Family History Research

Are you interested in researching your “family roots” in Ireton?  The bad news is that very few “official” Iowa records of births, deaths and marriages are on the web.  The good news is that the Greater Sioux County Genealogical Society (GSCGS) and other groups have added a lot of other information that will help you in your search.  We’ve provided some tips and pointers below.  In addition, we are happy to help you in your search for Ireton area infomation, just contact the Ireton Area Historical Society (IAHS).

The Family Search website has an excellent summary of Vital Records in Iowa.  In Sioux County, you may request copies of birth/marriage/death records from the Sioux County recorder.  Information about requesting records available from the Iowa Department of Health may be found here. Information about Iowa adoption records may be found here.

Divorce records and probate records are kept in the office of the Clerk of Courts.  There is an online database for cases from September 2, 1997 and later; however all historical information must be obtained from the Clerk of Courts.  A search fee applies.  The Sioux County Clerk of Courts may be reached at:  712-737-2286.

Land ownership records are kept by the Sioux County recorder.  In addition, the Sioux County GenWeb project has placed some Atlas information on its site.  The IAHS has a number of atlases and similar information at the Ireton Museum so feel free to inquire.

The GSCGS has added some birth, marriage and death information to Sioux County’s portion of the IowaGenWeb site.  When searching for early marriage records, be sure to check the Plymouth County records on their GenWeb site — many early residents of the Ireton area went to Le Mars to get married.  You may also want to check the South Dakota Marriage Records database (especially helpful for marriages from 1905-1949) — many Ireton residents went to Hudson, Canton or Sioux Falls or to other areas of South Dakota to get married.

Sioux County GenWeb site:  The volunteers from the GSCGS have done an excellent job of adding a variety of information to this site.

Census Records:  To the best of our knowledge, there aren’t any “free” census records available on the web for the Ireton Area.  Larger public libraries and LDS family history centers may have the records available for free if you live in the vicinity of one of them.  The GSCGS maintains some microfilm census records at the Sioux Center public library.  To search online, you will probably need to subscribe to one of the paid genealogy sites.  The available census records that enumerated people living in the Ireton area (or what would become the Ireton vicinity) are the United States Federal Census for 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 and 1940.  (The 1890 census records for Iowa were part of the large batch of census records lost in a fire at the Commerce Department in 1921).  There are also Iowa census records for Sioux County from 1885, 1905, 1915 and 1925.  The 1925 census is particularly helpful to genealogists because it asked the names of the person’s parents (including mother’s maiden name).

Gravestones:  The IowaGenWeb project has developed the Iowa Gravestone Photo Project — an effort to photograph all of the gravestones in Iowa.  Gravestones in Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Ireton were last photographed in 2005; however, the IAHS has plans to update the photos in 2015 to add gravestones placed or changed after 2005.  Gravestones in St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery, Union Hill (Pleasant Prairie Cemetery) and Rock River Lutheran (Highland) Cemetery have also been photographed for the project.  In addition, some information may be available on Find-A-Grave.   Please note:  when searching for 2 part names (especially important when searching for Dutch ancestors), it is considered only one name in the Iowa Gravestones Photo Project — e.g. if you are searching for someone whose last name was Ten Napel, search under Ten Napel.

WPA Graves Registration Project:  About 1936, the Works Project Administration (WPA) created a registry of graves in existence at that time.  In addition to going through cemetery records, they also checked local newspapers for burial information.  Although not perfect, the graves information for Ireton is fairly complete (much better than for some other locales).

Obituaries:  The GSCGS has been working to add obituaries to the Sioux County GenWeb site.   For more recent obituaries, you may also want to check the websites of Porter Funeral Homes, the Hawarden Independent/Ireton Examiner and Sioux City Journal.(Other area newspapers may also carry obituary information.)

Digital Newspaper Archives:  The Sioux County Digital Archives (free but you choose user name and password) and the Plymouth County Digital Archives (use user name: plymouthcounty and password: archive) are an incredible source of information about people and events in the Ireton area.  Both are free.  You may use it to find an obituary that hasn’t been put on the GenWeb site or to find information about the ancestor’s day-to-day life.  For example, to find the obituary of Ireton pioneer Henry Kluter, I would first look in the Iowa Gravestone Photo Project and find that Mr. Kluter died in 1919, then I would enter “Henry Kluter” on the advanced search line entitled “with the exact phrase” and I would narrow the year to 1919.  After pressing search, various mentions of Henry Kluter would be listed and I could read his obituary in the July 10, 1919 Hawarden Independent — I can then save it to a file and clip the obituary in a photo program (or use the snipping tool available on some computers).  Please note that you sometimes have to play with the search mechanism — e.g. search by only last name, use various combinations of words, etc.  You can also limit the newspapers in which you search.  Unfortunately not all Ireton newspapers are in the database.  A fire about 1950 destroyed much of the morgue of the Ireton Ledger and only a limited selection of those papers is available.  The Ireton Booster (1952-1981) and Ireton Examiner (1981-1989) have not yet been added.  The IAHS has copies of all of the Boosters and of the missing Examiners and also has a collection of about 75 additional weeks of the Ledger from the World War 2 era.  We hope have them digitized and  added to the database in the future — as soon as time and funding permit.

Ireton: A Proud Heritage, 1882-1982: In honor of Ireton’s centennial in 1982, the IAHS compiled a 500+ page book regarding the history of the town of Ireton.  In addition to many photos and historical notes, it contains family histories submitted by residents in 1982.  The GSCGS has prepared an index to the book.  Although the Ireton Area Historical Society can’t scan the entire book, if you need limited pages from the book, please contact us and we’ll try to scan them for you.

Church Records:  Ireton churches are listed here. You will need to check with each church to determine their policies about reviewing records and about what those records contain.  In general, church records include family members, baptism/christening dates and sponsors, confirmation dates, marriage dates (and witnesses) and dates of death (some early records even include the cause of death).  Please note that early church records were often kept in a foreign language (e.g. German for some of the Lutheran records or Dutch for some of the Reformed Church records.) The IAHS has possession of the records of the United Presbyterian Church (1883-1920 — they are stored at the Ireton Museum).