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North Dakota Genealogy

In some parts of the state, you will be able to find official documents going back to 1893 but overall, North Dakota has genealogy records from around 1907. That's when the state started making it mandatory for the counties to register births and deaths.

North Dakota Vital Records

And those birth and death records, along with marriage registrations are called "vital records". If you need to get copies for your North Dakota genealogy purposes, you may have some challenges depending on your relationship to the person on the record.

For birth records where the person on the record is still alive, you can only order your own certificate or for your own child. If the person is now deceased, then you can be any immediate relation. You will need to provide proof of death in that case.

Death records offer a few more options. There are actually 3 different types of records that can be given out. The full certificate has the person's SSN and cause of death, the "facts of death" certificate does not have the cause of death, and the informational certificate lacks both of these and is intended for genealogy purposes. To get either of the first 2 types, you will have to be a direct relative again. But you can order an informational copy of any death certificate regardless of your relation to the deceased.

Both of these records can be obtained through Vital Records division of the Department of Health. Marriage records are not held in one central place. You will have to contact the county clerk's office where the marriage occurred in order to request the file.

Otherwise, you can just send a completed application to get a copy of a birth or death record to the Vital Records office in Bismark. They have a public service counter where you can get your North Dakota genealogy documents while you wait, or you can just mail in your forms for 1 to 2 week wait. Make sure you include a copy of your own ID and the correct search fee with your forms. The current fees are less than $10 per request, but check the forms first.

Other North Dakota Genealogy Resources

The vital records office is just once place to get documents and information. The State Historical Society of North Dakota is one great example of this. They are located in Bismark, and their public reading room will give you access to census records, naturalization papers, state biographical index, veterans documents, personal family genealogies, plat books and maps, newspaper archives, old city directories, cemetery lists and more.

Their location is open during typical business hours, Monday through Friday.

You can also get more North Dakota genealogy information from any of the local historical societies. The North Dakota State Genealogy Society is the largest for the whole state and you can also find smaller groups for many counties. These groups can have their own libraries of unique reference material you won't find elsewhere, and you can learn a lot just by meeting other members who are doing the same studies that you are.

State Resources Sites 

  • A Guide to North Dakota Genealogy
    Look ups, societies, publications available from societies and individuals, lost female ancestors queries, and related links for genealogy research in North Dakota. 


Databases and Indexes

Death Records and Obits


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