Yellowstone County, Montana Genealogy

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Guide to Yellowstone County, Montana ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Billings
Organized: February 26, 1883
Parent County(s): Gallatin, Meagher, Custer, Carbon[1]
Neighboring Counties
Big Horn  • Carbon  • Golden Valley  • Musselshell  • Rosebud  • Stillwater  • Treasure
See County Maps
Location Map
Map of Montana highlighting Yellowstone County.png

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

It is located in the south central location of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Yellowstone County Courthouse
217 N 27th Street
PO Box 35001
Billings, MT 59107-5001
Phone: 406.256.2785
Yellowstone County Website

County Clerk Recorder has birth, death, land, and military records from 1883.
Clerk District Court has marriage, divorce, probate and court records.[3]

Yellowstone County, Montana Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major Records[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1883 1887 1883 1883 1883 1883 1860
*State birth and death records began in 1907.
Compliance for recording births was 1922 and 1915 for deaths.[5]

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit Hometown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[7]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places
Ghost towns

Indian Reservation
The Crow Indian Reservation is located primarily in Big Horn County, with a smaller portion in Yellowstone County.

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Listed below are resources for Bible records specific to Yellowstone County. To find more resources, go to the Montana Bible Records page.

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Yellowstone County, Montana online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Montana Cemeteries for more information

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1890 2,065
1900 6,212 200.8%
1910 22,944 269.3%
1920 29,600 29.0%
1930 30,785 4.0%
1940 41,182 33.8%
1950 55,875 35.7%
1960 79,016 41.4%
1970 87,367 10.6%
1980 108,035 23.7%
1990 113,419 5.0%
2000 129,352 14.0%
2010 147,972 14.4%
Source: "".

Before Montana was a state in 1889, the western portion of Montana was included in the 1860 Washington Territory and the eastern was in the unorganized parts of 1860 Nebraska Territory. The 1870 and 1880 Federal Censuses included Montana Territory. No state censuses have been taken.[8] See links listed below.

Territory and State Censuses[edit | edit source]

Federal Census Records[edit | edit source]

Federal Censuses were taken for the state of Montana starting in 1890, although no records survived. The 1900 Census is the next Federal Census available. For links to Federal Census indexes, see Montana Census.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Church records vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about Montana denominations, view the Montana Church Records wiki page.

Online Church Records
Lutheran Church

Other Church Records
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Ward and Branch Records

  • Billings

List of Churches and Church Parishes

County Records[edit | edit source]

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

The Parmly Billings Library has made the following available online:

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See Montana Land and Property for additional information about early Montana land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse, where records are currently housed.

Online Land Records

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Yellowstone County, Montana Genealogy. County histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section Montana Local Histories.

  • Medicine; The Early Days. c1983. Billings, Montana : The 100th Birthday Medical Research Committee. At various libraries(WorldCat).
  • Trails and Tales, South of the Yellowstone : An Unrecorded History of the Area South of Billings and the Yellowstone River--Extending to the Western Portion of the Crow Reservation and Pryor Mountains. c1983. Billings, Montana : Trails and Tales Historical Committee. At various libraries(WorldCat).

Online County Histories

  • An Illustrated History of the Yellowstone Valley : Embracing the Counties of Park, Sweet Grass, Carbon, Yellowstone, Rosebud, Custer and Dawson, State of Montana. c1990. Washington [District of Columbia] : Library of Congress Photoduplication Service. Online at: Internet Archive; At various libraries(WorldCat).

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Treasure CountyBig Horn CountyCarbon CountyStill Water CountyMusselshell CountyMT YELLOWSTONE.JPG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Online Collections[edit | edit source]

These collections are unique to Montana. You will find nationwide databases for military records on U.S. Military Online Genealogy Records and Montana Military Records.
Civil War

World War I

'World War II

For further information see Montana Military Records.

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Please see the Montana Naturalization and Citizenship page for state-wide information.

Online Naturalization Indexes and Records

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

For more information, see Montana Newspapers.

Montana Newspapers Online

Montana Newspaper Catalogs

  • U.S. Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present on Chronicling America - contains a list of all known newspapers and the dates they cover; once you locate a newspaper name, contact the local library to see if they have copies of the newspaper.

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

See also United States Obituaries for more about finding United States obituaries.

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

In most counties in Montana, probate records have been kept by the county judge. They include wills, inventories, claim registers, inheritance records, probate packets, and dockets. The records are available at the county courthouse.

The FamilySearch Catalog lists films of probate records. To find the records for this county, use the Place Search for Montana, Yellowstone - Probate records.

Online Probate Indexes and Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

Montana tax records complement land records and can be used to supplement the years between censuses. There may be gaps of several years in the records.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. A copy or an extract of most birth and death original records can be purchased from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred. For information about marriages, divorces, and requirements for obtaining any vital records, see the CDC Where to Write website.

The following is courtesy of the Parmly Billings Library Genealogical Resources:

  • Vital Statistics from Early Billing Gazettes: Over 13,000 births, deaths, business licenses and other records from the early residents as recorded in this newspaper. The index is from 1882-1901 as well as additional indexes covering up to the 1930s.

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Voting Records[edit | edit source]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Yellowstone County. For state-wide archival repositories, see Montana Archives and Libraries.

Billings Public Library Archives
510 North Broadway
Billings, MT 59101

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Listed below are libraries in Yellowstone County. For state-wide library facilities, see Montana Archives and Libraries.

Billings Public Library
510 North Broadway
Billings, MT 59101

Museums[edit | edit source]

Yellowstone County Museum
Located in: Billings-Logan International Airport
1950 Terminal Circle
Billings, MT 59105

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Yellowstone County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see Montana Societies.

Yellowstone Genealogy Forum
c/o Billings Public Library
510 North Broadway
Billings MT 59101

Yellowstone Historical Society
PO Box 21801
Billings, MT 59104

Websites[edit | edit source]

  • Yellowstone County at Cyndi's List — a comprehensive, categorized & cross-referenced list of links that point you to genealogical research sites online
  • Yellowstone County at Genealogy Trails — volunteer transcriptions of genealogical and historical data
  • Yellowstone County at Montana USGenWeb - free online resources for genealogical research
  • Yellowstone County at Montana USGenWeb Archives - free online data for genealogical research
  • Yellowstone County, Montana at Linkpendium - genealogy and family history
  • Yellowstone County, Montana Genealogy at - collection of links by state, county, city, and record type
  • FamilySearch Catalog The FamilySearch catalog contains descriptions and access information for all genealogical materials (including books, online materials, microfilm, microfiche, and publications) in their collection. Use Historical Records to search for specific individuals in genealogical records.

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2.,_Montana accessed 11/22/2016
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002), p. 417.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Yellowstone County, Montana. Page 419. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 407.
  5. Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Rev. ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 1992), 439.
  6. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Yellowstone County, Montana," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 2 Dec 2016.
  8. ’'Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 409. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.