Montana, County Births and Deaths (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at



Record Description

The collection consists of registers and certificates of births and deaths acquired from county courthouses for the years 1840 to 2004. The following counties have records in this collection:

  • Broadwater
  • Deer Lodge
  • Jefferson
  • Lewis and Clark
  • Powell
  • Silver Bow

Some counties began recording births and deaths as early as 1864. These records have usually been kept by the clerk of the court in each county. Statewide registration of vital statistics began in Montana in 1907 and was generally complied with by 1920.

These records were created to keep track of the vital events happening in the lives of the citizens and to safeguard their legal interests. They are generally reliable but can vary depending on the knowledge of the informant.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Montana, County Births and Deaths, 1840-2004.

Record Content

Birth records usually contain the following information:

  • Child’s name, gender and race
  • Child’s birth date and place of birth
  • Whether child was stillborn or living
  • Number of child in the family, 1st, 2nd, etc.
  • Names of parents, including maiden name of mother
  • Parents' residence
  • Father’s occupation
  • Birth place of father
  • Birth place of mother

Death records usually contain the following:

  • Name and age of deceased
  • Date and place of death including county, township and city/village
  • Age in days, months, and years
  • Gender, race, marital status, occupation and residence of deceased
  • Birth place of deceased
  • Name of parents and their birth place
  • Name of spouse
  • Cause of death
  • Name and address of person reporting death
  • Burial information

How to Use the Record

To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:

  • The name of the primary individual such as the infant, or the deceased
  • Other identifying information such as the birth or death date and place

Search the Collection

To search by index:
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. this search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.

To browse by image:
⇒Select Browse through images on the initial collection page
⇒Select the County
⇒Select the Record Type, Year Range, Volume number/letter which takes you to the images.

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example:

  • Use the birth record to find the parents' names.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.
  • Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment records or military records.
  • The name of the officiator may be a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county.
  • The name of the undertaker or mortuary could lead you to funeral and cemetery records, which often include the names and residences of other family members.
  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have been born or died in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • Keep in mind there is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Check for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

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Related Wiki Articles

How You Can Contribute

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citations for This Collection

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection Citation:

"Montana, County Births and Deaths, 1840-2004." Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2015. Citing county courthouses, Montana

Record Citation

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for Montana, County Births and Deaths, 1840-2004.

Image Citation:

The citation for an image is available on each image in this collection by clicking Show Citation at the bottom left of the image screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Montana, County Births and Deaths, 1840-2004.


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  • This page was last modified on 21 October 2015, at 19:57.
  • This page has been accessed 12,885 times.