This paper develops codes suitable for iterative decoding using the sum-product algorithm. By considering a large class of combinatorial structures, known as partial geometries, we are able to define classes of low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes which include several previously known families of codes as special cases. The existing range of algebraic LDPC codes is limited, so the new families of codes obtained by generalizing to partial geometries significantly increase the range of choice of available code lengths and rates. We derive bounds on minimum distance, rank and girth for all the codes from partial geometries, and present constructions and performance results for the classes of partial geometries which have not previously been proposed for use with iterative decoding. We show that these new codes can achieve improved error correction performance over randomly constructed LDPC codes and, in some cases, achieve this with a significant decrease in decoding complexity.