Cemetery tombstones, or sexton's records, may give birth and death dates, age at death, name of spouse, names of children, and maiden names. Less often, they contain birth places. Tombstones may have symbols or insignias indicating military service and social or religious affiliations. Also, family members may be buried in the same plot or nearby.
There are several major collections of Iowa cemetery records created by various organizations that transcribed tombstones and sexton’s records. Search each collection because no collection includes all the cemeteries, although there is some duplication. Some of the collections include the following:
Iowa. State Department of History and Archives. Iowa Cemetery and Grave Registration Project of the W.P.A. and D.A.R. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1978. (On 21 FHL films beginning with 1022211) This is the most comprehensive cemetery collection for Iowa. The records are listed by county and then alphabetically by the names of persons buried in that county.
Iowa. State Department of History and Archives. Iowa Cemeteries. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1978. (FHL films 1023603 items 6–13 to 1023609 items 1–10) These records were filmed at Des Moines, Iowa. The cemeteries are listed by county, starting with Adair County. The records give location, history, and a physical description of most cemeteries. Headstones are listed by rows.
Daughters of the American Revolution (Iowa). Iowa Genealogical Data. vols. 1–24, 41–62. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1971. (On 10 FHL films beginning with 851208 item 8) The DAR Library in Washington, D.C., contains Iowa volumes 1–24, 41–62. (For volumes 33–34, 36–39, see the collection below.) Most volumes are indexed. The State Historical Society of Iowa (see the address in "Archives and Libraries" section of this outline) has a collection of 85 DAR volumes. There is also a short guide indicating which volumes contain information about specific counties. (See the "Bible Records" section of this outline for the library call number of the guide.)
Daughters of the American Revolution (Iowa). Iowa Grave Records and Genealogical Data, 1800–1900. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1978. (On 4 FHL films beginning with 1023114 item 11) Information is by county. This set contains DAR volumes 1–4, 7, 9–10, 12–15, 33–34, 36–39, 41, 44–46, 49, 53, 56, and 80. Use this collection with the one above because many of the volumes missing here are in the above collection.
For Iowa soldiers who died in other states, see:
Iowa. War Records Survey. Graves Registration Division. Iowa Veterans Buried Out of State. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1978. (On 10 FHL films beginning with 1023908)
A project to locate all cemeteries in Iowa is published in:
Iowa Cemetery Locations: Regions 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 1, 2, and 5. 8 vols. Des Moines, Iowa: Iowa Genealogical Society, 1990. (FHL book 977.7 V3i) Each volume of this series covers one region and includes county maps showing cemetery locations. Many of the cemetery records listed have been published by the Iowa Genealogical Society and are available at the Family History Library.
Many cemetery records are published in periodicals. See the "Periodicals" section of this outline for indexes to major periodicals.
The Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog lists more of these records under:
IOWA - CEMETERIES
IOWA, [COUNTY] - CEMETERIES
IOWA, [COUNTY], [TOWN] - CEMETERIES