Lee County government records research is different! Since you never know where you are going to find some of the records, this blog post contains the latest news!
I visited the Recorder’s Office in Fort Madison today, 5 March 2015. I had a nice conversation with the Recorder and an assistant. Today, land records (deeds, mortgages, etc.) were being unpacked from being moved to Fort Madison from Keokuk.
Back story: Because a common court house location for the county has never been resolved, Lee County has two court houses: one in Fort Madison (North Lee) and one in Keokuk (South Lee) for holding court and storing court records. In addition, at one time Lee County had two of every kind of county office, as well: Recorder’s office, Auditor’s office, Treasurer’s office, etc. In an effort to reduce this duplicity, resolution for the county offices has been a goal for several years.
My experience: I have researched in Lee County for at least 15 years. At first, I researched Vital Records, as well as Land Records at a county office building (not the official Court House) in Fort Madison since my family members lived in the northern part of Lee County. Then, about four years ago when I visited to check on some land records, I was sent to Keokuk to the office there; all land records for the entire county were then located in Keokuk.
Today: ALL Land records as well as ALL Vital Records (Births, Marriages and Deaths) for ALL of Lee County are located in the county office building in Fort Madison.
In the meantime, no change in court records as these are not under “county” jurisdiction. Court continues to be conducted at both Fort Madison and Keokuk and court records continue to be stored in those respective locations.
Word to the wise, i.e., genealogy researcher: call ahead before going on location to do research in Lee County. (Currently the phone number is 319-376-1790, but the website may be more helpful: http://www.leecounty.org, though I noticed tonight that the latest move has not been noted on the website yet.)