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Notes about this site's WPA records and data accuracy...

The data contained on this website was originally recorded by WPA (Works Progress Administration) workers during late 1930's. While the work done by the WPA workers was valuable -- it was incomplete and their accuracy did leave something to be desired.

  • Various sources were used by the WPA workers . . . courthouse records, newspaper obituaries etc.
  • Burial information for veterans seemed to be an emphasis. Many known burials were not included.
  • Some individuals listed have incorrectly spelled names.
  • Some individuals are NOT buried in the counties where recorded.

This free online database was created from multi-generation typed copies of the transcriptions created by the WPA workers; which made much of the data difficult to read clearly. For all the reasons stated above, a name not included does not mean the individual was not buried there.

However, for some of our ancestors this may be the only record of their death. Thus, we present this material to you, with some reservations, as originally recorded, blemishes and all. Check other sources if you can, and treat this data as a "lead" that needs further verification.

If you have verifiable information that adds to or corrects the stated WPA information . . . we encourage you to use our Post-em Notes tool to add your comments.

Counties Not Surveyed

Counties not indexed by the WPA Graves Registration Project, and thus not included in the database on this web site, include Appanoose, Benton, Cherokee, Clinton, Dallas, Des Moines, Dubuque, Hardin, Humboldt, Ida, Iowa, Jasper, Lyon, Monona, Osceola, Pottawattamie, and Warren.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a space reserved for Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers) about the WPA Graves Transcription Project. Feel free to Contact Us with any questions you may have.

Question: I know my great grandfather is buried in a cemetery you have listed. Why is he not included in your WPA database?

Answer: The WPA Graves Survey took place in the late 1930s so burials for only those who died up to that point are included in the database. More likely, however, they were just missed by the WPA workers. We actually don’t know very much about how they went about their work of recording this information but we know they unfortunately missed some individuals.

Question: My grandfather’s death date is listed incorrectly. Can you correct it to show his actual date of death which is . . . ?

Answer: Since this is literally a transcription of what the WPA workers recorded decades ago, we cannot change what they wrote down back in 1939. However, you can attach a “Post-em Note" to any record stating what the correct data should show for this individual. Click on the “Post-em Notes” tab at the top of this page for more information on how to use this feature.

Question: Why doesn't my "MC COMB" family show up? I know the WPA records should include them.

Answer: Be sure to check variant spellings. If you are looking for "MC COMB", be sure to also check "MCCOMB" without the space and visa versa. You should also try the "soundex" search option which involves selecting the "sounds like (soundex)" selection from the surname drop down menu rather that the default "begins with" option.

Project Coordinator - Rich Lowe
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