Celebrate Family History Month With Research

A new database from the State Historical Society of Iowa features historic records, photos, documents and more. Photo: State Historical Society of Iowa

Writer: Michael Morain
Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs

Say, now, where did your great-great-grandmother grow up? And why did her sister move to Waterloo? And wasn’t she the one who made that rhubarb jam?

Every family has its mysteries. But now, some clues are easier to find.

Just in time for October, which is Family History Month, the State Historical Society of Iowa has unveiled a unified, user-friendly online catalog that provides greater access to more than 200 million pieces of Iowa history. That includes genealogical records, historical documents and artifacts, newspapers and images—available to anyone with an internet connection, anywhere in the world.

The new Iowa History Collections Catalog culminates a multiyear effort to increase public access to materials from the society’s museum, historical libraries, state archives and special collections.

“This is a breakthrough moment for public accessibility,” State Historical Society of Iowa Administrator Susan Kloewer says. “Thanks to the dedication of our staff, Iowans can now follow their curiosity and explore our state’s fascinating history more easily than ever before.”

By the way, a keyword search for “rhubarb” turns up eight results, including three tiny bottles of rhubarb extract and a memoir called “Growing Up With Pid, Bud, Boo, Rhubarb and Dump Nose: Life in a Small Midwestern Town.”

The possibilities are endless.

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