County Office Hours

M - F 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Drivers License Hours

M - F 8:00 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.

Public Health Services Hours

M - F 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Clerk of Court Hours

M W F 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
T Th 8:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Buena Vista County, Iowa - Beautiful View

Contact Recorder

Shari L. Willer O'Bannon

Deputy Recorder:
Jo Fitchett

Cindy Rodrigo

Sue Speers

BV County Recorder
215 E. 5th
P.O. Box 454
Storm Lake, Iowa 50588

P: (712) 213-7430

F: (712) 749-2708

M-F: 8 am - 4:30 pm

Vital Records Information

To Request a Search for an Iowa Birth, Death or Marriage Record for the Purpose of Obtaining a Certified Copy

In Iowa, official registration of births, deaths, and marriages began July 1, 1880. Original records that were registered are on file with the Iowa Department of Public Health, Bureau of Vital Records. Statewide record searches are available from the state registrar. Local vital records registrars are located in county recorders offices, where records of births and deaths that have occurred in that county are maintained. Marriage records are maintained in the county where the license to marry was obtained. County registrars are not authorized by law to have records of single-parent births prior to July 1, 1995; adoptions; delayed registrations; legal changes of name; fetal deaths (stillborns); any record ordered sealed by a court of law; or birth, death, and marriages between the years 1921 to 1941. Per Iowa law, information about a specific record is not available over the telephone or by prepared lists. Iowa law provides for public viewing in the county where the record is maintained, or certified copies issued to entitled persons.

Applications to search for a vital record event for the purpose of obtaining a certified copy must be in writing, completely identify the record, satisfactorily establish entitlement to the record being requested, and be accompanied by satisfactory photo identification. Entitled persons include the person named on the record or that persons spouse, children, legal parents, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, or legal representative or guardian. Legal guardians and representatives must also provide additional proof of guardianship or representation. Applicants must be 18 or older.

A $20 fee is required to search for a record and includes one certified copy. Each additional copy of the same record is also $20. If the record is not located, the applicant receives a notification to that affect. The $20 search fee is not refundable. Fees are payable in U.S. funds by check or money order to the issuing registrars office (i.e., Iowa Department of Public Health for state-certified, county recorders office for county-certified). 

Certified copies of birth, death, or marriage certificates may be obtained from the state office of vital records by telephone, in-person, or through a postal service. Fees are payable by check or money order made out to the Iowa Department of Public Health. In-person requests may also be paid in cash. Requests for the purpose of family history take at least 60 days due to the intensive search process. Other timelines vary depending on seasonal demands.

For general information, or to order a certified copy by telephone using a credit card, call 515-281-4944 from 7:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for state-observed holidays. An additional $9 fee is charged for the expedited process of credit card usage. Genealogy requests are not available through the credit card line because of the intensive search process. Turnaround time is usually 10 to 14 days, depending on seasonal demands and mail service.

Applications may be made in-person at the state vital records office between 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except for state-observed holidays. The office is located at the address listed below, just inside the main north lobby entrance and immediately to the right. The Lucas building is the first building east of the state Capitol building and south of Grand Avenue. Written applications must be satisfactorily completed and signed. Applicants must also provide photo identification. Copies may either be picked up after two days or mailed to an entitled person. Genealogy requests are not available for pickup within the normal turnaround time due to the intensive search process.

Postal service:
Written requests and fees may be mailed to the address below. Requests must state the relationship to the person named on the record and the purpose for the copy. Filled requests may take up to 30-45 days, depending on seasonal demands and mail service. Genealogy requests may take over 60 days due to the intensive search process. A clear photocopy of the applicants current government-issued photo identification must accompany the request.

Application for Vital Records

Iowa Department of Public Health
Bureau of Vital Records
Lucas State Office Building, 1st Floor
321 E. 12th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0075