Birth Death & Marriage Certificates / Certified Copies

To Request a Search for an Iowa Birth, Death, or Marriage Record for the Purpose of Obtaining a Certified Copy

In Iowa, official registration of births, deaths, and marriages began July 1, 1880. Original records that were registered are on file with the Iowa Department of Public Health, Bureau of Vital Records. Statewide record searches are available from the state registrar.

Marriage and death records that occurred in Iowa after 1954 and birth records that occurred after 1985 are on a statewide system and can be obtained at any Iowa county Recorder's Office.  Birth and death records that occurred before these dates must be obtained from the county in which the event occurred.  Marriage records before 1954 must be obtained from the county in which the license was obtained. 

County registrars are not authorized by law to have records of:

  • Any record ordered sealed by a court of law
  • Births, deaths, and marriages between the years 1921 and 1941
  • Delayed registrations
  • Fetal deaths (stillborns)
  • Legal changes of name
  • Single-parent births prior to January 1, 1985.

Per Iowa law, information about a specific record is not available over the telephone or by prepared lists. Iowa law provides for public viewing in the county where the record is maintained, or certified copies issued to entitled persons.

Application Process

Applications to search for a vital record event for the purpose of obtaining a certified copy must be in writing, completely identify the record, satisfactorily establish entitlement to the record being requested, and be accompanied by satisfactory photo identification. Entitled persons include the person named on the record or that persons spouse, children, legal parents, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, or legal representative or guardian. Legal guardians and representatives must also provide additional proof of guardianship or representation. Applicants must be 18 or older.

A $15 fee is required to search for a record and includes one certified copy. Each additional copy of the same record is also $15. If the record is not located, the applicant receives a notification to that affect. The $15 search fee is not refundable. Fees are payable in U.S. funds by check or money order to the issuing registrars office (i.e., Iowa Department of Public Health for state-certified, county recorders office for county-certified).

Records Requests

  • Request for certified birth, death, or marriage records
    • Use this form for birth, death, or marriage record if you know the record originated in Iowa.  If applying directly to the Story County Recorder, please MAIL completed original, notarized request form with a photo copy of your i.d. and $15 payable to the Story County Recorder. Our address is PO Box 55, Nevada IA  50201.