Iowa Deaths - Why can't I find the record?
This page will give you additional guidance and resources to find death information for your ancestor. Use this page after first completing the death section of the Iowa Guided Research page.
Other records to search
Additional Databases and Online Resources
- 1862-2014: United States Social Security Death Index - at FamilySearch
- 1935-2014: U.S., Social Security Death Index - at Ancestry ($)
- 1936-2007: U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index - at Ancestry ($)
Additional Records with Death Information
Substitute records can contain information about more than one event, and are used when records for an event are not available. Because the substitute records may not be created at the time of the event, it may contain incorrect information. Search for as many substitute records as possible to corroborate information found in substitute records to help improve accuracy.
|Use these substitute records to locate death information about your ancestor:|
|Why to search the records|
|Tombstone inscriptions and records created when a deceased individual was interred in a cemetery.|
|Includes death and burial records. In order to access these records, researchers need to know the church their ancestor attended.|
|Contain obituaries. Before the 21st century, obituaries were mostly restricted to leading members of a community or for those who died in an unusual manner. While the majority of the population did not have their own obituaries, such records often give the individual's death date.|
|May include the name of a surviving spouse and family members|
|May include any death information for servicemen who died in service.|
|May include dates of death.|
Tips for finding deaths
Success with finding death records in online databases depends on a few key points:
- Your ancestor's name may misspelled. Try the following search tactics:
- Try different spelling variations of the first and last name of your ancestor.
- Try a given name search (leave out the last names)
- Expand the date range of the search.
- Try searching with the state name only instead of by county.
- If your ancestor's name is common, try adding more information to narrow the search.
Why the record may not exist
Known Record Gaps
- Death records begin in 1880.
Collection coverage tables show the places and time periods of original records published. Check the coverage table for the collections you searched which did not include your ancestor. Gaps in the online collection may require searches in other records or original birth records at an archive.
- County death holdings, Iowa
- Iowa Deaths and Burials, Coverage Table - FamilySearch Historical Records
The following counties had record loss. Click on the county for more information.