Ethnic Groups of North Dakota

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This entry was originally written by Beth H. Bauman and Marsha Hoffman Rising, CG, FUGA, FASG for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
the North Dakota Family History Research series.
History of North Dakota
North Dakota Vital Records
Census Records for North Dakota
Background Sources for North Dakota
North Dakota Maps
North Dakota Land Records
North Dakota Probate Records
North Dakota Court Records
North Dakota Tax Records
North Dakota Cemetery Records
North Dakota Church Records
North Dakota Military Records
North Dakota Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
North Dakota Archives, Libraries, and Societies
North Dakota Naturalization
Ethnic Groups of North Dakota
North Dakota County Resources
Map of North Dakota


North Dakota settlers who were immigrants to America came primarily from Norway and Canada, but others were from Germany, England, Ireland, Sweden, and Russia. By 1890 the foreign-born settlers made up forty-three percent of the population. These people, together with the children of foreign parents, actually comprised sixty-nine percent of North Dakota’s families. In 1910, twenty-one percent of the residents were Norwegian, twenty percent were German (with about half of these from Russia), twelve percent were English and Celtic (Irish, Scottish, and Welsh), and five percent were descendants of earlier immigrants.

The Germans from Russia Heritage Society, 1008 E. Central Ave., P.O. Box 1671, Bismarck, ND 58501, has an in-depth collection of family files, obituaries, immigration records, and family and county histories for those with a German heritage through Russia. Both North Dakota and national records are included. Another collection for this ethnic group is located at the North Dakota Institute for Regional Studies (see North Dakota Archives, Libraries, and Societies), but, in addition, its biographical index identifies books and publications dealing with this group of immigrants.

The Bygdeboker (Bygde Books) that discuss Norwegian immigrants are located at the Chester Fritz Library and are available on interlibrary loan if they have been microfilmed. See also Sherman and Thorson under Background Sources.

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