The goal of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) National Graves Registration Project is to locate the final resting place of all Union Civil War Veterans.
You may visit the SUVCW National Database by clicking the link below:
Roy Linn, Department of Iowa Graves Registration Officer, along with his wife Linda, have been tirelessly working to locate the Final Post of all Union Veterans who lay beneath Iowa soil.
If you have a Civil War Ancestor who's grave is not registered on our database
or if you are the descendent of any Veteran who's grave is unmarked
Please contact Roy Linn
All known Civil War Graves in the following Counties have been added to the National SUVCW Grave Registration Database as of 8 Apr 2017:
Adair, Adams, Audubon, Black Hawk, Buena Vista, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Cherokee, Clay, Clinton, Davis, Des Moines, Dickinson, Emmet, Franklin, Grundy, Guthrie, Hardin, Harrison, Humboldt, Ida, Jefferson, Keokuk, Kossuth, Lyon, Madison, Marion, Mills, Monroe, Monona, O’Brien, Osceola, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Pocahontas, Ringgold, Sioux, Story, Tama, Taylor , Union, Van Buren, Wayne, Webster, Woodbury.
The numbers on the map indicate each county’s number of Civil War Veteran's Graves, which are listed on the SUVCW National Graves Registration Database as of April 8, 2017.
There are currently 31,277 Civil War Veterans buried in Iowa who are listed on the Graves Registration Database. This past year 3,024 new records were added. Searches in the Counties of Adair, Black Hawk, Clinton, Grundy, Jefferson, Keokuk, Union, and Van Buren were completed and placed on the SUVCW Database.
On March 3, 1873, Congress passed an act that allowed for all honorably discharged veterans of the Civil War to be buried in national military cemeteries. In February of 1879 Congress passed another act which stated that the government would erect the same gravestones for Union soldiers buried in private cemeteries as those buried in national cemeteries.
This database contains over 166,000 cards of headstone contracts provided by the government for deceased Union veterans. A few veterans of the War of 1812 are also included. Most soldiers included in this database died between ca. 1861 and ca. 1903, but the gravestones were erected between ca. 1879 and ca. 1903. The majority of the burials were in private cemeteries. These cemeteries were most likely located in the county of the soldier’s residence.
Cards are arranged alphabetically by surname, then given name. Cards may include the following information for each soldier:
courtesy of the Iowa Society of the Sons of the American Revolution
courtesy of the Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Iowa
* Iowa Codes *
CODE OF IOWA 1897
SEC. 433. Burial of indigent soldiers and sailors. The board of supervisors shall designate some suitable person in each township to cause to be decently interred the body of any honorably discharged soldier, sailor or marine who served in the army or navy of the United States during the late war, who may hereafter die without leaving sufficient means to defray the expenses of his funeral. Such burial shall not be made in any cemetery or burying-ground or part thereof used exclusively for the burial of the pauper dead. The expenses of such burial shall in no case exceed the sum of thirty-five dollars, and in case surviving relatives of the deceased shall desire to conduct the funeral, and are unable or unwilling to pay the charges therefor, they shall be permitted to do so, and the expenses shall be paid as herein provided. [20 G. A., ch. 178, § 1.]
SEC. 434. Graves to be marked. The grave of any deceased soldier, sailor or marine shall be marked by a headstone, showing his name and the organization to which he belonged or in which he served; and such headstone shall not cost more than the sum of fifteen dollars, and shall be of such design and material as may be approved by the board of supervisors. The expenses of such burial and headstone shall be paid by the county in which such person died. The board of supervisors of such county shall audit the account and pay the same in such manner as other claims are audited and paid. [Same, §§ 2, 3.]
35B.16A VETERANS’ GRAVE MARKERS.
A person commits a simple misdemeanor when the person takes possession or control of a VETERAN’S GRAVE MARKER which was provided pursuant to section 35B.16, with the intention to deprive the owner of the marker, regardless of the value of the marker. The person shall also be liable for reimbursement in an amount equal to three times the cost of the marker to be paid to the county commission of veteran affairs or other person who furnished the marker.
523I.316 (4). CONFISCATION AND RETURN OF MEMORIALS. A law enforcement officer having reason to believe that a memorial or memorialization (VETERANS GRAVE MARKER) is in the possession of a person without authorization or right to possess the memorial or memorialization may take possession of the memorial or memorialization from that person and turn it over to the officer’s law enforcement agency. If a law enforcement agency determines that a memorial or memorialization the agency has taken possession of rightfully belongs on an interment space, the agency shall return the memorial or memorialization to the interment space, or make arrangements with the person having jurisdiction over the interment space for its return.
CHAPTER 35B COUNTY COMMISSIONS OF VETERAN AFFAIRS
35B.16 MARKERS FOR GRAVES. The county commission of veteran affairs may furnish a suitable and appropriate metal marker for the grave of each veteran, as defined in section 35.1, who is buried within the limits of the county. The marker shall be placed at the individual’s grave to permanently mark and designate the grave for memorial purposes. The expenses shall be paid from any funds raised as provided in this chapter.
35B.16A VETERANS’ GRAVE MARKERS. A person commits a simple misdemeanor when the person takes possession or control of a VETERAN’S GRAVE MARKER which was provided pursuant to section 35B.16, with the intention to deprive the owner of the marker, regardless of the value of the marker. The person shall also be liable for reimbursement in an amount equal to three times the cost of the marker to be paid to the county commission of veteran affairs or other person who furnished the marker.
35B.17 MAINTENANCE OF GRAVES. The county boards of supervisors shall each year appropriate and pay to the owners of, or to the public board or officers having control of cemeteries within the state in which any such deceased service person is buried, a sum sufficient to pay for the care and maintenance of the lots on which they are buried in all cases in which provision for such care is not otherwise made, or may conclude their responsibility by paying a mutually agreed to fee for perpetual care when the cemetery authority has established a perpetual care fund for the cemetery, to be paid either as a lump sum, or in not to exceed five installments in a manner agreed to by the parties.
35B.19 BURIAL RECORDS. The county commission of veteran affairs shall be charged with securing the information requested by the department of veterans affairs of every person having a military service record and buried in that county. Such information shall be secured from the undertaker in charge of the burial and shall be transmitted by the undertaker to the commission of veteran affairs of the county where burial is made. This information shall be recorded alphabetically and by description of location in the cemetery where the veteran is buried. This recording shall conform to the directives of the department of veterans affairs and shall be kept in a book by the county commission.
523I.316 PROTECTION OF CEMETERIES AND BURIAL SITES.
1. Existence of cemetery or burial site -- notification. If a governmental subdivision is notified of the existence of a cemetery, or a marked burial site that is not located in a dedicated cemetery, within its jurisdiction and the cemetery or burial site is not otherwise provided for under this chapter, the governmental subdivision shall, as soon as is practicable, notify the owner of the land upon which the cemetery or burial site is located of the cemetery’s or burial site’s existence and location. The notification shall include an explanation of the provisions of this section. If there is a basis to believe that interment may have occurred more than one hundred fifty years earlier, the governmental subdivision shall also notify the state archaeologist.
2. Disturbance of interment spaces -- penalty. A person who knowingly and without authorization damages, defaces, destroys, or otherwise disturbs an interment space commits criminal mischief in the third degree. Criminal mischief in the third degree is anaggravated misdemeanor.
3. Duty to preserve and protect.
a. A governmental subdivision having a cemetery, or a burial site that is not located within a dedicated cemetery, within its jurisdiction, for which preservation is not otherwise provided, shall preserve and protect the cemetery or burial site as necessary to restore or maintain its physical integrity as a cemetery or burial site. The governmental subdivision may enter into a written agreement to delegate the responsibility for the preservation and protection of the cemetery or burial site to the owner of the property on which the cemetery or burial site is located or to a
public or private organization interested in historical preservation. The governmental subdivision shall not enter into an agreement with a public or private organization to preserve and protect the cemetery or burial site unless the property owner has been offered the opportunity to enter into such an agreement and has declined to do so.
b. A governmental subdivision is authorized to expend public funds, in any manner authorized by law, in connection with such a cemetery or burial site.
c. If a governmental subdivision proposes to enter into an agreement with a public or private organization pursuant to this subsection to preserve and protect a cemetery or burial site that is
located on property owned by another person within the jurisdictionof the governmental subdivision, the proposed agreement shall be written, and the governmental subdivision shall provide written notice by ordinary mail of the proposed agreement to the property owner at least fourteen days prior to the date of the meeting at which such proposed agreement will be authorized. The notice shall include the location of the cemetery or burial site and a copy of the proposed agreement, and explain that the property owner is required to permit members of the public or private organization reasonable ingress and egress for the purposes of preserving and protecting the cemetery or burial site pursuant to the proposed agreement. The notice shall also include the date, time, and place of the meeting and a statement that the property owner has a right to attend the meeting and to comment regarding the proposed agreement.
d. Subject to chapter 670, a governmental subdivision that enters into an agreement with a public or private organization pursuant to this subsection is liable for any personal injury or property damage that occurs in connection with the preservation or protection of the cemetery or burial site or access to the cemetery or burial site by the governmental subdivision or the public or private organization; For the purposes of this paragraph, “liable” means liability or every civil wrong which results in wrongful death or injury to a person or injury to property or injury to personal or property rights and includes but is not restricted to actions based upon negligence;error or omission; nuisance; breach of duty, whether statutory or other duty; or denial or impairment of any right under any constitutional provision, statute, or rule of law.
e. A property owner who is required to permit members of a public or private organization reasonable ingress and egress for the purpose of preserving or protecting a cemetery or burial site on that owner’s property and who acts in good faith and in a reasonable manner pursuant to this subsection is not liable for any personal injury or property damage that occurs in connection with the preservation or protection of the cemetery or burial site or access to the cemetery or burial site.
f. For the purposes of this subsection, reasonable ingress and egress to a cemetery or burial site shall include the following: (1) A member of a public or private organization that has entered
into a written agreement with the governmental subdivision who desires to visit such a cemetery or burial site shall give the property owner at least ten days’ written notice of the intended visit. (2) If the property owner cannot provide reasonable access to the cemetery or burial site on the desired date, the property owner shall provide reasonable alternative dates when the property owner can provide access to the member. (3) A property owner is not required to make any improvements to
that person’s property to satisfy the requirement to provide reasonable access to a cemetery or burial site pursuant to this subsection.
4. Confiscation and return of memorials. A law enforcement officer having reason to believe that a memorial or memorialization (VETERANS GRAVE MARKERS) is in the possession of a person without authorization or right to possess the memorial or memorialization may take possession of the memorial or memorialization from that person and turn it over to the officer’s law enforcement agency. If a law enforcement agency determines that a memorial or memorialization the agency has taken possession of rightfully belongs on an interment space, the agency shall return the memorial or memorialization to the interment space, or make arrangements with the person having jurisdiction over the interment space for its return.
5. Burial sites located on private property. If a person notifies a governmental subdivision that a burial site of the person’s relative is located on property owned by another person within the jurisdiction of the governmental subdivision, the governmental subdivision shall notify the property owner of the location of the burial site and that the property owner is required to permit the person reasonable ingress and egress for the purposes of visiting the burial site of the person’s relative.
6. Discovery of human remains. Any person discovering human remains shall notify the county or state medical examiner or a city, county, or state law enforcement agency as soon as is reasonably possible unless the person knows or has good reason to believe that such notice has already been given or the discovery occurs in a cemetery. If there is reason to believe that interment may have occurred more than one hundred fifty years earlier, the governmental subdivision notified shall also notify the state archaeologist. A person who does not provide notice required pursuant to this subsection commits a serious misdemeanor.
7. Adverse possession. A cemetery or a pioneer cemetery is exempt from seizure, appropriation, or acquisition of title under any claim of adverse possession, unless it is shown that all remains in the cemetery or pioneer cemetery have been disinterred and removed to another location.
37A.1 Veterans commemorative property — penalty.
1. For purposes of this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
a. “Department” means the Iowa department of veterans affairs.
b. “Veteran” means a deceased person who served in the armed forces of the United States
during a war in which the United States was engaged or served full-time in active duty in a
force of an organized state militia, excluding service in the national guard when in an inactive
c. “Veterans commemorative property” means any memorial as defined in section
523I.102, including a headstone, plaque, statue, urn, decoration, flag holder, badge, shield,
item of memorabilia, or other embellishment, that identifies or commemorates any veteran
or group of veterans, including any veterans organization or any military unit, company,
battalion, or division.
d. “Veterans organization” means the Grand Army of the Republic, SONS OF UNION VETERANS OF THE CIVIL WAR, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, United Spanish War Veterans, the Jewish War Veterans of the United States, Inc., the Catholic War Veterans, Inc., American Legion, American Veterans of World War II, Italian American War Veterans of the United States, Inc., or other corporation or association of veterans.
2. A person who owns or controls property where any veterans commemorative property
has been placed shall not sell, trade, or transfer any part of such veterans commemorative
property unless the department authorizes the person to do so. The department may
authorize the sale, trade, or transfer based upon the following criteria:
a. The veterans commemorative property is at reasonable risk of physically deteriorating
so that it will become unrecognizable as identifying or commemorating the veteran or group
of veterans originally identified or commemorated.
b. The veterans commemorative property is proposed to be sold, traded, or transferred
to a suitable person that will preserve the current condition of the veterans commemorative
property and place it in a suitable place that will commemorate the veteran or group of
c. The person needs to sell, trade, or transfer the veterans commemorative property to
ensure that sufficient funds are available to suitably maintain the cemetery where the veterans
commemorative property is placed, and the specific lot, plot, grave, burial place, niche, crypt,
or other place of interment of such veteran or group of veterans.
d. The veterans commemorative property that is to be sold, traded, or transferred will be
replaced at its original site by a fitting replacement commemorative property, monument, or
marker that appropriately identifies and commemorates the veteran or group of veterans.
e. If the person reasonably believes that the veterans commemorative property to be sold,
traded, or transferred was donated by a veterans organization, the veterans organization
consents to the sale, trade, or transfer of the veterans commemorative property.
f. If the person is not the owner of the veterans commemorative property that is to be sold,
traded, or transferred, the person is authorized by the owner of such veterans commemorative
property, or by operation of law other than this section, to sell, trade, or transfer the veterans
commemorative property and to retain and use the proceeds of the sale, trade, or transfer.
3. A person who engages in the sale, trade, or transfer of veterans commemorative
property without the authorization of the department pursuant to this section is guilty of a
4. The department may adopt rules in accordance with chapter 17A to administer this
2006 Acts, ch 1107, §2; 2008 Acts, ch 1067, §1
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA:
Section 1. Section 144.27, Code 2016, is amended to read as follows:
144.27 Funeral director’s duty.
1. The funeral director who first assumes custody of a dead body shall file the death certificate, obtain the personal data from the next of kin or the best qualified person or source available and obtain the medical certification of cause of death from the person responsible for completing the certification. When a person other than a funeral director assumes custody of a dead body, the person shall be responsible for carrying out the provisions of this section .
2. a. A funeral director responsible for filing a death certificate under this section may after a period of one hundred eighty days release to the Department of Veterans Affairs the name of a deceased person whose cremated remains are not claimed by a person authorized to control the decedent’s remains under section 144C.5, for the purposes of determining whether the deceased person is a veteran or dependent of a veteran and is eligible for inurnment at a national or state veterans cemetery. If obtained pursuant to subsection 1, the funeral director may also release to the Department of Veterans Affairs documents of identification, including but not limited to the social security number, military service number, and military separation or discharge documents, or such similar federal or state documents, of such a person.
b. If the Department of Veterans Affairs determines that the cremated remains of the deceased person are eligible for inurnment at a national or state veterans cemetery, the Department of Veterans Affairs shall notify the funeral director of the determination. If the cremated remains have not been claimed by a person authorized to control the decedent’s remains under section 144C.5 one hundred eighty days after the funeral director receives notice under this paragraph “b” , all rights to the cremated remains shall cease, and the funeral director shall transfer the cremated remains to an eligible veterans organization if the eligible veterans organization has secured arrangements for the inurnment of the cremated remains at a national or state veterans cemetery. For purposes of this subsection, an “eligible veterans organization” means a veterans service organization organized for the benefit of veterans and chartered by the United States Congress or a veterans remains organization exempt from federal income taxes under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that is recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs to inurn unclaimed cremated remains.
c. A funeral director providing information or transferring cremated remains shall be immune from criminal, civil, or other regulatory liability arising from any actions in accordance with this subsection. In addition, the Department of Veterans Affairs, a national or state veterans cemetery, and an eligible veterans organization shall be immune from criminal, civil, or other regulatory liability arising from any actions in accordance with this subsection. Such immunity shall not apply to acts or omissions constituting intentional misconduct.
Search for burial locations of veterans and their family members in VA National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, various other military and Department of Interior cemeteries, and for veterans buried in private cemeteries when the grave is marked with a government grave marker.
Evolution of the National Cemetery System 1865-1880
National Cemetery Dates Established and First Burials
Many older tombstones list age and date of death. This tool calculates birth date from the age of death and the date of death on
the tombstone, death certificate or obituary.
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