We have an online index to the Des Moines newspapers. Of course an index just says when an article appeared, it does not include the article itself. But it provides enough information that you can find the story in our microfilm at the Central Library. Only local news is indexed (but not sports scores, letters to the editor, or vital records). General articles are indexed back to 1986, obituaries to 1960. A few other years here and there are covered.
Say you’re looking for an obituary for Russ Van Dyke, former Channel 8 newscaster.
1. On our home page, click on the word ‘Search’ at the top right.
2. On the next screen, click on ‘News/Obit Index’ which is at the upper right.
3. In the 'Obituary Name' box type Van Dyke, Russ (always last name first).
4. You'll see his listing with other Van Dykes. There are 2 obituaries for Russ Van Dyke, click on the one from July 21.
5. Now you see that the obituary appeared in the Des Moines Register July 21, 1992, the Metro Section, Page 5, Column 4.
6. Armed with this information you can go straight to the microfilm, look it up and make a copy for 25 cents!
Easy, safe and fun. Here's a direct link to the index.