Ward County, North Dakota Genealogy

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
United States
North Dakota
Ward County

Guide to Ward 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: Minot
Organized: April 14, 1885
Parent County(s): Stevens (Old), Wynn (Old), and Renville [1]
Neighboring Counties
Burke  • McHenry  • McLean  • Mountrail  • Renville
See County Maps
Ward County Courthouse, Minot, North Dakota.jpg
Location Map
North Dakota Ward Map.png

County Information


Named for Mark Ward, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Counties. The county government was first organized on November 23, 1885 with Minot as the county seat.[2] The County is located in north center area of the state.[3]

County Courthouse

Ward County Courthouse
315 3rd St SE
Minot, ND 58701-6498
Phone: 701.857.6460
Ward County Website

District Court Clerk has birth, death, burial and divorce records from 1900;
County Judge has marriage and probate records;
Register of Deeds has land records.[4]

Ward 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
1900 1888 1900 1885 1885 1885 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
  • Aurelia - "ghost town" south of Donnybrook
  • Drady
  • Gassman - founded as the Gassman Creek; Gassman Coulee;Coulee trestle was being built, now referred to as "Trestle Valley"
  • Hartland - "ghost town" north of Berthold
  • Hesnault
  • Lonetree - small 100 person community northwest of Des Lacs and southeast of Berthold
  • Rice Lake - small community around Rice Lake south of Minot
  • Rice Lake Park
  • South Prairie - small community with modern school, south of Minot
  • Wolseth - diminishing community, south of the Renville County border, and Granville
Census-designated places
  • Afton
  • Anna
  • Baden
  • Berthold
  • Brillian
  • Burlington
  • Burt
  • Cameron
  • Carbondale
  • Carpio
  • Denmark
  • Des Lacs
  • Elmdale
  • Eureka
  • Evergreen
  • Foxholm
  • Freedom
  • Gasman
  • Greely
  • Greenbush
  • Harrison
  • Hiddenwood
  • Hilton
  • Iota Flat
  • Kenmare
  • Kirkelie
  • Linton
  • Lund
  • Mandan
  • Margaret
  • Maryland
  • Mayland
  • McKinley
  • Nedrose
  • New Prairie
  • Newman
  • Orlien
  • Passport
  • Ree
  • Rice Lake
  • Rolling Green
  • Rushville
  • Ryder
  • St. Marys
  • Sauk Prairie
  • Sawyer
  • Shealy
  • Spencer
  • Spring Lake
  • Sundre
  • Surrey
  • Tatman
  • Tolgen
  • Torning
  • Vang
  • Waterford
  • Willis

Indian Reservation

A portion of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation is located in Ward County. The remainder of the reservation is in Mountrail, McKenzie, Mercer, and Dunn Counties.


Bible Records


Business, Commerce, and Occupations


Cemeteries of Ward 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 1,681
1900 7,961 373.6%
1910 25,221 216.8%
1920 28,811 14.2%
1930 33,597 16.6%
1940 31,981 −4.8%
1950 34,782 8.8%
1960 47,072 35.3%
1970 58,560 24.4%
1980 58,392 −0.3%
1990 57,921 −0.8%
2000 58,975 1.8%
2010 61,675 4.6%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

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 Ward 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.




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
Email: ndsu.archives@ndsu.edu

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.




Ward County Historical Society
PO Box 994
Minot, ND 58702
Telephone: 701-838-9679

Lake County Historical Society
PO Box 83
Kenmare, ND 58746
Telephone: 701-385-4248

Ryder Historical Society
20510 184th St. S.W.
Ryder, ND 58779
Telephone: 701-758-2527

Scandinavian Heritage Association
1020 S. Broadway
Minot, ND 58701
Telephone: 701-852-9161


Research Guides


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. Genealogy Trails: Ward County, North Dakota, Genealogy and History
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Ward, North Dakota," in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ward_County,_North_Dakota accessed 8/28/2018
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Ward County, North Dakota. Page 527 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Ward County, North Dakota. Page 527 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), 519.
  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, "Ward 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.