Tips for Genealogy Research Visits 
to Van Buren County Iowa

As Iowa was being settled in the early days of this state, Van Buren was one of it's most populous counties. Today, Van Buren county has only about 7,780 residents of which the county seat, Keosauqua, is the largest community with a population of just over 1,000 citizens. It is perhaps the most "laid back" county in the state without a single traffic light or fast-food restaurant within it's borders. Pioneers by the tens of thousands found their way through the area because of its plentiful timber, fertile land and it's proximity
to the Des Moines and Mississippi rivers. Some of Iowa's earliest, rich, pioneer history will be found here. Fortunately, due to the efforts of many great volunteers it remains rich in genealogical resources for those in search of their early Iowa ancestors. Should you choose to make a trip to do onsite research in Van Buren county, you will find many fine resources at your disposal and a great, relaxing area in which to spend a day or several days digging into your family's roots. The information below is intended to help you in planning your visit.
Keosauqua Public Library & Genealogy Society Collection

Most of the villages of Van Buren county have local town libraries. The amount of genealogy materials available will vary with the location. The extensive collection of the Van Buren County Genealogical Society is housed in the Keosauqua Public Library at the corner of  First & Van Buren streets, Keosauqua.  You will likely want this to be the focal point of your research visit due to the extensive resources available here. Because of the extended hours on Wednesday and Thursday, those two days often work out well. The library is equipped with a microfilm reader/printer, access to a photo copy machine and the Internet.
See Map

If you are going to be in Keosauqua searching for records of that elusive ancestor and feel you might need assistance, a group of Van Buren County Genealogical Society members may be able to help you. Call to let the library staff know when you are coming, and they'll do their best to have a volunteer available to help you. Phone number -- 319-293-3766.

Holdings Include:
  • Census Microfilm - Federal  & Iowa Beginning 1840
  • County Newspapers Microfilm - As early as 1850's
  • Marriage Records (Indexed)
  • Cemetery Records (Indexed)
  • Probate Index
  • Obituaries (Indexed)
  • Over 100 Family Histories
  • Diaries and Journals
  • Atlases and Plat-Township Books and Maps
  • Town and County Histories
  • And Much More!
  • Library Edition
  • Library Edition


Library Hours are:

Mon-Tue-Web-Fri: 1pm - 5pm
Wed. 1pm to 6:00pm
Saturday: 8am to 12pm
Sundays & Holidays: Closed

Call to confirm current hours:


Van Buren County Court House

Van Buren County CourthouseThe Van Buren county courthouse, constructed in 1840,  is located at 406 Dodge St., Keosauqua. Birth, Death, Marriage, Land, Probate and other records may be found here. Most all of it is indexed. The offices of the County Recorder and County Clerk are likely those where your time will be well spent. Office Hours are Mon. - Fri., 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. 
See Map
  • Birth Records from 1880
  • Death Records from 1880
  • Marriage Records from 1837
  • Land Records from 1837
  • Probate Records from 1837
  • Court Records from 1837

Van Buren county has more cemeteries than almost any other Iowa county with well over 100. (see maps and surname index) Many visitors are able to locate the burial places of their ancestors during visits to the area using the resources of both the Van Buren Co. GenWeb site and the Genealogy Library. Bring your camera to snap photos and then, add them to the Van Buren County Gravestone Photo database.



You will find a variety of lodging options available in Van Buren county. Visit the "Villages of Van Buren" Lodging web page for details. Lodging in closest proximity to the Keosauqua Library includes the Hotel Manning, Riverview Motor Inn, Riverfront Cabins, and the Lake Sugema Cabins. Though in Van Buren county, you are only minutes away no matter where you choose to stay. 


Other Points of Interest

You will find community web sites for a number of our villages that will tell you about what each community has to offer including much of a historical nature including museums and shopping, lodging and dining. See web sites for: 

Villages of Van Buren  Keosauqua  Farmington  Bonaparte  Cantril


Map of Keosauqua
Map of Van Buren County (large file)*

* Free Adobe Acrobat Reader Required
You're almost sure to have a productive and enjoyable visit to historic Van Buren county! We hope you find lots of valuable information. If you do find obituaries or information that could also be useful to others researching the same surnames, we encourage you to contribute them to our Message Boards. It's another wonderful way to make contact with others who may be able to help you . . . and you them. If you took Gravestone Photos, be sure to add them to our Gravestone Photo Project site as well. Thanks for visiting!

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