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Understanding Iowa Census Records


A census is a count and description of the population of a country, state, county, or city. Censuses are conducted to understand the population density, geographical distribution, as well as the makeup of the population in terms of age, sex, and race.

Iowa, with its present boundaries, officially achieved statehood in 1846. The 1856, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915 and 1925 state censuses are the only census records enumerated of all counties of the state.

The first Federal Iowa census records begin in 1840 and there has been one every ten years since. The censuses through 1940 are available to the public. These counted the population as of the following dates:

1790-1820: First Monday in August
1830-1900: June 1 (June 2 in 1890)
1910: April 15
1920: January 1
1930: April 1
1940: April 1

Online Iowa indexes and images

1900-1940

Online Federal and State Population Schedules of Iowa 
  Free Free at Some Libraries (usually with a library card)* Pay
Family
Search[1]
Internet Archive[2]  Misc.  Heritage Quest[3] Fold3[4] Ancestry FHL[5] Ancestry Library[5] Ancestry Home[5] Archives[6] Family Link[7]
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1900 indexes Link Soundex - Link - Link Link Link Link -
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1860-1895

Online Federal and State Population Schedules of Iowa 
  Free Free at Some Libraries (usually with a library card)* Pay
Family
Search[1]
Internet Archive[2]  Misc.  Heritage Quest[3] Fold3[4] Ancestry FHL[5] Ancestry Library[5] Ancestry Home[5] Archives[6] Family Link[7]
1895 State indexes - - - - - Link Link Link - -
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1885 State indexes - Link Link[8] - - Link Link Link - -
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1836-1856

Online Federal and State Population Schedules of Iowa 
  Free Free at Some Libraries (usually with a library card)* Pay
Family
Search[1]
Internet Archive[2]  Misc.  Heritage Quest[3] Fold3[4] Ancestry FHL[5] Ancestry Library[5] Ancestry Home[5] Archives[6] Family Link[7]
1856 State indexes - - Link[8] - - Link Link Link - -
images - - - - - Link Link Link - -
1854 State indexes - - - - - Link Link Link - -
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1836 Terr. indexes - - - - - Link Link Link - -
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  Family Search Internet Archive Misc.  Heritage Quest Fold3 Ancestry FHL  Ancestry Library  Ancestry Home Archives Family Link
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Federal population schedules

Many federal census records on microfilm are at the following archives:

Microfilm images

Federal Census Microfilms Available from the Family History Library
1940 N/A 1910 1870            
1930 1900 and Soundex 1860
1920 and Soundex 1880 and Soundex 1850
  1840


Federal Census Microfilms Available from the National Archives
1940 N/A 1910 T624  1870 M593        
1930 T626 1900 T623  Soundex T1045 1860 M653
1920 T625   Soundex M1561 1880 T9  Soundex T748 1850 M432
  1840 M704 

Indexes: fiche, film, or book

For a list of microform and book indexes for the population schedules of Iowa, click here

Federal non-population schedules

Online indexes and images

Online Federal Non-Population Schedules for Iowa

Free Free at Some Libraries (usually with library card) Pay
Year Type Record Search Davenport Publ. Libr. Census Bureau Google Book Heritage Quest Ancestry FHL Ancestry Library Ancestry Home
1880 Defective - - - - - Link Link Link
1880 Mortality Link Link[8] - - - Link Link Link
1870 Mortality Link Link[8] - - - Link Link Link
1860 Mortality Link Link[8] - - - Link Link Link
1850 Mortality Link Link[8] - - - Link Link Link
1840 Pensioners Link - BookLink BookLink - Link Link Link

Microfilm images

The State Historical Society (in Des Moines and Iowa City) and the Family History Library have copies of the mortality schedules.

Like the census, these records are arranged by county and then by town.

Indexes: fiche, film, or book

For a list of microform and book indexes for the non-population schedules of Iowa, click here.

State, territorial, and colonial censuses

Iowa took censuses in different years than the federal censuses. These censuses may have different data compared to federal censuses. Check these censuses for more information on a family.

Iowa state censuses are available at:

  • 1925 Statewide[11][12] Indexes exist for the following cities: Boone, Cedar Falls, Centerville, Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Council Bluffs, Dubuque, Ottumwa, Sioux City, Waterloo, Davenport, Des Moines, and Monroe County. Note that the 1925 census images available at Ancestry.com includes only the first page of the four pages of information.
  • 1915 Statewide, alphabetical by county[11][12]
  • 1905 Statewide[11][12]
  • 1897 (town of New Hampton, Chickasaw)[12]
  • 1896 (town of Oelwein, Fayette County)[12]
  • 1895 Statewide[11][12] including St. Francis Convent[13], and St. Mary's Orphan Home[14] in Dubuque County, and the Iowa Soldiers Home[15], Marshall County
  • 1893 (town of Mystic, Appanoose County, town of Hampton, Franklin County, town of Ames, Story County, town of Bloomfield, Davis County, town of Nevada, Story County, and town of West Union, Fayette County)[12]
  • 1892 (town of Carroll, Carroll County, town of Eagle Grove, Wright County, town of Estherville, Emmett County, town of Greene, Jefferson County, and town of Tama, Tama County)[12]
  • 1891 (town of Emmetsburg, Palo Alto County, town of Spencer, Clay County, town of Villisca, Montgomery County)[12]
  • 1889 (town of Cherokee, Cherokee County)[12]
  • 1888 (town of Algona, Kossuth County)[12]
  • 1885 Statewide[11][12] including College for the Blind[16], Vinton, Benton County
  • 1882 (town of Keokuk, Lee County)
  • 1881 (Mason City, Cerro Gordo County)[12]
  • 1859 Statewide[12][17] including Black Hawk, Buchanan, Carrol, Montgomery, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Pocahontas, Sac, Scott, Union, and Washington counties
  • 1856 Statewide[11][12][17], all 80 counties (except Warren) including Calhoun[18], Franklin[19], Hardin[20], Kossuth[21], and Story[22] counties
  • 1854 Statewide[11][12][17] 50 counties including Dallas[23], Henry[24], Story[25], and Wayne[26] counties
  • 1853 Warren County only[12][17][27]
  • 1852 Statewide[11][12][17][28][29] 39 counties including Appanoose[30] County
  • 1851 Statewide[11][12][17] including Cedar, Clinton, Decatur, Guthrie, Iowa, Johnson, Madison, Mahaska, Page, Pottawattamie, Poweshiek, Scott, and Washington counties
  • 1850 Van Buren County only[12]
  • 1849 Statewide[11][12][31] including Benton, Boone[32], Clinton, Jackson, Louisa, Madison, Poweshiek, Scott, Van Buren, and Washington counties
  • 1847 Statewide[11][12][31] including Clinton[33][34], Davis[35][36], Louisa, Marion[37], Scott, Van Buren[38], and Wapello[39] counties
  • 1846 Territory-wide[11][12][31] including Louisa[40][41], Polk, and Wapello[42] counties
  • 1844 Keokuk County only[11][12][31][43][44]
  • 1840 Territory[45]
  • 1838 (As part of Wisconsin Territory)[11][12][46] including Cedar, Clayton, Clinton, Johnson, Lee, Louisia, Muscatine, Slaughter, and Van Buren[47] counties
  • 1836 (As part of Wisconsin Territory)[11][48][49] including Dubuque[50] and Des Moines[51][12][52] counties

Census Substitutes

Existing and lost censuses

For a list of available and missing Iowa censuses, click here.

Why use a census?

A well-indexed census is one of the easiest ways to locate where an ancestor's family lived and when they lived there. You can also use censuses to follow the changes in a family over time, and identify neighbors. These and other clues provided by censuses are important because they help find additional kinds of records about the family.

More about censuses

Click here for additional details about how to use censuses, such as:

Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:

Sources and footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 FamilySearch, a free online service of the Family History Library, including free images of many federal censuses, including an index of the 1880 federal census of the United States; connected with 1880 census images provided by Ancestry.com, a subscription site.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Internet Archive, a free online service includes free images of most of the federal censuses.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 HeritageQuest has arranged with many subscribing public libraries in the United States to allow users free access on home computers by means of their personal library card numbers. HeritageQuest provides images of all surviving 1790 to 1930 federal censuses, and indexes to many but not all of them.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Fold3, formerly known as Footnote.com, a subscription site partnering with the National Archives and includes some federal censuses. Free access is available at many public libraries.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 Ancestry.com, a subscription site that provides online indexes and images to all surviving federal and many state census records, among other sources. They have three online editions: (1) an FHL edition free only at the Family History Library and a few Family History Centers, (2) a slightly smaller Library edition free only at some public libraries, and (3) a Home edition subscription service for individuals.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Archives.com, a subscription site that provides online indexes and images to all surviving federal census records, among other sources.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 FamilyLink.com, a subscription site that provides online images (and some indexes) to all surviving federal and many state census records, among other sources.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Indexes Scott County only.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 The 1925 Iowa census images available at Ancestry.com include only the first page of the four pages of information. For the full four pages see the microfilm images.
  10. When the 1840 Federal census was taken, Iowa Territory included all of present-day Iowa and parts of present-day North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. The white residents of what is now Pembina, North Dakota do not seem to appear on the Iowa census schedules.
  11. 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 11.11 11.12 11.13 11.14 Ann S. Lainhart, State Census Records (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992)[[FHL book 973 X2Lai]], 42-44.
  12. 12.00 12.01 12.02 12.03 12.04 12.05 12.06 12.07 12.08 12.09 12.10 12.11 12.12 12.13 12.14 12.15 12.16 12.17 12.18 12.19 12.20 12.21 12.22 12.23 12.24 12.25 Ancestry.com, "Iowa State Census Collection, 1836-1925" at http://search.ancestry.com/iexec/?htx=List&dbid=1084&offerid=0%3a7858%3a0 (accessed 3 April 2010), citing Carol L. Maki, and Michael John Neill, "Iowa," Red book : American state, county and town sources, 3rd ed., ed. Alice Eichholz (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004)[FHL Book 973 D27rb 2004].
  13. "1895 Census, St. Francis Convent, Dubuque City, Ward 5, Dubuque County" in Hawkeye Heritage 24 (1989): 26 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  14. "1895 Census, St. Mary's Orphan HOme, Dubuque City, Ward 5 Dubuque County" in Hawkeye Heritage 24 (1989): 27 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  15. "1895 State Census of Iowa Soldiers Home, Marshalltown, Marshall County" in Hawkeye Heritage 23 (1988): 205 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  16. "1885 Census, College for the Blind, Vinton, Benton County" in Hawkeye Heritage 24 (1989): 30 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 Ronald Vern Jackson, Iowa Census Records, 1851 to 1859 (North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems, 1981.) [FHL Book 977.7 X2i 1851–1859]. Also part of Ancestry.com.
  18. "1856 State Census, Calhoun County" in Hawkeye Heritage 5 (1970): 157 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  19. "Index to the 1856 Special State Census of Franklin County" in Hawkeye Heritage 22 (1987): 136 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  20. "Hardin County, 1856 State Census" in Hawkeye Heritage 3 (1968): 60 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  21. "Kossuth County, 1856 State Census" in Hawkeye Heritage 3 (1968): 43 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  22. "Index to the 1856 Census of Story County" in Hawkeye Heritage 13 (1978): 167 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  23. "1854 Special Census, Dallas County" in Hawkeye Heritage 2 (1967): 138 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  24. "1854 Special Census, Henry County" in Hawkeye Heritage 4 (1969): 108 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  25. "Census of 1854, Story County, Heads of Families" in Hawkeye Heritage 6 (1971): 144 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  26. "1854 Special Census of Wayne County" in Hawkeye Heritage 23 (1988): 155 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  27. "1853 Census Warren County" in Hawkeye Heritage 2 (1967): 81 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  28. Iowa, Census Board, 1852 census of various counties in Iowa (Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1978; Microfilm made from originals at the Iowa State Historical Department in Des Moines.) [FHL Film 1022204-205].
  29. Ronald Vern Jackson, Iowa 1852 (North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems, 1988.) [FHL Book 977.7 X22io 1852]. Also part of Ancestry.com.
  30. "1852 Census, Appanoose County" in Hawkeye Heritage 2 (1967): 13 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 Ronald Vern Jackson, Iowa census records, 1841–1849, 2 vols. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems, 1979, 1981.) [FHL Book 977.7 X22i 1841–1849; Fiche 6019963 vol. 1 only]. Also part of Ancestry.com.
  32. "1849 Boone County Census" in Hawkeye Heritage 1 (1966): 5 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  33. "Iowa State Census 1847, Clinton County" in Hawkeye Heritage 10 (1975): 114 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  34. "Iowa State Census 1847, Clinton County" in The American Genealogist 43 (1967): 59 [FHL Book 973 D25aga], as cited in Lainhart.
  35. "1847 State Census, Davis County" in Hawkeye Heritage 11 (1976): 18 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  36. "1847 Iowa State Census, Davis County" in The American Genealogist 42 (1966): 232 [FHL Book 973 D25aga], as cited in Lainhart.
  37. "1847 Special Census, Marion County" in Hawkeye Heritage 3 (1968): 60 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  38. "The 1847 Iowa Census - Van Buren County" in Hawkeye Heritage 1 (1966): 10 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  39. "Index, 1847 Census, Wapello County" in Hawkeye Heritage 2 (1967): 39 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  40. "Iowa Territory Census1846, Louisa County" in Hawkeye Heritage 9 (1974): 109 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  41. "Iowa Territorial Census 1846, Louisa County" in The American Genealogist 43 (1967): 111 [FHL Book 973 D25aga], as cited in Lainhart.
  42. "1846 Census, Wapello County" in Hawkeye Heritage 2 (1967): 32 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  43. "1844 Census of Iowa Territory, Keokuk County" in Hawkeye Heritage 10 (1975): 175 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  44. "1844 Census of Iowa Territory, Keokuk County" in The American Genealogist 42 (1966): 136 [FHL Book 973 D25aga], as cited in Lainhart.
  45. Ronald Vern Jackson, Iowa 1840 territorial census index (Salt Lake City, Utah : Accelerated Indexing Systems, c1979) [FHL Book 977.7 X22j 1840].
  46. Ronald Vern Jackson, W. David Samuelsen, Scott D. Rosenkilde, Iowa 1838 territorial census index (Bountiful, Utah : Accelerated Indexing Systems, c1984) [FHL Book 977.7 X22ji 1838 v. 2].
  47. "1838 Van Buren County Census" in Hawkeye Heritage 1 (1966): 6 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  48. Benjamin Franklin Shambaugh, First census of the original counties of Dubuque and Demoine (Iowa) taken in July, 1836 (Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1978; Microfilm of original published: Des Moines : Historical Department of Iowa, 1897-1898. 2 pts. in 1 v.) [FHL Film 1022202].
  49. Ronald Vern Jackson, Gary Ronald Teeples, David Schaefermeyer, Iowa 1836 territorial census index (Bountiful, Utah : Accelerated Indexing Systems, 1976) [FHL Book 977.7 X22j 1836].
  50. "1836 Census of Dubuque County" in Hawkeye Heritage 1 (1966): 60 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  51. "1836 Census of Desmoine County" in Hawkeye Heritage 1 (1966): 91 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.
  52. "1836 Census of Demoine County, The T's, U's, and V's" in Hawkeye Heritage 5 (1970): 7 [FHL Book 977.7 D25h; Film 928164 Items 2-4, or 893705, or 928349], as cited in Lainhart.





 

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  • This page was last modified on 25 July 2014, at 18:08.
  • This page has been accessed 49,254 times.