Palo Alto County, Iowa Genealogy

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United States Gotoarrow.png Iowa Gotoarrow.png Palo Alto County

Guide to Palo Alton County Iowa genealogy. Birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

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Online Records

Palo Alto County, Iowa
Map of Iowa highlighting Palo Alto County
Location in the state of Iowa
Map of the U.S. highlighting Iowa
Location of Iowa in the U.S.
Founded January 15, 1851
County Seat Emmetsburg

County Courthouse

Quick Facts

Parent County

1851 Palo Alto County was created 15 January 1851 from unorganized territory. It was attached to Boone and Webster Counties prior to organization 29 December 1858. County seat: Emmetsburg [1]

Boundary Changes

Record Loss


Populated Places

Neighboring Counties

Buena Vista | Clay | Dickinson | Emmet | Humboldt | Kossuth | Pocahontas




Most church records are held by individual churches. For contact information, check a phone directory, such as SearchBug or Dex Knows. Some denominations are gathering their records into a central repository. For more information about these major repositories, see Iowa Church Records.

  • Records of the American Lutheran Church, Palo Alto County, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at ($).



Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See Iowa Land and Property for additional information about early Iowa land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse, where records are currently housed.


Local histories are available for Palo Alto County, Iowa Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section Iowa Local Histories.





Wikipedia has more about this subject: List of online newspaper archives ($) has a large collection of digitized Iowa newspapers online. This database is sometimes free at libraries.


In most counties in Iowa, probate records have been kept by the county judge. They include wills, fee books, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, probate ticklers, and dockets. The records are available at the county courthouse.

The FamilySearch Catalog lists films of probate records. To find the records for this county, use the Place Search for Iowa - Palo Alto - Probate records.


Iowa tax records complement land records and can be used to supplement the years between censuses. Tax lists were usually made every year, however, there may be gaps of several years. For more information, see the wiki page Iowa Taxation.

Vital Records

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Iowa Department of Public Health or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred. See also How to order Iowa Vital Records or order electronically online.

Societies, Libraries and Museums

The county library is located in Emmetsburg. It has an on-line searchable newspaper system which is available in the library for research. Contact the library for availability of a user name and password to access the system outside the library.

They have indexed listing for interments in the local cemeteries,

Family History Centers

Web Sites


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).