Records of vital statistics (births, marriages and deaths) are excellent sources of genealogical information. Prior to 1880, only marriages, which required a license, were recorded in public records, and then only at the county level. In 1880, legislation was passed creating the Iowa Department of Health and requiring all births, deaths, and marriages to be recorded at both the county and state levels. The State Historical Society of Iowa is in the process of making more of these records available online. Currently they have placed online death records for 87 counties with various dates for all of them which fall between 1917 and 1939.