The Madison County Courthouse holds official birth records from 1880 through June 1904, and July 1906 through current. Certain restrictions on release of data apply to the County Recorders. For more information on these restrictions, click here. The two years Jul 1904 to Jun 1906 are held by the Iowa Department of Public Health. In early 2017, some of these records were made available by the state and are being incorporated in the Birth List with the source being Iowa State Birth Record (ISBR). To request a birth certificate from the IDPH, click here

When the current County Coordinator took over this web site, the birth data contained about 8000 records with no sources listed. We are presently working on adding the source information and adding births from the newspapers. It is likely that there were between 30 and 40 thousand births during the period of county inception through 1900.

It must be noted that unless the source column indicates that it is an official County (MCBR) or State (IDCB & ISBR) birth record, the source data only confirms that the person was born in Madison County and does not verify the exact date.

MCBR - Madison County Birth Records: The recording of official birth records began in Jul 1880. The births were recorded in large books in the County Recorder's office. A separate book was used to record stillbirths which the state has sealed from access. There was no enforcement of birth registration and large numbers of births went unregistered in the 1800s and a significant number were not recorded all the way up to 1920.

IDCB - Iowa Delayed Certificate of Birth: For those folks who were not registered at birth (and there were many), Iowa would issue a delayed certificate of birth if applied for. Images of these documents recently (ca 2016) became available on line and are being incorporated in the Birth List as they are found. In processing these records, it appears that as often as not, the place of birth noted in the record is the Post Office and not necessarily the township or in some cases, the county where they were born. Quite a few IDCBs have been found where Earlham was listed as their place of birth when Dallas County was the reality. Also, some St. Charles births were in reality Warren County births. As much as possible, these births have been weeded out of the Madison County Birth List. Researchers should use caution when using the IDCB to verify place of birth and should do additional research where the birth appears to be close to the county line.

ISBR - Iowa State Birth Records: These records cover the two year period Jul 1904 - Jun 1906 when all births were to be recorded at the state level rather than at the county. Transcriptions of these documents were made available by the state in 2017 and are being incorporated in the Birth List. The exact nature of the data in the documents is unknown but the transcription does not provide the given name of the father nor the mother, only the mother's maiden name. The given names, where known, have been added in red font by the County Coordinator to make finding your ancestors easier.

Census - The 1885 and 1895 Iowa State Censuses recorded each persons county of birth if born in Iowa. For the most part, the enumerators did a good job of following the instructions. Unfortunately, for Madison County, several townships of the 1885 census were lost so that data is unavailable. Sometimes, but rarely, county of birth was recorded in the 1905 and/or 1915 state censuses. Any birth with "Census" in the source column has been verified in at least one of these four censuses as having been born in Madison County.

CMR - County Marriage Records: After Jul 1880, more extensive data was recorded in the county marriage records including place of birth. Many of these records contain county of birth and are used to source the place of birth in our Birth List if no other source is available.

Draft Registration: Some WWI draft registration forms and all WWII draft registration forms have place of birth listed on them and have been used to verify county of birth in our Birth List. Caution is advised because place of birth on these forms was often interpreted as nearest Post Office rather than actual county of birth and this could cause confusion if the person lived close to the county line and received mail through a P. O. in an adjacent county.

Newspapers: Many births that did not get registered were mentioned in the county's newspapers, almost universally without given name. Newspaper mentions of births have been used as sources for place of birth where no better source has been found.

Social Security Application:  Place of birth was a requirement on Social Security Applications and has been used as source data when no other is available.

Unverified: Despite all of the available ways to source birthplace, many births have been found to be unverifiable. Our Birth List includes persons whom, mostly through census data, appear to have been born in Madison County but no credible source has been found to confirm it.

Unverified (Cem): This category includes likely Madison County births where the person has no formal birth registration and was not alive when a census could have proved place of birth.

Maintained by the County Coordinator

This page was created 06  May 2008.
This page was last updated Friday, 17-Aug-2018 21:08:44 EDT .