SHSND Home Archives Genealogy Research Sources
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Archives - Research Sources is available in the Reading Room at the State Archives or at any library or school in the state through the subscription of the North Dakota State Library and funding from the State Legislature. Sources include U.S. Federal Census records, passenger lists, Social Security Death Index, military records, World War I draft registrations, and other resources are indexed through this resource.

Census schedules: Census research request forms are available upon request and must be filled out as completely as possible and returned with the necessary fee. Precise locations must be provided for non-indexed censuses.

Death Record Index for North Dakota: Through the cooperative efforts of the Division of Vital Records, Bismarck-Mandan Historical and Genealogical Society, and the North Dakota State Genealogical Society, indexes to deaths in the state are available for use in the reading room. The Public Death Index is also available through the North Dakota Department of Health website. The Public Death Index will allow you to search the index and order certified copies, if you wish. The indexes supply the individual's full name, date of birth (if known), date of death, county of residence and county of death. They supplement the North Dakota Necrology, 1920-1926 and the obituary and death notices found in the Newspaper Abstract File also available in the reading room.

Historical Data Project (WPA) Biography files, gathered in the 1930s through personal interviews, are organized by county and by individual name. Microfilm copy may be requested by interlibrary loan (Specify county and name).

Naturalization Records: These records, formerly held by the clerks of state district courts, cover the period up to 1955. Naturalization records from US District Courts in North Dakota are also available. Consult the online searchable index. Please provide the name of the head-of-household and the county location where the records were filed. Note: Records prior to 1906 do not contain family background information. All naturalization records are available on microfilm

North Dakota Biographical Index: This site created by the North Dakota State University Archives, indexes more than 152,000 entries found in some 544 publications. Many of these publications are available at the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Oral History Project Collection: Consisting of taped interviews conducted from 1974 through 1977, copies can be provided for a fee. Indexed by individual name.

Veterans History Project Collection consists of recorded interviews conducted from 2002 through 2007. Indexed by name.

Land Office Tract Books: Available on microfilm, these list first entries for public land. Not indexed. Township and range must be provided to attempt a search. We do not have the homestead files. To request homestead files from the National Archives, first obtain form NATF-Form 84, “National Archives Order for Copies of Land Entry Files.” For these, write to:

Archives 1 Reference (NWCT1F-Land)
Textual Archives Services Division
National Archives and Records Administration
700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20408-0001

To search land patents, use the Bureau of Land Management General Land Office Web site:

Vital Records - birth, death, marriage, and divorce records

Newspapers are sources for information of local interest. Marriage and birth announcements, obituaries or other items from the newspapers can be searched only if the month, day, year and location of the event can be provided. Most newspapers held by SHSND have been microfilmed. Microfilm copies may be requested by interlibrary loan (Specify county).

County Plat Books and Atlases dating from 1884 show land ownership by township. Microfilmed atlases are available through interlibrary loan. Searches can be attempted only if the county, township and range can be provided.

The Pioneer Mothers Project created by the North Dakota Federation of Women's Clubs in the 1930s contains family histories, biographical materials, obituaries, and a few lineage charts. Indexed by name.

Local Government Records, including court records, have in some cases been transferred to the State Archives. Please contact reference staff to determine which records are available.

Family Genealogies may be requested by individual name. Due to limited funds available for purchases, the State Historical Society is not able to buy copies of family genealogies, but does accept gifts of genealogies containing information concerning North Dakotans.

Local History Books and some of the standard histories of the state, as well as North Dakota History, contain biographical information. Not all books contain indexes and only limited searches can be attempted in these books. Many local history books, along with the WPA Pioneer and the Pioneer Mothers biographies, are indexed through the state’s online Biography Index from the Institute for Regional Studies at North Dakota State University.

Business Directories and gazetteers dating from 1884. Microfilm copies are available.

City directories and telephone books contain listings of businesses and residents.

Passenger and Immigration List Indexes only. We do not have the ship lists in our collection.

Cemetery Lists for several counties compiled by local historical societies.

Norwegians in America (2 Vols.) by Martin Ulvestad lists many of the people who immigrated from Norway and indicates where they settled in America. Written in Norwegian.

There are numerous on-line sources of family history information, including the USGenWeb North Dakota site. These sites are not affiliated with the State Historical Society of North Dakota and we cannot compile or maintain a listing of such sites in the very dynamic web environment.

Cyndi’s List -

Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections, University of North Dakota

Family Search -

Germans From Russia Heritage Society -

North Dakota State University Archives -

ND GenWeb -

North Dakota State Genealogical Society -

Newsletters of the North Dakota State Genealogical Society

Odessa – A German-Russian Genealogical Library -

Red River Valley Genealogical Society -

Roots Web -

Census Records -

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