Genealogy & Local History

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Researching at the Library

FDPL has a variety of resources available for individuals to use at the library. We have a microfilm reader/printer and microfilmed issues of the earliest Fort Dodge newspapers dating back to 1861, as well as issues of the Fort Dodge Messenger from 1872 to 2019.  We also have plat maps, city directories, yearbooks from Fort Dodge Senior High and St. Edmond Catholic High School, and indexes of marriages, births, baptisms, and local cemeteries.

Information Requests

Reference staff will only search for an obituary, marriage, birth announcement, or other event if a specific date (month and year) is supplied.  Staff members will research requests in the order they are received and as time permits. If you do not have a specific date or would like to receive this information more quickly, please contact one of the organizations listed below.


The Fort Dodge Public Library is home to both the Webster County Historical and Genealogical Society rooms. Both are volunteer run organizations and not always staffed during regular library hours.  The Library is also home to the office for the Karl King Municipal Band.

Webster County Genealogical Society

The Webster County Genealogical Society’s office is located in the Fort Dodge Public Library. They are open by appointment only. Society members will provide research services for a fee.  Please direct any questions for the Genealogical Society to them using the information provided below.


Webster County Genealogical Society
424 Central Avenue, Room 134
Fort Dodge, Iowa 50501

515-570-7840 |

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Webster County Historical Society

The Webster County Iowa Historical Society’s office is located in the Fort Dodge Public Library.  They currently do not have set office hours.  Please direct any questions for the Historical Society to them using the information provided below.


Webster County Historical Society
P.O. Box 543
Fort Dodge, Iowa 50501

515-570-7730 |

Karl L. King Municipal Band

The Karl King Band is Fort Dodge's municipal band. This ensemble provides a summer concert series in the Karl King Bandshell in beautiful Oleson Park and an indoor concert series held in the auditorium of Iowa Central Community College. These concerts are free to all, and are provided as a service by the City of Fort Dodge.

Karl L. King's distinguished career as a bandmaster, prolific composer and musician made him a legend in his own lifetime. Everyone has heard his Barnum and Bailey's Favorite which, along with the other 200 marches he composed, assured him the world-wide status of March King along with John Philip Sousa and Henry Fillmore.


For questions concerning band business, performance schedules, etc. call:

T.H. Hoefing, Band Manager, 712-469-2094

Jerrold P. Jimmerson, Band Director, 712-469-2797

Access to/viewing of archival and historical displays and materials is available by appointment only.  For more information call:

Nancy R. Olson, 515-570-3008

Researching Online

Ancestry Library Edition

Ancestry Library Edition logo

In-Library Use Only. Ancestry Library Edition covers the United States and the United Kingdom, including census, vital, church, court, and immigration records, as well as record collections from Canada and other areas.

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Digital Public Library of America logo

Making millions of materials from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions across the country available to all in a one-stop discovery experience.

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Fold3 logo

Provides access to military records from the US Civil War through the Vietnam War. Library card required for access.

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HeritageQuest logo

Find ancestors and relatives in the complete set of the U.S. Federal Census Records from 1790-1940. Also find information on people and places in over 25,000 family and local histories. Library card required for access.

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Local Newspaper Digital Archives

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Digital archives of newspapers from Fort Dodge and surrounding Webster county towns for the years 1856 to 1934. Years available depend on the newspaper.

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Niche Academy

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Tutorials, including short videos, show how to use many of our online resources. Also includes tutorials on computer, internet and social media basics, research essentials, job skills and resume writing, and CDC zombie preparedness information.

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State Historical Society of Iowa

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Numerous indexes, records, and publications from the State Historical Society of Iowa collections are available online. Through their partnerships, and with support from the State Library of Iowa, you can access digitized maps, publications, newspapers, vital records, and much more.

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