McLean County, North Dakota Genealogy

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United States
North Dakota
McLean County

Guide to McLean County, North Dakota ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.


County Facts
County seat: Washburn
Organized: March 8, 1883
Parent County(s): Stevens (Old), Burleigh, and Sheridan [1]
Neighboring Counties
Burleigh  • Dunn  • McHenry  • Mercer  • Mountrail  • Oliver  • Sheridan  • Ward
See County Maps
Location Map
North Dakota McLean Map.png

County Information


The county was organized on November 1, 1883. It was named for John A. McLean, a prominent citizen and the first mayor of Bismarck, North Dakota. Washburn is the county seat.[2] The County is located in center area of the state.[3]

County Courthouse

McLean County Courthouse
712 5th Avenue
Washburn, ND 58577
Phone: 701.462.8541
McLean County Website

Clerk District Court has marriage records from 1887,
burial records from 1920, divorce and court records
from 1891 and probate records from 1900; Register
of Deeds has land records[4]

McLean County, North Dakota Record Dates

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[5]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1884-1907 1887 1884-1907 1891 1883 1900 1836
*State Dept. of Vital Records started births and deaths in 1923.
Full compliance by 1924.[6]

Record Loss

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

Boundary Changes

Populated Places

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:[8]

Unincorporated communities
  • Emmet
  • Falkirk
  • Raub
Census-designated places
  • Amundsville
  • Andrews
  • Aurena
  • Blackwater
  • Blue Hill
  • Butte
  • Byersville
  • Cremerville
  • Deepwater
  • Dogden
  • Douglas
  • Gate
  • Greatstone
  • Horseshoe Valley
  • Lake Williams
  • Longfellow
  • Loquemont
  • Malcolm
  • McGinnis
  • Medicine Hill
  • Mercer
  • Otis
  • Roseglen
  • Rosemont
  • Saint Mary
  • Snow
  • Turtle Lake
  • Victoria
  • Wise

Indian Reservation

  • Fort Berthold (Caros Ventres, Mandan and Arickara tribes)
  • Devils Lake Agency (Sioux tribe)


Bible Records


Business, Commerce, and Occupations


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

Census Records

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1890 860
1900 4,791 457.1%
1910 14,496 202.6%
1920 17,266 19.1%
1930 17,991 4.2%
1940 16,082 −10.6%
1950 18,824 17.1%
1960 14,030 −25.5%
1970 11,251 −19.8%
1980 12,383 10.1%
1990 10,457 −15.6%
2000 9,311 −11.0%
2010 8,962 −3.7%
Source: "".

Before North Dakota was a state in 1889, parts of North Dakota were included in the 1836 Iowa Territory census (also known as Wisconsin Territory), 1840 Iowa Territory census, 1850 Minnesota Territory census, and the 1860-1880 Dakota Territory censuses.[9] See links listed below.

Territory and State Census Records

Federal Census Records

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

Church Records

Church records can be found online, kept onsite at the church, or housed in a church archive or library. See North Dakota Church Records for more information on how to locate the records.

Online Church Records
Lutheran Church

Court Records


Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups

Funeral Homes



Land and Property Records

When the United States acquired North Dakota, most of the land became available for homesteading or purchase from the federal government. After land was transferred from the government to private owners, the registrar of deeds in each county recorded the land transactions in the form of deeds and mortgages. For more information, see North Dakota Land and Property.

Online Land Records

For more information see North Dakota Land and Property

Local Histories

Local histories, including those of the county, are available for McLean County. These histories can include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information.

  • McLean County heritage : McLean County, North Dakota. 1978. Washburn, North Dakota : McLean County Historical Society (North Dakota). Online at: ; At various libraries (WorldCat).

Maps and Gazetteers

Mountrail CountyWard CountyMcHenry CountySheridan CountyBurleigh CountyOliver CountyMercer CountyDunn CountyND MCLEAN.JPG
About this image
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Military Records

Online Collections

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

Civil War

World War I

World War II

Korean War

Vietnam War

For further information see North Dakota Military Records.

Naturalization and Citizenship

Online Naturalization Indexes and Records


For more information, see North Dakota Newspapers.

North Dakota Newspapers Online

  • GenealogyBank - ($), contains images of North Dakota newspapers GenealogyBank] - ($), contains images of North Dakota newspapers
  • Newspaper Archive - ($), contains images of North Dakota newspapers
  • Chronicling America - contains images of some North Dakota newspapers; searching tips
  • Elephind - Free; search engine that retrieves newspaper images from other free newspaper websites

North Dakota Newspaper Catalogs


Other Records


Probate Records

Probate records, including wills and estates, are at the county clerk's office. See also North Dakota Probate Records.

Online Probate Records

School Records

Tax Records

County tax records are at the county treasurer's, auditor's or clerk's office in the county courthouse. Some tax records may have been moved to the North Dakota State Archives.

Vital Records

Birth, marriage, death, and divorce records may be recorded on registers, certificates, or other documents at the county clerk's office. Many records are also being digitized and put online. See North Dakota Vital Records for more information about availability and how to access them.




'Online Death Indexes and Records


Research Facilities


North Dakota State University Archives
West Building 3551 7th Avenue
N Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing Address:
NDSU Archives
Libraries NDSU Dept #2080
PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Phone: 701-231-8914
Fax: 701-231-5632

Family History Centers

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes.




McLean County Historical Society
PO Box 345
Washburn, ND 58577-0345
Telephone: 701-462-3744 or 701-462-3660

McLean County Genealogical Society
PO Box 99
Garrison, ND 58540-0099
Telephone: 701-463-2834


Research Guides


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. McLean County, North Dakota (Genealogy Trails)
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "McLean, North Dakota," in,_North_Dakota accessed 8/28/2018
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), McLean County, North Dakota. Page 525 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), McLean County, North Dakota. Page 525 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), 518.
  6. Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Rev. ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 1992), 562; Alice M. Hetzel, U.S. Vital Statistics System: Major Activities and Developments, 1950-95 (Hyattsville, Md.: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, [1997]), 58.
  7. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  8. Wikipedia contributors, "McLean County, North Dakota," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia.
  9. Alice Eichholz, ‘’Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources,’’ 3rd ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 2004), 511. Free online version; FHL Book 973 D27rb 2004; WorldCat entry.