County Vital Records Requests

General Information

The Iowa State Board of Health was established on July 1, 1880. During that first meeting, they created an Iowa Vital Records system of birth, death, and marriage record keeping. At the time, registration responsibilities were not well defined, resulting in poor record keeping in some areas of the state. A few events, primarily marriages, were recorded in some counties prior to the 1880 date; however, little information is included on those records.

Per Iowa law, information about a specific record is not available over the telephone or by prepared lists. Iowa law provides for public viewing in the county where the record is maintained, or certified copies applied for in writing with the appropriate fee payment by entitled applicants and issued to entitled persons.


At both the county and state level, a $15 fee is charged upon application for each record search conducted, with a copy issued if one is found. If the record is not found, a record search letter, also called a no-record letter, will be provided. The $15 fee is not refundable.


All applications for certified copies of vital-record events must be in writing and must completely identify the record, as well as satisfactorily establish entitlement to the record being requested. To secure a copy of a record, applicants must have a direct and tangible interest in the record.

In other words, you must be the registrant (person named on record) or have a lineal blood relationship to the registrant, such as legal parent, grandparent, current spouse, brother, sister, child, legal guardian, or legal representative. Legal guardians and representatives must also provide additional proof of current guardianship or representation.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old. In addition, the requester must enclose a photocopy of his / her current driver's license or other government-issued photo identification. Certified copies marked for genealogical purposes may be obtained by persons of direct blood lineage to the registrant (i.e. aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, first and second cousins). At the county level only, records may be viewed by the general public.