Pembina County, North Dakota Genealogy

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United States
North Dakota
Pembina County

Guide to Pembina 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: Cavalier
Organized: January 9, 1867
Parent County(s): unorganized territory[1]
Neighboring Counties
Cavalier  • Walsh  • Kittson (MN)  • Marshall (MN)  • Manitoba, Canada
See County Maps
Pembina County Courthouse, Cavalier, North Dakota.jpg
Location Map
North Dakota Pembina Map.png

County Information


Pembina County was formed on August 12, 1867. The county seat is Cavalier. The name "Pembina" is derived from the Chippewa Indian term for high bush cranberry which grew in abundance along the Pembina River.[2] The County is located in northeast area of the state.[3]

County Courthouse

Pembina County Courthouse
301 Dakota St W #6
Cavalier, ND 58220
Phone: 701.265.4275
Pembina County Website

District Court Clerk has birth and death records from 1893, marriage records from 1882, divorce, court, and probate records from 1883, military records from 1945, and burial records from 1943;
Register of Deeds has land records.[4]

Pembina 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
1893 1882 1893 1883 1867 1883 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

The following are locations in the county[8]

Unincorporated communities
  • Advance
  • Akra
  • Bathgate
  • Beaulieu
  • Carlisle
  • Cavalier
  • Crystal
  • Drayton
  • Elora
  • Felson
  • Gardar
  • Hamilton
  • Joliette
  • La Moure
  • Lincoln
  • Lodema
  • Midland
  • Neche
  • Park
  • Pembina
  • St. Joseph
  • St. Thomas
  • Thingvalla
  • Walhalla

American Indian reservations


Bible Records


Business, Commerce, and Occupations


Cemeteries of Pembina 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.  %±
1870 1,213
1880 4,862 300.8%
1890 14,334 194.8%
1900 17,869 24.7%
1910 14,749 −17.5%
1920 15,177 2.9%
1930 14,757 −2.8%
1940 15,671 6.2%
1950 13,990 −10.7%
1960 12,946 −7.5%
1970 10,728 −17.1%
1980 10,399 −3.1%
1990 9,238 −11.2%
2000 8,585 −7.1%
2010 7,413 −13.7%
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
Pembina County Church Histories

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.

For more information see North Dakota Land and Property

Local Histories

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

Maps and Gazetteers


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

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.


Template:ND Birth Intro


Template:ND Marriage Intro


Template:ND Death Intro Online Death Indexes and Records


Template:ND Divorce Intro

Research Facilities


North Dakota State University Archives
West Building 3551 7th Avenue
NFargo, 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.




Pembina County Historical Society
13571 Hwy. 5
Cavalier, ND 58220
Telephone: 701-265-8196 or 701-265-4941

Fort Pembina Historical Society
163 Chippewa Street West
Pembina, ND 58271

Ox Cart Trails Historical Society Inc.
709 Dakota Court
Drayton, ND 58225-4708
Telephone: 701-454-6103


Research Guides


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. Pembina County, North Dakota Genealogy and History
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Pembina, North Dakota," in,_North_Dakota accessed 8/28/2018
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pembina 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), Pembina 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, "Pembina 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.
  10. "Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: An Inventory of Selected Congregational Records of the American Lutheran Church in Minnesota at the Minnesota Historical Society," Collection Finding Aids, Minnesota Historical Society.