Iowa Record Selection Table
This table can help you decide which records to search. It is most helpful for research from 1800 to the present.
Step 1. In column 1 select a research goal. Choose an ancestor you would like to know more about. What new information would you like to learn about that person?
Step 2. In column 2 find the types of records most likely to have the information you need.
- Read the FamilySearch Wiki articles about those types of records. They explain what the records might tell you, how to search them, and how to find them in the Family History Library Catalog. Some records are not at the library.
- Records of previous research (such as Genealogy, Biography, History, Periodicals, and Societies) are useful for most goals but are not listed unless they are especially helpful.
Step 3. In column 3 find additional record types that may be useful. If you do not find the desired information see the United States Record Selection Table for more suggestions.
|1. If you need information about||2. Look first in||3. Then search|
|Adoptions||Probate Records, Court Records, Obituaries||Census, Societies, Church Records, Probate Records|
|Age||Census, Vital Records, Cemeteries||Military Records, Obituaries, Naturalization and Citizenship|
|Birth date||Vital Records, Church Records, Cemeteries||Bible Records, Obituaries, Military Records|
|Birth place||Vital Records, Church Records, Census||Obituaries, Genealogy, Military Records|
|Boundaries and origins||History, Maps||Gazetteers, Historical Geography|
|Children||Census, Probate Records, Obituaries, Genealogy||Bible Records, Vital Records, Church Records, Land and Property|
|City or parish of foreign birth||Vital Records, Naturalization and Citizenship||Obituaries, Church Records|
|Country of foreign birth||Census, Naturalization and Citizenship, Obituaries||Military Records, Vital Records, Church Records|
|Death information||Vital Records, Cemeteries, Probate Records||Bible Records, Church Records, Obituaries|
|Divorce||Court Records, Vital Records, Divorce Records||Newspapers|
|Ethnic background||Minorities, Native Races, Census||Societies, Church Records, Naturalization and Citizenship|
|Historical background||History, Periodicals, Biography||Minorities|
|Immigration date||Naturalization and Citizenship, Census, Emigration and Immigration||Newspapers, Obituaries, Genealogy|
|Living relatives||Genealogy, Directories, Obituaries||Census, Church Records, Probate Records|
|Maiden name||Vital Records, Church Records, Bible Records||Cemeteries, Military Records, Probate Records, Obituaries|
|Marriage information||Vital Records, Church Records, Census, Divorce Records||Bible Records, Cemeteries, Probate Records, Land and Property|
|Naturalization||Naturalization and Citizenship, Census||Obituaries, Land and Property (sometimes in homestead records)|
|Occupations||Census, Directories, Land and Property||Court Records, Obituaries, Military Records|
|Other family members||Census, Probate Records, Obituaries||Bible Records, Genealogy, Land and Property|
|Parents||Vital Records, Church Records, Census||Probate Records, Obituaries, Land and Property|
|Physical description||Military Records, Biography, Emigration and Immigration||Naturalization and Citizenship (after Sept. 1906), Vital Records, Genealogy|
|Place-finding aids||Gazetteers, Maps, Historical Geography||History, Periodicals|
|Places of residence / Place of residence when you know only the state||Census, Land and Property, GenealogyCensus (indexed), Genealogy, Military Records, Vital Records, and other records with a statewide index||Military Records, Obituaries, DirectoriesBiography, Probate Records, History, Obituaries, Directories|
|Previous research||Genealogy, Periodicals, Societies||History, Biography|
|Record-finding aids||Archives and Libraries||Periodicals|
|Religion||Church Records, Biography||Cemeteries, Obituaries|
|Social activities||History, Biography, Newspapers|