Iowa Land Records is a website where you can search for and view Iowa real estate documents. It’s put together by the Iowa County Recorders Association.
In order to use the site you’ll need to register with a username and password. After logging in, select the Land Record Search link. The next page requires you to select the counties you’d like to search; it looks like this:
Select the county you want and then use the arrow key between the columns to move it to the “Selected Counties” column. To select all counties, click on the top one, hold the shift key down, and use the down arrow on the keyboard. When you’ve finished selecting the counties, hit the Continue Search button.
The next page is for defining the search. Most aspects here relate to locations of properties. There’s a personal name search near the top. That’s what I want to use.
Why not look up Terry Branstad? Searching by his name brings up 134 documents. What’s notable? 26 counties for one person is impressive. Also, there are 40 mortgages listed – can you imagine? Maybe you can.
Once you get the list of results, you can sort them by date, document type, county, and other items. Select an icon in the “Img” column to see a scanned image of the document. I looked up a few of Branstad’s mortgages and saw that they’re listed as post offices. That’s weird, I thought. Well, it turns out that Branstad has a thing for owning properties with post offices. Here’s a Gazette article about it.
There are practical reasons for using Iowa Land Records, I’m sure, but I recommend using it just for fun.