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Iowa Public Records

Iowa Public RecordsThere are many records available for public perusal in Iowa. There are restrictions on accessing vital records, which include Iowa birth records, death and marriage records. However, these can easily be requested from the Department of Public Health, although County Recorders’ offices hold these records for the specific county. Iowa court records and divorce records are considered Iowa public records and can be easily searched online through the Iowa Courts website. Iowa court records can also be requested from the specific court that handled the case. In Iowa, the Division of Criminal Investigation offers public access to Iowa criminal records. If permission is granted from the subject, complete criminal records are returned versus just conviction information. To research historic Iowa public records, visit the State Historical Society Archives, which provides access to Iowa military records, vital and cemetery records and obituaries.

  • Iowa birth records, death and marriage records are released to authorized recipients through the Department of Public Health. Requests are accepted in person, by mail or phone.
  • Iowa divorce records and civil and criminal court records may be viewed online for free through the Iowa Courts website. Or, request court records in person from the specific court that handled the action.
  • Request Iowa criminal records from the Division of Criminal Investigation using the online search tool or by mail. This is a fee-based service.
  • View historic Iowa military records, cemetery records, vital record and obituaries through the State Historical Society Archives with locations in Iowa City and Des Moines. There is limited online access to some records.
  • About Iowa Public Records

    Iowa is mostly considered an open records state. Many records are open to the public as a result. However, Iowa birth records, death and marriage records are restricted to authorized recipients. These include the person of record, an immediate family member or someone with a legal interest. However, Iowa law releases these Iowa public records after 75 years. After this, anyone may request copies of vital records. Although Iowa started recording vital records on a state level in 1880, earlier Iowa public records may be available through the local County Recorder where the event occurred.

    Iowa divorce records are not restricted and are not counted as vital records. This means that anyone may view divorce records, although these are maintained solely by the court that handled the case. No state repository exists for reporting Iowa divorces. However, the Iowa Courts website offers an online search tool that enables you to search across the state for divorce records.

    Accessing Iowa Online Public Records

    The Iowa Courts website, as mentioned above, provides a public access tool that gives online access to many state court records. This includes Iowa civil court records, criminal court records and divorce records. All counties report to this online web portal, although court records do not go back indefinitely. If an older Iowa court record isn’t featured online, you will need to contact the court that handled the case to obtain records. These Iowa online public records are free to access, making this an invaluable tool for researchers.

    Although the Division of Criminal Investigation offers an online tool that enables anyone to perform a name-based search for Iowa criminal records, there is a fee for this service, and only conviction records are returned. A search for criminal court records can be performed through the Iowa Courts website for free statewide, and pending and open actions will be returned, which wouldn’t turn up in an official criminal records search because there was no disposition.

    Performing a Public Records Search in Iowa

    The Iowa State Historical Society houses its vast collection of historic records in two locations. These libraries, one in Des Moines and the other in Iowa City, are open to the public. Included in their collection are Iowa vital records, military and cemetery records and obituaries from indexed newspapers. A public records search of Iowa history can be made online by county. The Historical Society offers a map of Iowa divided into counties. Simply click on the desired county, and view a list of the various types of records specifically available for that county. An Iowa public records search will also yield online access to a variety of World War II Iowa military records. There is no fee to research at either library.



     
    State of Iowa Resources & Statistics
    Separator Line

    Population:
    3,555,002

     
    Under 18:
    711,403

     
    Over 65:
    438,448

     
    Employed:
    2,293,027

     
    Land in Square Miles:
    55,869.36

     
    Acres of Farms:
    31,490,729

     
    Births:
    39,311

     
    Deaths:
    27,811

     
    Infant Deaths:
    119

     
     
    Murder:
    76

     
    Forcible Rape:
    888

     
    Robbery:
    1,248

     
    Assault:
    6,308

     
    Total Violent Crime:
    8,520

     
    Burglary:
    16,450

     
    Larceny \ Theft:
    51,907

     
    Motor Vehicle Theft:
    4,332

     
    Total Property Crime:
    72,689

     
    Iowa Public Records Locations
    Department of Transportation
    Office of Driver Services
    PO Box 9204
    Des Moines, IA 50306-9204
    Phone:
    515-244-9124

     
    800-532-1121

    Fax:
    515-239-1837










    Attorney General's Office
    Hoover Bldg
    1305 E Walnut St
    Des Moines, IA 50319
     
    515-281-8373

    Fax:
    515-281-4209










     
    Iowa Department of Public Health
    Bureau of Vital Records
    321 E 12th St, Lucas Bldg
    Des Moines, IA 50319-0075
    Phone:
    515-281-4944

    Fax:
    515-281-0479










    Secretary of State - Business Services Div
    321 E 12th Street
    1st Floor, Lucas Bldg
    Des Moines, IA 50319
    Phone:
    515-281-5204

    Fax:
    515-242-5953










     
    DPS - Division of Criminal Investigations
    Records Unit
    215 E 7th St
    Des Moines, IA 50319
    Fax:
    515-725-6073

    Records:
    515-725-6066










    Iowa Department of Public Health
    Bureau of Vital Records
    321 E 12th St, Lucas Bldg
    Des Moines, IA 50319-0075
    Phone:
    515-281-4944

    Fax:
    515-281-0479










     
    Department of Transportation
    Driver Service Records Section
    PO Box 9204
    Des Moines, IA 50306-9204
    Phone:
    515-244-9124

    Fax:
    515-237-3152










    Department of Education
    GED Records
    Grimes State Office Building
    Des Moines, IA 50319-0146
    Phone:
    515-281-7308

     
    515-281-3640

    Fax:
    515-281-6544










     
    Office of the Governor
    State Capitol Bldg
    Des Moines, IA 50319
    Phone:
    515-281-5211

    Fax:
    515-281-6611










    Department of Natural Resources
    Wallace Building
    502 E 9th Street
    Des Moines, IA 50319-0034
    Phone:
    515-242-5918

    Fax:
    515-281-8895










     
    Iowa Department of Corrections
    510 E 12th Street
    Des Moines, IA 50319
    Phone:
    515-725-5701

    Fax:
    515-725-5799










    Iowa General Assembly
    Legislative Information Office G-16
    State Capitol
    Des Moines, IA 50319
    Phone:
    515-281-5129

    Fax:
    515-281-8027










     
    Iowa Department of Public Health
    Bureau of Vital Records
    321 E 12th St, Lucas Bldg
    Des Moines, IA 50319-0075
    Phone:
    515-281-4944

    Fax:
    515-281-0479










    Division of Criminal Investigations
    SOR Unit -
    215 East 7th St
    Des Moines, IA 50319-0041
    Phone:
    515-725-6050

    Fax:
    515-725-6040










     
    State Historical Society of Iowa
    Library/Archives
    600 E. Locust
    Des Moines, IA 50319-0290
    Phone:
    515-281-5111

    Fax:
    515-282-0502










    Clerk of Supreme Court
    Judicial Branch Bldg
    111 East Court Ave
    Des Moines, IA 50319
    Fax:
    515-242-0014










     
    UCC Division - Sec of State
    321 E 12th Street
    1st Floor, Lucas Bldg
    Des Moines, IA 50319
    Phone:
    515-281-5204

    Fax:
    515-242-5953










    Department of Transportation
    Office of Vehicle Services
    PO Box 9278
    Des Moines, IA 50306-9278
    Phone:
    515-237-3148

     
    515-237-3049

    Fax:
    515-237-3056










     
    Secretary of State - Voter Registration
    Lucas Building, 1st Floor
    321 E. 12th St.
    Des Moines, IA 50319
    Phone:
    515-281-0145

    Fax:
    515-281-7142










     
    Iowa Workforce Development
    Division of Workers' Compensation
    1000 E Grand Ave
    Des Moines, IA 50319
    Phone:
    515-281-5387

    Fax:
    515-281-6501