Census Records for North Dakota

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This entry was originally written by Beth H. Bauman and Marsha Hoffman Rising, CG, FUGA, FASG for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
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the North Dakota Family History Research series.
History of North Dakota
North Dakota Vital Records
Census Records for North Dakota
Background Sources for North Dakota
North Dakota Maps
North Dakota Land Records
North Dakota Probate Records
North Dakota Court Records
North Dakota Tax Records
North Dakota Cemetery Records
North Dakota Church Records
North Dakota Military Records
North Dakota Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
North Dakota Archives, Libraries, and Societies
North Dakota Naturalization
Ethnic Groups of North Dakota
North Dakota County Resources
Map of North Dakota


Population Schedules

• Indexed'1850 as Pembina County, Minnesota Territory; 1860, as unorganized Dakota; 1870, as Dakota Territory; special 1885 (see below), 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930

• Soundex'1900, 1920

Industry and Agriculture Schedules

• Agriculture'1870, 1880

Mortality Schedules

• 1860, 1870, 1880 Indexed as Dakota Territory; 1885

Union Veterans Schedules

• 1890

The first federal census records available for this area can be found with the 1836 Iowa Territory census. North Dakota State Archives and Historical Research Library of the State Historical Society of North Dakota (see North Dakota Archives, Libraries, and Societies) holds microfilmed copies of 1850 Pembina County Minnesota; 1860, 1870, and 1880 of Dakota Territory; the 1890 Union veterans and widows census; the 1900 census, including Soundex; and 1910 census. Dakota Territory agriculture schedules for 1870 and 1880 are on microfilm at the South Dakota State Historical Society.


The 1857 census for Pembina County, then part of Minnesota Territory, is located at the State Archives and Historical Research Library.

Part of the special, pre-statehood, federal 1885 census is available in print (see Collections under Background Sources for North Dakota). Only part of the indexing has been completed by AISI and is also available at www.ancestry.com. This schedule included a special veterans and mortality return. This and the unindexed 1915 and 1925 state censuses are available on microfilm at the State Archives and Historical Research Library and through interlibrary loan.

Native American

Several series of censuses were taken at the different reservations. Indexing is variable. Unless otherwise indicated, the State Archives and Historical Research Library retains these censuses:

• Fort Totten Reservation: 1885'1905, 1910'39

• Fort Berthold Reservation: 1889'93, 1895'1939

• Standing Rock Reservation: 1885'1913, 1915'39 (located at National Archives'Central Plains Region in Kansas City)

• Turtle Mountain Reservation: 1885'1905 (with Fort Totten Reservation), 1910'39

• Digger Indians: 1899'1904, 1915'20

External Links

  • North Dakota Census Records - free up-to-date guide to accessing North Dakota census records. Identifies federal, state, and territorial censuses, as well as substitute records (FamilySearch Research Wiki).