North Dakota County Resources

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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

The FHL holds the Historical Records Survey of North Dakota (Bismarck, N.Dak.: WPA, 1939). Although outdated, it remains a helpful guide. County records including land, court, tax, probate, and township records for North Dakota may be extant from time of formation. There may, however, be individual discrepancies, and the researcher will need to check with the local office for exact reference. The county judge holds marriage and probate records, the register of deeds holds land records, and the clerk of the district court holds civil court records. Details about county offices can be found on the Internet at

Some records have been transferred to the State Archives and Historical Research Library (see State Historical Society website Since this is a continuing process, correspondence should be addressed to the county first, and if the records have been transferred, the letter will be forwarded. County offices can normally be addressed in care of the county courthouse; however, in the list below, addresses or post office boxes for registers of deeds are given.

For some counties on the chart there are two years listed for “Date Formed.” The first is the year that the county was created; the second is the year it was fully organized if it differs from creation year. Under the heading “Parent County/ies,” unorganized land denotes that it was formed from non-county lands, and counties listed with an asterisk (*) are those to which the county was at one time “attached” before organization.

Map County County Address Date Formed Parent County(ies) Birth Marriage Death Land Probate Court
MapCountyAddressDate FormedParent County/iesBirthMarriageDeathLandProbateCourt
C6AdamsP.O. Box 469 Hettinger 586391907Hettinger——1907——190719071907
In 1896 Allred became a part of Billings; in 1901 Allred was re-created from Billings; in 1903 it was attached to Williams; and in 1905 it was abolished when it became part of McKenzie.
H5BarnesRegister of Deeds P.O. Box 684 Valley City 580721873 (as Burbank; renamed as Barnes, 1875)Pembina1893–191018821893–1910187518751875
G2Benson311 B Ave. Minnewaukan 583511883Ramsey/De Smet190318851903188318831883
B4BillingsP.O. Box 138 Medora 586451879 (1886)unorganized/Howard——1887——187918791879
E1Bottineau314 W. Fifth Bottineau 583181873 (1884)Buffalo——1884——188418841884
A6BowmanP.O. Box 379 Bowman 586231883 (1907)Billings?1907?188318831883
In 1896 Bowman became part of Billings; in 1901 Bowman was re-created from Billings; in 1903 it was attached to Stark; and in 1907 it became fully organized.
Buffalo1864 (1871)Unorganized/Bruguier/Charles Mix *Bon Homme
In 1873 Buffalo lost land to twenty-five counties in Dakota territory; in 1889 Buffalo became a county in the newly created state of South Dakota.
In 1891 Buford was attached to Ward; in 1892 it was abolished and became part of Williams.
Burbank1873 (renamed Barnes, 1875)Pembina19101910
C1BurkeP.O. Box 219 Bowbells 587211910Ward——1910——1910
E5BurleighClerk of District Court and Clerk of County Court 514 E. Thayer Ave. Bismarck 58501 and Register of Deeds 221 N. 5th St. Bismarck 585011873Buffalo ——18981880; 1901*187318731873
J5CassP.O. Box 2806 Fargo 581081873Pembina——18721884–87*187318731873
*1889—1920 at Fargo
H1Cavalier901 3rd St. Langdon 582491873 (1884)Pembina1884–190818871884–1908187318731873
De Smet1873 (as French; renamed De Smet, 1875)Buffalo
In 1887 De Smet was abolished and became part of Pierce.
H6DickeyRegister of Deeds P.O. Box 148 Ellendale 584361881La Moure/Ransom/unorganized1894–190018831894–1900*188118811881
B1DivideP.O. Box 68 Crosby 587301910Williams——1910——191019101910
Dunn (old)1883 (became part of Stark, 1896)Howard
C4Dunn (present)P.O. Box 106 Manning 586421901 (1908)Stark——1908——190819081908
G3Eddy524 Central Ave. New Rockford 583561885Foster1889–192618871893–1907188518851885
F6EmmonsP.O. Box 905 Linton 585521879 (1883)unorganized/Burleigh190318881903187918791879
In 1891 Flannery was attached to Ward; in 1892 it was abolished and became part of Williams.
G4FosterP.O. Box 257 Carrington 584211873 (1883)Pembina——1883——187318731873
A5Golden ValleyP.O. Box 596 Beach 586211912Billings——1912——191219121912
J3Grand ForksRegister of Deeds P.O. Box 6 Grand Forks 582061873 (1875)Pembina——1887*1891*187318731873
*Coroner’s records and inquests for deaths; county judge has index to marriage certificates from 1875.
D6GrantP.O. Box 258 Carson 585291916Morton——1916——191619161916
H4GriggsP.O. Box 326 Cooperstown 584251881Foster/Burbank/Traill1901–0718831900–07188118811881
Gringras1873 (renamed Wells, 1881)Buffalo
C6HettingerP.O. Box 668 Mott 586461883 (1907)Stark——1907——188318831883
Howard1873 (abolished 1883; became part of Allred, Dunn, McKenzie, Wallace)unorganized
F4KidderP.O. Box 66 Steele 584821873 (1881)Buffalo1899–190718861885–1907187318731873
H6La Moure202 4th Ave. N.E. La Moure 584581873 (1881)Pembina1903–23*18871903–23*187318731873
*City auditor.
G6LoganP.O. Box 6 Napoleon 585611873 (1884)Buffalo1883–192318901883–1923187318731873
E2McHenryRegister of Deeds P.O. Box 57 Towner 587881873 (1885)Buffalo1889–190719051889–1907187318731873
G6McIntoshP.O. Box 179 Ashley 584131883 (1884)Logan/unorganized1899–190818851899–1908188318831883
McKenzie (old)1883 (abolished 1896; became part of Billings 1897)Howard
B3McKenzie (present)Register of Deeds P.O. Box 523 Watford City 58854(1901) 1905Billings1905–0819061905–08190519051905
In 1901 McKenzie was re-created but remained attached to Stark until it was fully organized in 1905.
D3McLeanRegister of Deeds P.O. Box 119 Washburn 585771883Burleigh/Stevens/Sheridan1884–190718871884–1907188318831883
D4MercerP.O. Box 39 Stanton 585711875unorganized——18851909*187518751875
*Coroner’s reports.
D5Morton210 2nd Ave. N.W. Mandan 585541873 (1881)unorganized1893–9518821893–1908187318731873
C2MountrailP.O. Box 69 Stanley 587841873Buffalo——1909——190919091909
In 1891 Mountrail was attached to Ward; in 1892 it was abolished and became part of Ward; in 1909 it was re-created from Ward.
H3NelsonP.O. Box 565 Lakota 583441883Foster/Grand Forks/Ramsey?1885?188318831883
D4OliverP.O. Box 125 Center 585301885Mercer——1885——188518851885
J1PembinaRegister of Deeds P.O. Box 147 Cavalier 582201867unorganized1893–95*1872 1893–95*186718671867
*Also births and deaths, 1899—1907.
F2Pierce240 S.E. 2nd St. Rugby 583681887 (1889)Bottineau/De Smet/McHenry/Rollette1893–190318881893–1903188718871887
G2RamseyP.O. Box 863 Devils Lake 583011873 (1885)Pembina1903–0918871903–09187318731873
J5RansomRegister of Deeds P.O. Box 666 Lisbon 580541873 (1881)Pembina——18821892–1902*187318731873
*Also coroner’s records, 1883.
Renville (old)1873Buffalo (attached to Ward, 1891; abolished 1892; became part of Bottineau and Ward)
D1Renville (present)P.O. Box 68 Mohall 587611910Ward——1910——191919191919
K6RichlandRegister of Deeds P.O. Box 995 Wahpeton 58075 and Clerk of the County Court 413 3rd Ave. N. Wahpeton 580751873 (1875)unorganized/Pembina——18771883*187318731873
*Coroner’s inquests.
F1RoletteRegister of Deeds P.O. Box 939 Rolla 583671873 (1884)Buffalo1894–192918841894–1915187318731873
J6SargentP.O. Box 176 Forman 580321883Ransom/unorganized——18861888*188318831883
*Also coroner’s inquests from 1899.
Sheridan (old)1873Buffalo (abolished 1892; became part of McLean)
F3Sheridan (present)P.O. Box 668 McClusky 584631908McLean——1909——190919091909
E6SiouxP.O. Box 345 Fort Yates 585381914Standing Rock Res.1902*19161902*191519151915
*Superintendent of Indian reservation.
B6SlopeP.O. Box JJ Amidon 586201914 (1915)Billings——1915——191519151915
B5StarkP.O. Box 130 Dickinson 586011879 (1883)Howard/ Williams/ unorganized——18871893–94187318731873
J4SteeleP.O. Box 275 Finley 582301883Griggs/Traill——1884——188418841884
The original Stevens County was created in 1862 from unorganized land but was abolished in 1863. This Stevens County was attached to Ward in 1891 and was abolished in 1892 when it became part of McLean and Ward.
G5Stutsman511 2nd Ave. S.E. Jamestown 584011873Pembina/Buffalo——18841881*187318731873
*Clerk of district court.
G1Towner315 Second St. Cando 583241883 (1884)Rolette/Cavalier1903–0718881903–27188318831883
J4TraillRegister of Deeds P.O. Box 399 Hillsboro 580451875Grand Forks/Burbank/ Cass——18801891*187518751875
*Mayville only.
In 1896 Wallace was abolished and became part of Billings and Stark; in 1901 it was re-created from Billings and Stark but remained attached to Stark; in 1905 it was abolished again and became part of McKenzie.
Wallette1873 (abolished 1883; became part of Buford and Flannery)Buffalo
J2Walsh600 Cooper Ave. Grafton 582371881Grand Forks/Pembina——1882——188118811881
*Filed in state records.
D2WardWard County Courthouse Minot 587011885Renville/Stevens——18881888*188518851885
*Coroner reports, clerk of district court.
F3WellsRegister of Deeds P.O. Box 125 Fessenden 584381873 (as Gingras; renamed 1881)Buffalo1893–191318871893–1913187318731873
Williams (old)1873 (abolished 1892; became part of Mercer)unorganized
B2Williams (present)P.O. Box 2047 Williston 588011892 (1903)Buford/Flanery——1892——189018901890
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