Pondera County, Montana Genealogy

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United States
Pondera County

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


County Facts
County seat: Conrad
Organized: February 17, 1919
Parent County(s): Chouteau and Teton[1]
Neighboring Counties
Chouteau  • Flathead  • Glacier  • Liberty  • Teton  • Toole
See County Maps
Location Map
Map of Montana highlighting Pondera County.png

County Information


Pondera County is located in the northwestern part of the state. Its county seat is Conrad. The county was founded 1919.[2]

County Courthouse

Pondera County Courthouse
20 4th Ave SW
Conrad, MT 59425-2340
Phone: 406.278.4000
Pondera County Website

County Clerk has birth, death and land records from 1919;
Clerk Court has marriage, divorce, probate and court records [3]

Pondera County, Montana 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[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1919 1919 1919 1919 1919 1919 1860
*State birth and death records began in 1907.
Compliance for recording births was 1922 and 1915 for deaths.[5]

Record Loss

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

Boundary Changes

The Montana legislature created Pondera County in 1919 from Chouteau and Teton Counties with Conrad as the county seat. Local lore suggests that Pondera is either the phonetic spelling of the French word “Pend d’Oreille” meaning hanging earring or “pain d’or” meaning golden bread for the color of the native grasses in the area. Wheat production remains the main industry for the county.

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:[7]

Unincorporated communities
  • Manson
  • Robare
  • Williams
Census-designated places

Indian Reservation

A small portion of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation is located in Pondera County. The larger part of the Reservation is in Glacier County.


At FamilySearch Pondera County Records, 1910-2012

Bible Records


Business, Commerce, and Occupations


Cemeteries of Pondera 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

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1920 5,741
1930 6,964 21.3%
1940 6,716 −3.6%
1950 6,392 −4.8%
1960 7,653 19.7%
1970 6,611 −13.6%
1980 6,731 1.8%
1990 6,433 −4.4%
2000 6,424 −0.1%
2010 6,153 −4.2%
Source: [1]

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

Federal Census Records

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

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

Dutch Reformed Church
*1920s-1960s - U.S., Dutch Christian Reformed Church Membership Records, 1856-1970 at Ancestry — ($); Index and images; Christian Reformed Church of Conrad, 1920s-1960s

County Records

Court Records


Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups

Funeral Homes



Land and Property Records

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

Local histories are available for Pondera 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.

  • Country Roads; A History of East Community, the Southeast Corner of Pondera County, Brady, Montana. c1984? [Brady, Montana?] : East Community Extension Homemakers. At various libraries(WorldCat).

Online County Histories

Maps and Gazetteers

Flathead CountyGlacier CountyToole CountyLiberty CountyAlberta, CanadaTeton CountyChouteau CountyMT PONDERA.JPG
About this image
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Military Records

Online Collections

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

Online Naturalization Records


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.


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

Other Records


Probate Records

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, Pondera - Probate records.

Online Probate Records

Probate Case files 1919-1930 and Probate Court Minutes 1919--1930 on Line at FamilySearch

School Records

Tax Records

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

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.





Research Facilities


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.





Research Guides


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pondera_County,_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), Pondera County, Montana. Page 417. 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, "Pondera County, Montana," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pondera_County%2C_Montana#Communities, accessed 1 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.