Nelson County, North Dakota Genealogy

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United States
North Dakota

Nelson County

Guide to Nelson 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: Lakota
Organized: March 2, 1883
Parent County(s): Foster, Grand Forks, and Ramsey and unorganized territory [1]
Neighboring Counties
Benson  • Eddy  • Grand Forks  • Griggs  • Ramsey  • Steele  • Walsh
See County Maps
Location Map
North Dakota Nelson Map.png
This page is available for adoption

County Information


Founded in 1883. The county seat, is Lakota.[2]

County Courthouse

Nelson County Courthouse
210 W B Ave
PO Box 565
Lakota, ND 58344
Phone: 701.247.2462
Nelson County Website

Clerk District Court has birth and death records from 1903, marriage, probate and land records from 1880, divorce, Court and burial records[3]

Nelson County, North Dakota Record Dates

Beginning Dates for Major County Records
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1903 1885 1903 1883 1883 1883 1890

Record Loss

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes

2 March 1883: Nelson County was created from Foster, Grand Forks, and Ramsey Counties, and unorganized territory.

County seat: Lakota [1]

Populated Places

The following are locations in the county[4]

Unincorporated communites
  • Mapes
Census-designated places
  • Adler
  • Bergen
  • Central
  • Clara
  • Dahlen
  • Dayton
  • Dodds
  • Enterprise
  • Field
  • Forde
  • Hamlin
  • Illinois
  • Lakota
  • Lee
  • Leval
  • Melvin
  • Michigan
  • Nash
  • Nesheim
  • Ora
  • Osago
  • Petersburg
  • Rubin
  • Rugh
  • Sarnia
  • Wamduska
  • Williams


Bible Records


Business, Commerce, and Occupations


Cemeteries of Adams 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

State Census Records

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1890 4,293
1900 7,316 70.4%
1910 10,140 38.6%
1920 10,362 2.2%
1930 10,203 −1.5%
1940 9,129 −10.5%
1950 8,090 −11.4%
1960 7,034 −13.1%
1970 5,776 −17.9%
1980 5,233 −9.4%
1990 4,410 −15.7%
2000 3,715 −15.8%
2010 3,126 −15.9%
Source: "".

Federal Census Records

Federal Censuses were taken for North Dakota starting in 1910. 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.




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 Nelson County. These histories can include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information.

Maps and Gazetteers


Military Records

Civil War

World War I

World War II

Korean War

Vietnam War

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

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.




Nelson County Historical Society
PO Box 141
Pekin, ND 58361
Telephone: 701-247-2374


Research Guides


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. Nelson County, North Dakota Genealogy and History
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Nelson County, North Dakota. Page 525 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Nelson County, North Dakota," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia.
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