I have quite a number of ancestors that lived in the Davenport area along the Mississippi River through the late 1800′s. About half of them have been really easy to find. The other half…
A very useful resource for researching in Iowa is the Graves Registration project. During the great depression there were many government work projects meant to get people back to work and the economy going again. While historians can debate whether this worked or not, the rest of us are left with a wonderful index of nearly every grave in Iowa. Before you despair that Ancestry has co-opted this source into a pay only database, here is the link where you can access all the info for free.
The WPA (Works Progress Administration) was created in 1935 and existed until 1943. It was one of FDR’s many ‘alphabet soup’ agencies designed to put people to work during the depression. One unit of the WPA was the Historical Records Survey. This group largely did work for the National Archives as well as some state archives. It is also the group responsible for the Iowa Graves Registration. Iowa graves were surveyed in the late 1930′s and since then that work has been indexed, microfilmed, and made available on the internet.
Iowa, of course, was not the only state where these grave surveys occurred. They were also done in South Dakota (discussed on Dear MYRTLE’s blog here), Kentucky, and Delaware just to name a few. The picture to the right is an example of the information your research might return. I especially like the ability to comment at the Iowa site. It gave me the opportunity to connect with a very distant cousin. What might you find? Try the Iowa site or check with your state USGenWeb project to see what other states also have these records.