Anyone interested in learning about their ancestors should consider a visit to the Iowa Genealogical Society. The Des Moines-based office is home to thousands of volumes of valuable historical information about Iowa and Iowans. Barb Hug, president of the Iowa Genealogical Society, says solving mysteries is a wonderful challenge.
“It’s very much like being a detective, I call it the cold case files,” Hug says. “It’s just like putting pieces together.” October is Family History Month and the society is hosting an Open House and workshops on Saturday in addition to its annual conference next weekend, October 9th and 10th. Hug says more than one-thousand new resource volumes have been added to the library’s remarkable collection in the past year. While she says they aren’t a storehouse for old birth and death certificates, they can go one better.
“Over the years, a lot of the county genealogical societies have transcribed those records from the courthouses and have created books from those transcriptions,” Hug says. “We have most of those in our library as well as other states’ and other counties in other states.” In addition to being home to many actual volumes, detailing a host of census information for example, she says they can access a wealth of information online. They can also resort to using the microfilm readers.
“Cemetery records are very important for people when they’re studying genealogy because it often gives the birth and death dates and you also know where that person is buried,” Hug says. “Another thing that we have is many of the funeral home records from Polk County, so even if you don’t know where they’re buried, funeral home records can sometimes be of great value.” She says one of the society’s most valuable resources is the knowledgeable volunteers who will work with you one-on-one to uncover your family’s history. For more information, call (515) 276-0287 or visit the Iowa Genealogy Society website.