We are fortunate to have the US Censuses, which were taken every 10 years starting in 1790, for our genealogy research. We are even more fortunate if our ancestors lived in a state at a time when the state conducted independent censuses typically in the years ending in “5,” i.e. 1905, 1915, 1925, 1935, etc. The information in the state censuses aren’t usually as detailed as the US Censuses; however, they are irreplaceable for locating a missing ancestor between US Censuses.
The 1925 Iowa State Census
With this knowledge as backdrop, I stopped dead in my tracks when I learned what the wonderful State of Iowa asked of its residents in 1925. On page one of each series of names you find the usual name, family members, relation to head of household, age, sex, marital status and by default the location. Really, pretty rich information for a state census.
Here’s Pietro Cervetti and his family in the 1925 Iowa State Census.
But lo and behold, if you turn the page there is more information on the family. There is a “Page Two” and sometimes a “Page Three” for each family surveyed in the census. Before you dismiss this as a head count of their cattle, which would be interesting but not worth getting too excited about, read on.
Page Two asks for “Place of Birth of Each Person Enumerated.” Okay, that’s nice. Then it asks for “Name, Place of Birth, Age, and Place of Marriage of Parents (of each person enumerated).” Wow. And the Census Takers said, “here, future genealogists, the gift of parental information all gift wrapped for you.” So, if you have ancestors, who lived in Iowa in 1925, go now – right now – to the 1925 Iowa State Census.
Here’s what you’ll find. Here is Page TWO for the same Pietro Cervetti.
We learn that he was from Italy, and we learn his parents’ names are Pacifico Cervetti (Pietro named a son after him.) and Julia Madici, both from Italy. In all honesty, this was already known information, but this is a second source and it is in writing. But wait! It gets better. Remember, the census asks for this information for every respondent. So Pietro Cervetti provided the same information for each of his children, which would reflect the birth origins of he and his wife. Pietro was very helpful in that he didn’t give just “Italy” as his birth origin and that of his wife. No, he gave the home towns!!! Pietro is from Corsica, and his wife, Julia is from “Franel.” If that’s not worth the price of admission, I don’t know what is.
Where IS This Golden Census?
The good news is that Ancestry (www.ancestry.com) has the 1925 Iowa State Census digitized and indexed. (The indexing is for page one only reflecting your ancestor and not his/her parents.) So you can either access this through a personal subscription or through a library or archive, which offers access for free.
If your ancestors either settled in or migrated through Iowa in the mid-1920s, I would strongly encourage you to check out this census. Further, if you’re like me and dutifully found your ancestor in the census and only found page one, go back. Find the census again and turn the page. It’s well worth your efforts.