Yellowstone County, Montana Genealogy

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United States
Yellowstone County

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


Yellowstone County was founded 1883. The County Seat is Billings. This county is named after the river, and not the park.[2] It is located in the southcentral location of the state.[3]

County Courthouse

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.[4]

Yellowstone 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[5]
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.[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
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.


Bible Records


Business, Commerce, and Occupations


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

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: [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.[9] 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

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

  • Billings

Court Records


The Parmly Billings Library has made the following available online:

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 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

Treasure CountyBig Horn CountyCarbon CountyStill Water CountyMusselshell CountyMT YELLOWSTONE.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, Yellowstone - Probate records.

Online Probate Records

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.

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.





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.




Yellowstone Genealogy Forum
c/o Billings Public Library
510 North Broadway
Billings MT 59101
The Yellowstone Genealogy Forum meets on the 4th Tuesday of every month (except December)
at 7:00 p.m. Come early as social time begins at 6:30 p.m.


Research Guides


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