North Dakota

Discover you family history through historical newspapers at


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Discover you family history through historical newspapers at
North Dakota

Note to the State Historical Society of North Dakota: no one wants to see pictures of boxed archives on library shelves.  Put up some real historical images, please. (Update...they did!)

Aside from that, though, there are some excellent, if somewhat scattered, North Dakota digital archives available here.  Definitely worth exploring.

Best place to begin is Digital Horizons, a collection of images, documents, letters, maps, artifacts, a few audio files and so on, from a variety of state universities and historical collections.  It's an ungainly, unfriendly CONTENTdm presentation, but what can you do...archivists seem to like that platform for some reason.  

You can Browse by Subjects, including:
  • Aerials
  • Agriculture
  • Art & Architecture
  • City & Town Life
  • Colleges & Universities
  • Communication
  • Education
  • Entertainment
  • Environment
  • Ethnic
  • Health & Medicine
  • Indians of North America
  • Landmarks
  • Law
  • Military
  • People
  • Pioneer Era
  • Politics & Government
  • Religion
  • Social Life & Customs
  • Sports & Recreation
  • Transportation
  • Weather
  • Women
  • Work Life

Next stop, especially for you family history types, is the ND Archives Databases, including:
  • Public Death Index, 1881-almost current
  • North Dakota Naturalization Records Index, 1873-1952, with 212,000 records
  • North Dakota Biography Index
  • Dakota Territory 1885 Census
  • Index to Oral History Collection (over 1,000 tapes created from 1974-1977, covering personal history from 1890-1940).  There's a full PDF list of oral history interviews, conducted from 1974 through June 1977
  • Veterans History Project

A bit harder to find are an assortment of archive databases housed at ND State University:

  • Fargo Forum Obituary Index
  • Cass County Marriage Licenses, 1870-1944
  • Cass County Probate Records, 1876-1944
  • Cass County Divorce & Civil Cases, 1870-1942

A smattering of newspaper indexes are available:
  • Fargo Forum, 1879-1975
  • Fargo Forum, 1976-1995
  • The Spectrum, 1896-
  • The Record, 1895-1905
and a few actual newspaper archives:
  • Frontier Scout, 1864-65, North Dakota's (more precisely, the northern Dakota Territory's) first newspaper
  • First Newspaper Report of the Custer's Last Stand at Little Big Horn (known to the indians as Battle of Greasy Grass Creek), as reported in the Tribune (at the surprisingly steep price of 25 cents!)

Lastly, I'll note the North Dakota State University Digital Commons.  While this is largely an academic collection of student theses, faculty papers, and the like, there is some historical content here as well, such as the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection.

More historical archives and research materials can be found at these excellent resources:

 Historical Newspaper Archives       

 Genealogy Tools                                US Historical Newspapers        

 European Historical Newspapers        International Historical Newspapers

Court Record Searches                        Public Records Searches 

Intelius - Public Records Information