Vital Records


If you don't have the dates to begin your search, the Abstracted Names index from the Davenport Democrat and Leader may help. This set of books indexes births, marriages, divorces, deaths, and special events found in the newspaper from 1899 until 1946. The call number for these volumes is SC 977.769 Abs. There are also sets of indexes for marriage and death announcements covering 1950 to 1959. The call numbers for these resources are SC 977.769 Mar and SC 977.769 Obi..

Scott County Records in book form have a call number of SC 977.769 Sco, and usually have blue covers. These records have been photocopied directly from the microfilmed records, and are not as complete as the microfilms.

Please note that most of the birth and death records from 1904 - 1906 and all vital records from the early 1920s to the early 1940s were not required by law to be recorded at the county level. Except for a very few, these records were sent directly to the Vital Records bureau in Des Moines. While our library has recently acquired Scott County marriage records for this twenty-year gap, we do not have complete coverage for births and deaths.



Birth Records were not required in Scott County until 1880, and general compliance was not enforced until much later. However, the records that are available can give one much information, including the names of parents, maiden names, and birth order.

The Library has birth records from 1880-1911, 1918-1924, and 1941- October 1995 on microfilm, as well as a set of books copied from the microfilm. There are indexes before most sections in the microfilm, and separate microfilm rolls that index November 1976 to 1994. There is also an index in book form that covers the earliest records.

Please note that the birth records from May 1947 to December 1949 included the Social Security number of each parent. These rolls must be researched by a staff member only. Please ask for assistance at the Special Collections Desk.

Birth Returns are the documents that the medical attendant present at the birth was supposed to file with the county. This practice, too, was not well regulated. A Birth Return can give you the parents' place of birth, age and residence, as well as the maiden name of the mother, the father's occupation, and the name of the medical attendant. The Library has Birth Returns from 1880 to 1927 on microfilm. They are arranged alphabetically by the name of the child.



Marriage Applications (1869-1892) are affidavits that no legal reasons exist to prevent the marriage. Sometimes, if the bride were underage, a parent's signature of approval would be included. These were filmed in two sets, one alphabetically by the groom's name, and one by the maiden name of the bride.

Marriage Records run from 1838 to most of 1913, a portion of 1917-1926, and 1927 to August 1996. The Marriage Records are indexed in the beginning of each section of years in the microfilmed records, as well as on separate rolls from 1977-1994. There are also several printed indexes, which are usually cross-indexed by the name of the groom and the maiden name of the bride. They often give the date of the marriage and occasionally where and by whom the ceremony was performed.

The Marriage Register runs from 1880 until 1903. The information in the Register can include the full name of the groom and the bride, their ages, places of birth, number of marriages, fathers' names, and mothers' maiden names.

Marriage Certificates and License Application Returns (1836-1925, some to 1935) were microfilmed together, and are alphabetical by the groom's last name. Although the Certificates only give the date of the marriage, and the names of the bride and groom, the returns, if included, have all the data provided in the Records.

There is a printed reference to this source, which is arranged by the last name of the groom, with a list by the bride's maiden name in the back (Note: the page numbers in the bride's lists are occasionally off by more than 12 pages). This source gives the date of marriage, and sometimes notes the number of marriages the groom and bride have had.

Please note that an index for the Marriage Certificates and License Application Returns is available on our website here



Death Records (1880-1919 and 1921-1931, and July 1941-June 1996) are on microfilm. Records up to 1911 are also in book form with index. Microfilmed records are indexed at the beginning of most sections of the microfilm, or in separate rolls covering December 1975-April 1994.

Information in this source can include the date and place of death, the cause of death, the marital status and name of spouse, date and place of birth, occupation, father's name and place of birth, mother's maiden name and place of birth, the name of the informant, the place and date of burial, and the name of the undertaker.

Death Certificates (1880-1897, some portions missing) are arranged alphabetically by the first three letters of the deceased's last name. This source may give the date and detailed cause of death, the date and place of burial, age and occupation, nationality and place of birth years of residency in the county, the name and residence of the medical attendant, and the name of the undertaker.

If you do not know the date of death, there are resources that may help. Tombstone Records of Scott County (SC 977.769 Tom) is listed alphabetically by last name, and includes all the readable information (except for epitaphs) taken from the gravestones in the county, and where each stone was found.

If the deceased had a will probated in Scott County, the date of death might also be included in the Probate Records, along with other information.

Vital Records Information from some other Counties and States is also available. Please ask Special Collections, or check the catalog for further information.