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Births, Deaths, Marriage - Vital Records
Vital Records

Vital records refer to Birth, Death, and Marriage records. Starting July 1, 1997, the Recorder also became the registrar of Vital Records. Births, Deaths, and Marriages that occur within Des Moines County are officially recorded in the Recorder's office.

Requesting a Certified Copy of a Vital Record

There are certain periods of time, or certain circumstances where these records are only available from the state. See the graph below to determine whether the record is held locally in Des Moines County, or whether you will need to request the record from the State of Iowa Department of Public Health.

Application to Search for an Iowa Vital Record form can be used for both State & Local requests for a certified copy of an Iowa Vital Record (Birth, Death or Marriage Certificate). Checks not acceptable at County level.

Vital Record

Time Period


Birth, Death, Marriage 1942-Current Des Moines County Recorder's Office
Birth, Death, Marriage 1921-1941 Iowa Department of Public Health
Birth & Death 1880-1920 Des Moines County Recorder's Office
Marriage 1835-1920 Des Moines County Recorder's Office
Birth to an unwed mother Prior to 1/1/1990 Iowa Department of Public Health
Birth to an unwed mother After 1/1/1990 Des Moines County Recorder's Office
Birth - Adoptions Prior to 1/1/1990 Iowa Department of Public Health
Birth - Adoptions After 1/1/1990 Des Moines  County Recorder's Office
Sealed by Court Order All Iowa Department of Public Health

Payment Options

If requesting a certified copy locally from Des Moines County, they only accept cash, credit card or money order. If requesting from the State, and mailing in the request, they only accept checks or money orders through the mail.

Certified copies cost $20.00 each. Only cash, credit card or money orders accepted by the Des Moines County Recorder's Office.

Proof of Entitlement

Only individuals who can prove entitlement can request certified copies of Vital Records. Individuals with entitlement would include:
  • The person named on the record (must be 18 or older)
  • Children (must be 18 or older)
  • Legal mother or father (named on the registrant's legal birth certificate)
  • Current legal spouse, brother, or sister (must be 18 or older)
  • Maternal or paternal grandparents (if father is named on the record)
  • Step-parent if married to the biological parent
  • Legal guardians or representatives (must provide proof of guardianship or representation)
  • Step-parent, step-grandparent(s), or step-children - a current legal marital relationship must exist between the step-parent and biological parent