Polk County General Services

Archives

Central Services Archives: A place in which public records or historical documents are preserved

Records Management

Access to Public Records and Documents:

Responsibilities: It is the responsibility of the head of each county office or department to provide for the maintenance, protection, and security of public records and documents, and to assure compliance with all provisions of the Code of Iowa.

Procedures - Right to Examine Records: Every citizen has the right to examine all public records and to copy such records, and the news media may publish records unless a provision of the code expressly limits that right or requires certain public records to be kept secret or confidential.

  • All examination and copying of public records will be done under the supervision of the lawful custodian of the records or an authorized deputy.
  • The lawful custodian of the records or an authorized deputy may charge a reasonable fee to recover costs incurred for services including reproduction costs.

In accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure, a district court may grant an injunction restraining the examination (including copying) of a specific public record if the petition supported by affidavit shows and if the court finds that such examination would clearly not be in the public interest and would substantially and irreparably injure any person or persons.

Original records and documents will not be released from a county office or department unless so ordered by a court or by the lawful custodian of the records or an authorized deputy. A certified copy of a record or document will be retained by the department if the original record or document is released. Certain exceptions to this procedure may be authorized at the discretion of the office holder or department head.

Procedures – Confidential Records: The Code of Iowa stipulates that certain public records will be kept confidential unless otherwise ordered by a court or by the lawful custodian of the records or an authorized deputy.

The head of each office or department is responsible for noting applicable Code sections defining certain records as confidential.

In the event that records classified as confidential are released to a service bureau for microfilming, it is the responsibility of the lawful custodian of the records to assure that the service bureau implements appropriate measures to preserve the confidentiality of those records.

The Micrographics section of the Recorder’s Office is responsible for maintaining confidentiality of records which are in its custody during the microfilming process.

General Responsibilities - County Offices and Departments:

Responsibilities: It is the responsibility of the head of each office or department to establish and maintain a program for the economical and efficient management of its records in cooperation with the Director of the Department of General Services and the Records Management Division.

Procedures – Polk County Records Officers: The head of each office or department will designate an employee to function as Records Officer in addition to that person’s regularly assigned responsibilities.

  • The Records Officer will be a permanent, full-time employee knowledgeable in the overall programs and functions of that office and the related records required to document those programs and functions.
  • The Records Officer will be delegated the authority to act on behalf of the department head in routine decisions regarding the retention and disposition of that office’s records and files.

The Records Officer will maintain liaison with the Records Management Division of the Department of General Services.

  • At the time, a department Records Officer ceases to be employed in that capacity, the head of that office will designate another individual to act as the officer.
  • The Records Management Division of the General Services Department will maintain a current list of Records Officers and is to be notified by the department head when a new person is designated.

Polk County Archives contains records, as governed by the Code of Iowa, of various county offices.

Type of information:

Affidavits:

  • Index: 1907 – 1985

City Directories:

  • Des Moines: 1920 – 2002
  • Des Moines Suburban Area: 1963 – 2002
  • West Des Moines & Polk City: 1998 - 2002

Declaration of Value for property:

  • 2008/2009, 2009/2010, 2010/2011 – For other years, contact the County Assessor’s Office

Minutes of the Board of Supervisors

Miscellaneous:

  • Index: 1866 – 1906; 1915 – 1921
  • Records: 1864 – 1934

Mortgages and Deed (both Land and Lot)

  • Land Index: 1848 – May 1, 1952 – For more recent Indexes, contact the County Recorder’s Office.
  • Lot Index: 1851-July 24, 1959 - For more recent Indexes, contact the County Recorder's Office

Trade Names:

  • Index: 1925 - 1965

Transfer Fee Book:

  • 1952 – 1980

Vital Records:

  • Birth, Death & Marriage: Contact the County Recorder’s Office.

Contact Us

Polk County Administrative Building
111 Court Avenue Suite 365
Des Moines, Iowa 50309-2251
Phone: 515-286-3215