Monday, January 27, 2014

Why Iowa is Special

Iowa was my home for a while.  I found it fascinating geographically, historically and genealogically.    I enjoyed looking at the fields of soybeans, changing to their golden color in the fall, farm yards with squealing pigs and rolling hills of terraced farming.  Often I would imagine how my ancestors (and yours) saw the land when they first arrived when Iowa was a territory and then a new state.  Unbroken ground ... a new life ... a challenging life.

Having spent so many years in Nebraska, I soon realized that things were a bit different in Iowa when doing research. Some courthouse records are referred to differently and some are the same.  Nebraska's recording of names of parents, including mother's maiden names, does not particularly hold true in Iowa.  You may luck out and find the names!  Naturally the records are older in Iowa than in Nebraska.

One major difference is in the census records.  Those records, although some are not completely extant, begin in 1836.  Iowa took state enumerations every few years, making it very easy to keep track of your Iowa ancestors.  Combine that with the federal census and you have a wonderful profile of your ancestor, including migrations and family additions or deaths.  The last census taken in Iowa was in 1925.  Because of the information contained in that census, it is extremely valuable to researchers. You are lucky if you can identify ancestors or relatives on that enumeration because it lists names of parents, including mother's maiden name, along with place of birth and marriage and ages if living.

These are just some of the items that you can read about in my new book, Iowa Genealogical Research.  The book contains 416 pages and is spiral bound.  It is a great reference book for anybody doing research in Iowa.  There are hundreds of URLs for Internet sites, along with addresses, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers.

This is the link to order the book online,

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