The Office of the Iowa County Recorder was created by the First Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Iowa in 1839. Since the creation of the County Recorder's office, numerous additional responsibilities have been added over the years.
The County Recorder is responsible for land and records management, maintaining and recording a wide variety of official documents affecting real estate and numerous other valuable miscellaneous documents.
The office collects real estate transfer tax for the Iowa Department of Revenue and collects and reports the County Auditor's fee on transfer of property. The Recorder's office serves as
a licensing agent for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources by issuing fishing and hunting licenses, and registering and titling boats, snowmobiles and ATV's.
As of July, 1997 the Recorder's office is the County Registrar of Vital Records and has the responsibility of issuing Marriage Licenses, registering Birth, Death and Marriage Certificates and issuing certified copies of Vital Records.
The Recorder's duties are defined by state statutes and established by state agencies through administrative actions. The County Recorder works with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Revenue, Iowa Department of Public Health and the U.S.
Department of State Federal Passport Agency. Detailed reports are filed monthly and annually to the county and to the state agencies.
Recording Information and Fees
Madison County Recorder/Registrar charges the following amounts for services listed. *** Send a self-addressed stamped return envelope with all filings. *** Most documents are returned in 4 - 5 days.
Mail to and make checks payable to
Madison County Recorder 112 N John Wayne Dr. PO Box 152 Winterset, IA 50273
$7.00 for 1st page, plus $5.00 for each additional page
EXCEPT FOR THE FOLLOWING Plats of survey: $7.00 for 1st page, plus $5.00 for each additional page Documents that convey property: $7.00 for 1st page, plus $5.00 for each additional page, PLUS Auditor transfer fee of $5.00 for each township section or city block
Land Records & Records Management
The Madison County Recorder’s office maintains and records official records of documents affecting title to property and miscellaneous documents.
These records date back to 1838. Most recorded documents are public record and can
be viewed in-office.
Federal and State Tax Liens
Plats and Surveys
Section Corner Certificates
Military Service Records
28E & Drainage Agreements
Bills of Sale
Articles of Incorporation
Other Numerous Documents
The Iowa County Association of Recorders has a statewide website, titled Iowa County Land Record Information System or CLRIS. This website has indexing and images of recorded documents available for viewing.
The website is found at http://iowalandrecords.org. Businesses and individuals need to register as a public user before using the website.
The statewide Iowa County Land Record Information System (CLRIS) has the capability of accepting e-submission filings. These real estate documents are submitted over the Internet for official recording in a county in Iowa.
Attorneys, real estate agents, closing agents and other authorized parties can submit documents to a website for recording. Go to http://iowalandrecords.org portal for more information.
Document Formatting Standards
Documents signed on or after July 1, 2005, must meet the Document Formatting Standards pursuant to Iowa Code Chapter 331.606B. A $10.00 non-standard fee will be charged for all documents that do not conform to the requirements.
Requirements listed below:
The first page of each document shall have a top margin of at least three (3) inches
of vertical space from left to right which shall be reserved for the recorder's use. Pages must be printed on one side only and cannot be permanently bound or in a continuous form.
Preprinted text must be at least eight point and no more than 20 characters per inch. All other text must be at least ten point and no more than sixteen characters per inch. Document must be legible and reproducible. Document must be on white paper not less than twenty pound weight with no visible watermarks Document must be letter or legal size paper, no larger Document shall not have any attachment stapled, taped or otherwise affixed to any page. Signatures must be in dark black or dark blue ink and corresponding names shall be typed, printed or stamped below signatures. Margins shall be a minimum of ¾ of one inch. Embossed or inked stamps shall not cover or interfere with any part of the document First page must have top margin of three inches of vertical space from left to right reserved for the recorder’s use.
Each document shall have the following information on the first page below the 3-inch margin: The name, address, and phone number of the business and individual who prepared the document
A return name and complete address
The name and address of the taxpayer for any document of transfer
The title of the document
The names of all grantors and grantees
The legal description and parcel identification number, if required
*If insufficient space exists on the first page for all of the information previously described (above in 1-6), please reference on the first page, the page number where the information is located. Example: Legal Description - see page 5.
Fishing and Hunting
The Recorder’s office sells fishing, hunting, fur harvestor, deer and wild turkey licenses. Habitat, migratory bird and trout fees may be purchased as well.
Our office also has other special licenses available. For additional hunting information visit the Iowa Department of Natural Resources at http://iowadnr.gov or
The Madison County Recorder has the responsibility of registering and titling vessels of Madison County residents and non-residents if the vessel is principally used in Madison County. Boat registrations expire on April 30th, every three years starting in 2007.
Boat fees are based on the length of the boat. All boats 17 feet and longer require a title (except canoes and kayaks).
Items needed when transferring a boat:
Bill of Sale
Most recent registration (signature of seller required on backside of registration)
Title, if applicable (signature of seller required on backside of title)
Proof sales tax has been paid, if applicable
Application for Registration, Title and Security Interest
State Sales Tax Information and Out of State Use Tax Information:
Sales of boats in Iowa are subject to the state sales tax of 6 percent plus local option taxes, if any. This applies to sales by individuals and dealers.
Anyone purchasing a boat from an individual should obtain a receipt that shows the cost of the boat. The buyer will then pay the sales tax on the cost of the boat to the County Recorder.
If a trailer is purchased with the boat, the 5% motor vehicle use tax is paid to the County Treasurer. Out of state sales are subject to 6% use tax
For state boating law information, call the Iowa Department of Natural Resources at: (515) 725-8200 or click here to visit their website. For federal boating laws, call the U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Infoline at 1-800-368-5647.
The Madison County Recorder has the responsibility of registering and titling ATV’s, ORV's, ORM's, and snowmobiles of Madison County residents. The registrations expire on December 31st of each year. Titles are required on all ATV’s registered since January 2000 and on all snowmobiles registered since January 1998.
Items needed when transferring an ATV, ORV, ORM, or snowmobile:
Bill of Sale Title, if applicable (signature of seller required on backside of title) Proof sales tax has been paid, if applicable DNR application for Registration, Title and Security Interest ATV & Snowmobile Laws:
For more information about ATV, ORV, ORM, or Snowmobile Registrations and Titles, visit the Iowa Department of Natural Resources website or call the Iowa Department of Natural Resources at (515) 725-8200
You may apply for a Marriage License at any County Recorder’s office in Iowa as long as the ceremony is performed in Iowa. Marriage Applications are accepted in Madison County between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 4:30 P.M.
To apply for a Marriage License in the Recorder’s Office:
Party A, Party B, and one witness (must be 18 years or older) must appear in person, All three must present photo identification (driver’s license or government issued ID), $35.00 fee includes a certified copy of the Marriage Certificate.
There is a 3-day waiting period before the License is valid and the actual marriage may occur. This does NOT include the day the application is received for processing and will be delayed if there are errors on the application.
You must use the current form of Application for Marriage prescribed by the Iowa Department of Public Health. In order to receive the Application by email, you can either call our office at (515) 462-3771 or send us an email
You can also apply via regular mail by contacting our office for instructions. Otherwise, you must apply in person at the Recorder’s office.
You must retain an officiant and provide two witnesses for the marriage ceremony.
The ceremony must be performed in the state of Iowa.
Once the marriage has been performed and the Certificate of Marriage has been returned to the Recorder’s office and placed on record, a certified copy will be mailed to Party A or Party B. Either Party may use this certified copy for a name change on social security and driver’s license, etc.
Birth, Death, Marriage
Birth, Death, and Marriage Certificates
Iowa Vital Records are official registrations of births, deaths and marriages. Certified copies of Vital Records can be obtained from a County Recorder’s office or the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Statewide record searches are available from the Iowa Department of Public Health.
County Recorders file and maintain births and deaths that have occurred in that county and file and maintain marriages of the licenses that were applied for in that county. The fee at the county level is $15.00 for each certified copy. Entitlement has to be proven before a certified copy can be issued. Use the chart below to determine whether to apply at the county or state level for a certified copy.
Record Vital Records: 1880 -1920 Loaction Recorder's Office
RecordVital Records: 1921 - 1941 Location Iowa Department of Public Health
Record Vital Records: 1942 - Present Location Recorder's Office
Record Single-parent births before July 1, 1995 Location IA Department of Public Health
Record Single-parent births after July 1, 1995 Location Recorder's Office
Record Legal Name Changes Location Iowa Department of Public Health
Record Adoptions Location Iowa Department of Public Health
Click HERE to obtain an Application for Certified Copies.
To receive an application by email, you can either call our office at (515) 462-3771 or
Military discharge papers (DD 214’s) may be filed in the Madison County Recorder’s office.
An original or certified copy is needed for filing purposes.
If you wish to request a certified copyof a military discharge, please complete and return the application. This may be done in person or through the mail.
Please send a photo copy of your driver’s license if mailing. Entitlement has to be proven before a certified copy can be issued. There is no charge to record or obtain a certified copy of a military record.
Madison County Veterans AffairsM If enlisted from the state of Iowa: Iowa Commission of Veterans Affairs 7700 Northwest Beaver Dr., Building A6A Camp Dodge Johnston, IA 50131-1902 Phone: (515) 242-5331
Genealogy research is not performed by the Madison County Recorder’s office. However, this office has land and vital records that are open to the public.