest to genealogists are county histories, census data, cemetery records, atlases, and plat books. Iowa newspapers, beginning in 1836, can be found in 10,000 bound volumes and 12,000 microfilm rolls (microfilm available on interlibrary loan). Fire insurance maps include more than 700 Iowa communities. Over 100,000 photographic images can be located by standard subject headings, geographical designations, or the portrait index.
  • Harlan Community Library,
    718 Court Street, Harlan IA 51537;
    Phone: (712) 755-5934
  • Matilda J. Gibson Memorial Library,
    200 W. Howard Street, Creston, IA 50801;
    Phone: (641) 782-2277
  • Newberry Library,
    60 West Walton Street, Chicago, IL 60610. 
    Although in Illinois, this repository should be considered as a source for Iowa research. According to Peggy Tuck Sinko, author of Guide to Local and Family History at the Newberry Library (Salt Lake City, Utah: Ancestry, 1987), “The Iowa holdings of The Newberry Library are surpassed in size, scope, and quality only by the library’s Illinois collection.” The Iowa collection includes considerable genealogical and local history material, plus a number of very rare books and manuscripts included in the Graff Collection.
  • Prairie Trails Historical Museum,
    515 East Jefferson Street, Highway 2 East, Corydon, Iowa 50060;
    PH: 1-641-872-2211

List of Iowa Historical & Genealogical Societies

For almost every state there is a state genealogical society, a state genealogical council, or both.

In addition to their own work, Iowa groups many times help coordinate the efforts of local societies throughout the Iowa.

Their unique publications, newsletters and quarterlies, supplement those created through the area societies.

Regional and State Societies

County, Township and City Societies

Religious and Ethnic Societies

Iowa Newspapers & Publications

Iowa Genealogical publications (magazines, newsletters, periodicals, books, etc.) contain all types of invaluable information about specific ancestors, whole lineages and families, places in time, and about all sorts of genealogical records and repositories.


The Du Buque Visitor, Iowa’s first newspaper, was published in 1836 at Dubuque, followed a year later by The Western Adventurer at Montrose.


Genealogical journals provide you with plenty of sources of information and facts, they are generally overlooked by genealogy and family history researchers and genealogist in looking around for family history.

Many regional and county genealogical and/or historical societies produce periodicals which have records relating to the region or vicinity they operate.

Frequently these publications have articles involving records that are not obtainable somewhere else.

  • State Historical Society of Iowa has published the Annals of Iowa, a scholarly quarterly in three series—1863–74, 1882–83, and 1893 to present
  • Iowa Historical Record (1885–1902); and the Iowa Journal of History and Politics, renamed Iowa Journal of History, 1903–61
  • the Palimpsest, a popular quarterly, published continuously since 1920
  • Hawkeye Heritage, the quarterly publication of the Iowa Genealogical Society, contains a wealth of local information from various parts of the state