Montana Vital Records
Montana Birth, Marriage and Death Records
- 1 Montana Birth, Marriage and Death Records
- 2 Vital Records Reference Dates
- 3 Montana Birth, Marriage and Death Records Online
- 4 Birth Records
- 5 Marriage Records
- 6 Death Records
- 7 Substitute Records
- 8 Tips
- 9 Archives, Libraries and Societies
- 10 References
Introduction to Vital Records
Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. United States Vital Records has additional research guidance on researching and using vital records. A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Montana Vital Records State Department of Health or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred. See also Montana Statewide Indexes and Collections at the Family History Library.
Vital Records Reference Dates
Montana vital records start the following years:
* The Montana Legislative Assembly passed a law in 1895 requiring local physicians and midwives to register births. In addition, the law required clergymen, coroners, sextons, and undertakers were to register deaths. Statewide registration of births and deaths was not required until 1907. Although not required, a few Montana counties kept birth and death records prior to 1895. For instance, Silverbow County has births beginning in 1878, and Yellowstone County has deaths beginning in 1884.
Montana Birth, Marriage and Death Records Online
The following is a list of online resources useful for locating Montana Vital Records which consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths. Most online resources for Montana Vital Records are indexes. After locating a person in an index always consult the original record to confirm the information in the index.
FamilySearch Historical Records
Wiki articles describing FamilySearch Historical Records collections are found at:
- Montana, Cascade County Records (FamilySearch Historical Records) - Free
- Montana County Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records) - Free
- Montana, Flathead County Records (FamilySearch Historical Records) - Free
- Montana, Rosebud County Records (FamilySearch Historical Records) - Free
- Montana Links from fhlfavorites.info - Free
- Montana Databases listed on Rootsweb.com - Free
- USGenWeb.org Montana Site - Free
- The Vital Records Search and Information Directory for Montana - Free/$
- Linkpendium Links for Montana Genealogy and History, including individual Counties - Free/$
- ProGenealogists' Genealogy Slueth page contains a list of Vital Records websites, including Montana. Press Ctrl + F on the keyboard to search for Montana or MT - Free/$
- Search the Montana Birth, Marriage & Death Records at Ancestry.com - $
- Find Montana marriages listed in the Western States Marriage Index - Free
- Order Montana Certificates online - $
- The Montana Department of Public Health has copies of marriage records from July 1880. They have an index to records after 1916.
Montana Vital Records
For general questions on how to obtain a birth or death certificate, and individual marriage and divorce information, please contact:
Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
Office of Vital Statistics
111 N Sanders, Room 209
Helena, MT 59604
Email: HHSVitalRecords@mt.gov (Note: Applications are not accepted via E-mail.)
The current fees for obtaining copies of the state's vital records are also listed at VitalRecords.com.
Some counties recored births prior to 1895. These records have been kept by the clerk of the court in each county. A few of the early county records have been transcribed and published, and these are available at the Family History Library. Statewide registration of vital statistics began in Montana in 1907 and was generally complied with by 1920. Delayed registrations of births are included in the indexes maintained by the state office.
open / closed/ state statutes
There is no centralized registration of marriage records. Each county generally began keeping marriage records soon after its organization. Write to the clerk of the district court for copies of marriage and divorce records.
The State Department of Health has an index to marriages beginning in 1943. This index helps to identify the county in which the marriage occurred. The original records are available only in the county. The Family History Library has microfilm copies of many county marriage records.
Early marriages for many of the counties are searchable online at no cost on the Western States Marriage Index.
The Montana State Genealogical Society maintains the Montana State Death Registry Index, Pre-1954 1954-2002 online at Death Records. Scroll to the bottom of the page to link to the time period you want to search. This database covers over 650 thousand records reported to the State from the 1800s through 2002.
- Information listed on vital records is given by an informant. Learn the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) of the record. The closer the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) and whether or not the informant was present at the time of the event can help determine the accuracy of the information found on the record.
- If you're unable to locate vital records recorded by governments, search for church records of christening, marriage, death or burial. A family Bible may have been used to record births, marriages and deaths.
- Privacy laws may restrict your access to some vital records. Copies of some vital records recorded in the last 100 years may be unavailable to anyone except a direct relative.
- Search for Vital records in the Family History Library Catalog by using a Place Search and then choosing Vital Records. Search for Montana to locate records filed by the State and then search the name of the county to locate records kept by the county.
Archives, Libraries and Societies
Inventory of Vital Records
More information about the history and availability of vital records is in Guide to the Public Vital Statistics in Montana 
- Alice Eichholz, ed. Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, 3rd ed. (Provo,Utah: Ancestry Publishing, 2004), 399, 406-407.
- "Have you searched and searched for a marriage without finding it?" Arlene H Eakle's Genealogy Blog, 19 February 2007 (http://www.arleneeakle.com/wordpress/2007/02/19/have-you-searched-and-searched-for-the-marriage-without-finding-it/: accessed 8 January 2011).
- Guide to Public Vital Statistics in Montana (Bozeman, Montana: Historical Records Survey, Montana State College, 1941); Family History Library book 978.6 V2h; film 1036403 item 7; fiche 6046712.