"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 Ancestry.com. "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.