State Historical Society of Iowa (SHSI)
The first is the State Historical Society of Iowa. If you have ancestors from who lived in Iowa, you will definitely find this repository helpful. The Society has two locations. One is located in Des Moines, Iowa and the other is in Iowa City. The State Archives is operated by the SHSI and houses many records commonly used by genealogists. Some of the microfilmed county records they maintain are:
• birth & death records
• marriage records
• county court records
• land deeds
• naturalization papers
• military records
• land office records
• homestead records
• census records
o U.S. Census records from 1840 through 1930
o Iowa state census records for 1856, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915 and 1925
o Special census records for 1838, 1844, 1846-1847, 1849, and 1851-1854.
o Mortality, agricultural, industrial, and social census records are available for selected years.
In addition to the above records this repository houses a variety of other useful items for family history researchers. They have a collection of books and periodicals that include:
• county histories
• biographies and memoirs
• plat maps
• city directories
• all of the journals published by the SHSI
• periodicals from many other societies
• Sanborn Fire Maps for several Iowa cities
They also have a valuable manuscript collection that contains personal papers, diaries, letters, scrapbooks and various other records and materials that have been donated to the Society. If you are looking for obituaries and other news items, the Society houses an excellent collection of many of the newspapers from each of the counties in Iowa. Another great benefit is that the Society also includes access to NewspaperArchive.com which is the premier website for online newspapers.
For more information, the hours of operation and directions to get there check out their website at: http://www.iowahistory.org/libraries/location-and-hours.html
Iowa Genealogical Society
Across the street from the State Historical Society is the Iowa Genealogical Society Library which has an excellent collection of materials to help you research your Iowa ancestors. Over time the members of this Society have built a collection of family history materials consisting of over 20,000 volumes of hard copy materials and 15,000 microforms focusing on Iowa, the United States and even materials for those whose ancestors came from abroad. The library is well equipped with plenty of work space and microfilm readers. If you want to use online subscription websites, the IGS has computers for accessing Ancestry.com. A more detailed description of their holdings can be found at this website:
The library is open during the winter at the following times:
Winter Hours: November 30, 2009 to March 31, 2010
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, & Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. AND Tuesday & Thursday 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.
If you are in the Des Moines area and interested in researching your family history you will want to plan your trip to have time to visit both of these great repositories.