Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Iowa: Two Repositories You Must Check out!!

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

• yearbooks

• 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.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Nebraskans --- Your Archive is closed for Renovation!!

The state archive in Nebraska is the Nebraska State Historical Society, located in Lincoln, Nebraska. It is located at 1500 R Street on the University of Nebraska campus. The NSHS closed in January 2009 and was closed all year and is still closed as of the writing of this blog.

For more information check their website:


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Kansas Researchers - You won't want to miss the Kansas State Historical Society - State Archives and Library

For those of you with Kansas ancestors don’t overlook using the Kansas State Historical Society – State Archives and Library located in Topeka, Kansas. The address and business hours are shown below:
Address and Telephone Number:

6425 SW 6th Avenue

Topeka, Kansas 66615

Phone: 785-272-8681


9 to 4:30 Tuesdays through Saturdays; closed Sundays, Mondays and state holidays

Records at this repository:

This repository has an excellent collection of records. Some of the things they have archived there include:

County records on microfilm – This collection is varied for the different counties, depending on what each county has submitted. Some of the record types in this record group include, but are not limited to: marriage, naturalization, probate case files, wills, deeds, cemetery, school, poor house, civil and criminal court dockets and various other county government records.

Marriage records database 1854-1861

Newspapers from many counties and various time periods

City Directories and telephone books

Census records

Military records

Penitentiary records


Sanborn Fire Maps for Kansas towns

• Other – check out their website

This group is also very helpful and for some records you may borrow microfilmed records through interlibrary loan by contacting your local library. Don’t overlook this excellent repository for your Kansas research!

The Kansas State Historical Society also has other locations around the state with a variety of things on display about Kansas. Be sure to plan to visit the sites closest to your ancestors.

Note also located at this site is the Kansas Museum of History – Also a very interesting place to visit to learn in general what your Kansas ancestors life was like!! Plan to visit both when you are in Topeka.