Ward County, North Dakota Genealogy

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United StatesGotoarrow.png North Dakota Gotoarrow.png Ward County

Guide to Ward 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: Minot
Organized: April 14, 1885
Parent County(s): Stevens (Old), Wynn (Old), and Renville [1]
Neighboring Counties
Burke  • McHenry  • McLean  • Mountrail  • Renville
See County Maps
Ward County Courthouse, Minot, North Dakota.jpg
Location Map
North Dakota Ward Map.png
This page is available for adoption

County Information


Named for Mark Ward, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Counties. The county government was first organized on November 23, 1885 with Minot as the county seat.[2]

County Courthouse

Ward County Courthouse
315 3rd St SE
Minot, ND 58701-6498
Phone: 701.857.6460
Ward County Website
District Court Clerk has birth, death, burial and divorce records from 1900;
County Judge has marriage and probate records;
Register of Deeds has land records.[3]

Ward County, North Dakota Record Dates

Beginning Dates for Major County Records
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1900 1888 1888 1885 1885 1885 1890

Record Loss

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

Boundary Changes

1885--Ward County was created 14 April 1885 from Stevens (Old), Wynn (Old), and Renville Counties.

County seat: Minot [1]

Populated Places

The following are locations in the county[4]

Unincorporated communites
  • Aurelia - "ghost town" south of Donnybrook
  • Drady
  • Gassman - founded as the Gassman Creek; Gassman Coulee;Coulee trestle was being built, now referred to as "Trestle Valley"
  • Hartland - "ghost town" north of Berthold
  • Hesnault
  • Lonetree - small 100 person community northwest of Des Lacs and southeast of Berthold
  • Rice Lake - small community around Rice Lake south of Minot
  • Rice Lake Park
  • South Prairie - small community with modern school, south of Minot
  • Wolseth - diminishing community, south of the Renville County border, and Granville
Census-designated places
  • Afton
  • Anna
  • Baden
  • Berthold
  • Brillian
  • Burlington
  • Burt
  • Cameron
  • Carbondale
  • Carpio
  • Denmark
  • Des Lacs
  • Elmdale
  • Eureka
  • Evergreen
  • Foxholm
  • Freedom
  • Gasman
  • Greely
  • Greenbush
  • Harrison
  • Hiddenwood
  • Hilton
  • Iota Flat
  • Kenmare
  • Kirkelie
  • Linton
  • Lund
  • Mandan
  • Margaret
  • Maryland
  • Mayland
  • McKinley
  • Nedrose
  • New Prairie
  • Newman
  • Orlien
  • Passport
  • Ree
  • Rice Lake
  • Rolling Green
  • Rushville
  • Ryder
  • St. Marys
  • Sauk Prairie
  • Sawyer
  • Shealy
  • Spencer
  • Spring Lake
  • Sundre
  • Surrey
  • Tatman
  • Tolgen
  • Torning
  • Vang
  • Waterford
  • Willis
Historical townships
  • Harrison - early sister community of Minot, annexed into Minot
  • Ralston - railroad siding
  • Waldorf - annexed into Minot boundaries in its early years

Indian Reservation

A portion of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation is located in Ward County. The remainder of the reservation is in Mountrail, McKenzie, Mercer, and Dunn Counties.


Bible Records


Business, Commerce, and Occupations


Cemeteries of Ward 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

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1890 1,681
1900 7,961 373.6%
1910 25,221 216.8%
1920 28,811 14.2%
1930 33,597 16.6%
1940 31,981 −4.8%
1950 34,782 8.8%
1960 47,072 35.3%
1970 58,560 24.4%
1980 58,392 −0.3%
1990 57,921 −0.8%
2000 58,975 1.8%
2010 61,675 4.6%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

State Census Records

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.


  • Records of First Lutheran Church, Minot, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).[5]

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

Maps and Gazetteers


Military Records

Civil War

World War I

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


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.




Ward County Historical Society
PO Box 994
Minot, ND 58702
Telephone: 701-838-9679

Lake County Historical Society
PO Box 83
Kenmare, ND 58746
Telephone: 701-385-4248

Ryder Historical Society
20510 184th St. S.W.
Ryder, ND 58779
Telephone: 701-758-2527

Scandinavian Heritage Association
1020 S. Broadway
Minot, ND 58701
Telephone: 701-852-9161


  • [nttp://usgenweb.org USGenWeb project]. May have maps, name indexes, history or other information for this county. Select the state, then the county.
  • FamilySearch Catalog The FamilySearch catalog contains descriptions and access information for all genealogical materials (including books, online materials, microfilm, microfiche, and publications) in their collection. Use Historical Records to search for specific individuals in genealogical records.
  • Ward County, North Dakota Genealogy and Family History (Linkpendium)

Research Guides


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. http://genealogytrails.com/ndak/ward/ accessed 09/29/2016
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Ward County, North Dakota. Page 527 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Ward County, North Dakota," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ward_County,_North_Dakota, accessed 16 November 2016.
  5. "Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: An Inventory of Selected Congregational Records of the American Lutheran Church in Minnesota at the Minnesota Historical Society," Collection Finding Aids, Minnesota Historical Society, http://www.mnhs.org/library/findaids/01009.xml, accessed 10 June 2013.