Webster County Recorder
Registrar of Vital Statistics


701 Central Avenue
Fort Dodge, IA  50501
Phone: 515-576-2401
Fax: 515-574-3723
Located on 2nd Floor – Courthouse
Hours: 8:00am–4:30pm Monday-Friday
Real Estate Recording Cutoff: 3:00 p.m.
Email: recorder@webstercountyia.org

Beginning January 1, 2014, the fee for certified copies of birth, death, and marriage records will increase to $20.00




First Deputy Shelly Hearn
Clerk Colleen Nahnsen
Clerk Courtney Bender
Clerk Paige Workman

Iowa Land Records

Link to Iowa Land Records Search
Recorded documents are available for viewing by clicking this link to the
Iowa Land Records Search


The County Recorder processes valuable information concerning Lands and Records Management, Licenses, Registrations, Applications, and Vital Statistics.  The charts below list the various functions of the County Recorder. Click on the links for more information.

Lands and Records Management
Deeds Contracts Mortgages
Plats and Surveys Assignments and Releases Trade Names
Easements Land Corner Certificates Affidavits
Power of Attorney State and Federal Tax Liens Military Service Records
Condemnations Leases Drainage Agreements
Bills of Sale Articles of Incorporation Farm Names
Real Estate Transfer Declaration of Value UCC Filings-Real Estate only
  Groundwater Hazard  


Licences, Registrations, Applications
Boat Registrations/Title/Liens Hunting and fishing licenses
Snowmobile Registrations/Titles/Liens Fur harvester licenses
ATV Registrations/Titles/Liens Trout, duck, and habitat stamps
  Wild turkey licenses


Vital Statistics
Birth Certificates Death Certificates Marriage Certificates

Other responsibilities of the Recorder are:

  • Collect real estate transfer tax on conveyances of property, a portion of which is retained in the county's general fund.
  • Perform federal and state tax lien searches and research of current records for the public.
  • Certify Recorder's records.
  • Make records available for genealogy research.
  • File detailed reports monthly and annually to the county and to state agencies.

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Lands and Records Management

The above listed documents are recorded in the Webster County Recorder's Office.  Recording fees are $5.00 per page and $1.00 per document records management fee; plus $1.00 per document E-commerce fee.  Deeds require a $5.00 auditor's transfer fee for each parcel transferred (block or section). Click here for Fee Schedule.

All documents must meet Document Formatting Standards. Click here to view the Document Formatting Standards.

Certified copies of these documents may be obtained a $5.00 certification fee plus $1.00 per page with the exception of Military Records for which there is no charge.

Documentary Revenue (Real Estate Transfer Tax)

With most deeds recorded, a real estate transfer tax of $1.60 per thousand dollars of consideration is collected (first $500 exempt).  Transfer tax charts are available by clicking here or a transfer tax calculator page is available by clicking here.

State and Federal Liens

State and Federal tax liens are recorded in the real estate records.  Searches can be conducted and certificates can be issued regarding the findings ($6.00 per certification).  Copies of State tax liens are 50 cents each, copies of Federal tax liens are $5.00 each.

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Real Estate Transfers

Declaration of Value

Iowa law requires that a "Declaration of Value" statement reflecting the full consideration paid in certain nonexempt real estate conveyances be submitted to the county recorder at the time a deed, contract, instrument, or other writing is presented for recording.  Click here to download the Real Estate Transfer - Declaration of Value form.

Groundwater Hazard Statement

To satisfy legal requirements for filing instrument of conveyance of real property with the county recorder according to Iowa Code Section 558.69, a Groundwater Hazard Statement must be completed.

Click here to download Instructions for completing the Groundwater Hazard Statement.

Click here to download the Groundwater Hazard Statement.

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Vital Statistics

Certified copies of birth, death, and marriage certificates are available at a fee of $20.00 each (cashier's check, money order, or cash - NO personal checks).  Those requesting certified copies must prove entitlement before acquiring the copy.  A photo I.D. of the person requesting the record must be presented to receive a copy. 

In Iowa, official registration of births, deaths, and marriages began July 1, 1880.  Original records that were registered are on file with the Iowa Department of Public Health, Bureau of Vital Records.  Statewide record searches are available from the state registrar.  Local vital records registrars are located in county recorders' offices where records of births and deaths that have occurred in that county are maintained.  Marriage records are maintained in the county where the license to marry was obtained. 

State records may be obtained at Iowa Department of Public Health, Bureau of Vital Records, Lucas State Office Bldg, 1st Floor, 321 E 12th Street, Des Moines, IA  50319-0075  (515) 281-4944.

Applications to search for a vital record event for the purpose of obtaining a certified copy must be in writing, completely identify the record, satisfactorily establish entitlement to the record being requested, and be accompanied by satisfactory photo identification.  Entitled persons include the person named on the record or that person's spouse, children, legal parents, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, or legal representative or guardian.  Legal guardians and representatives must also provide additional proof of guardianship or representation.  Applicants must be 18 or older.

Application forms for a certified copy of a vital record from Webster County or the State of Iowa may be downloaded for printing by clicking here.  Download Application for Certified Copy of an Iowa Vital Record.

A $20 fee is required to search for a record and includes one certified copy.  Each additional copy of the same record is also $20.  If the record is not located, the applicant receives a notification to that affect.  The $20 search fee is not refundable.  Fees are payable in U.S. funds by check or money order to the issuing registrar's office (i.e., Iowa Department of Public Health for state-certified, county record's office for county-certified).

Marriage Applications and Licenses

Marriage license applications may be completed in person with an uninterested third party as a witness.  There is a three business day waiting period from the time the application is completed to the time the license is valid (Holidays not included).  Marriage application fee is $35.00.  Parties need to have a photo I.D. and the witness must be at least 18 years of age.

More information about applying for a marriage license in Iowa may be downloaded for printing by clicking here.  Information about Application for Marriage License in Iowa.

The application form for a marriage license in Iowa, including detailed instructions for completing the application, may be viewed and/or downloaded by clicking this link.  Download Marriage License Application and Instructions.

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Boat Registrations and Titles

Boats are registered for a 3-year period.  The current registrations will expire April 30, 2019. RenewaBoat Imagel fees are based on the length of the boat.  A penalty of $5.00 is applied to any registration that is not renewed by the expiration date.  For current fees, contact the Recorder's office at (515) 576-2401 or recorder@webstercountyia.org

Boat titles are currently issued for boats 17 feet in length or longer, except canoes.  In addition, financial institutions can require titles for boats less than 17 feet long in order to put a lien on the title.  The boat title fee is $12.75 with an additional $12.75 fee for titles with liens.

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ATV and Snowmobile Registrations

Snowmobile Sign ImageThese registrations expire December 31 of each year.  A yearly registration is $17.75.  A penalty of $5.00 is applied to any registration that is not renewed by the expiration date.

Effective January 1, 1998, titles are required on all new and transferred snowmobiles.  Effective January 1, 2000, titles are required on all new and transferred All Terrain Vehicles.  Dirt bikes are considered ATV's.  Snowmobile and ATV title fees are $11.50 and lien fees of $11.50 are applicable.

Download an Application Form for ATV/Snowmobile/Boat Registrations (pdf format)

View Ordinance 51 Regulating the operation of All-Terrain Vehicles and Off-road Vehicles in Webster County Iowa

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Hunting and Fishing Licenses

Basic licenses available at the Recorder's office are listed below.

License Type


Resident Fishing

  $ 19.00

Resident Hunting

  $ 19.00

Seven day Fishing

  $ 13.50

Non-Resident Season Fishing

  $ 41.00

Non-Resident Hunting age 18 & above


Non-Resident Hunting under age 18

  $ 32.00

Resident Fur Harvester under age 16

  $  7.50

Resident Fur Harvester age 16 and older

  $ 22.50

Non-Resident Fur Harvester


Duck Fee (Migratory Bird)

  $ 10.00

Trout Fee

  $ 12.50

Habitat Fee

  $ 13.00 *

Free Landowner Deer License

  $  2.00 **

Deer Bow and Arrow License

  $ 28.50

  * Required with all hunting and Fur Harvester licenses, unless age 65 or older.

 ** This is a Writing Fee.

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History of the Office of County Recorder

In 1839 the First Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Iowa created the office of County Recorder.  The Recorder continues to maintain official records of documents affecting title to real estate in order to preserve property rights and protect innocent third parties in real estate transactions.


Beginning July 1, 2009 any check presented for payment will be processed as same day electronic transfer as soon as received by the bank.

Your check will not be returned by your financial institution. Insufficient funds items will be charged a $30.00 fee. 

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