Williams County, North Dakota Genealogy

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United StatesGotoarrow.png North Dakota Gotoarrow.png Williams County

Guide to Williams 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: Williston
Organized: November 30, 1892
Parent County(s): Buford (Old) and Flannery (Old) [1]
Neighboring Counties
Burke  • Divide  • McKenzie  • Mountrail  • Richland (MT)  • Roosevelt (MT)  • Sheridan (MT)
See County Maps
Williams County Courthouse, Williston, North Dakota.jpg
Location Map
North Dakota Williams Map.png
This page is available for adoption

County Information


The name comes from Erastus Appelman Williams, an early politician from Bismarck who served in both the territorial and state legislatures. The county government was first organized on December 8, 1891; Williston has always been the county seat.[2]

County Courthouse

Williams County Courthouse
Box 2047
Williston, ND 58802
Phone: 701.572.1729
Williams County Website
District Court Clerk has birth, marriage, death, burial, probate, court and naturalization records;
County Treasurer Recorder has land records;
Veterans Service Office has military records.[3]

Williams County, North Dakota Record Dates

Beginning Dates for Major County Records
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1903 1892 1903 1890 1890 1890 1880

Record Loss

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

Boundary Changes

30 November 1892: Williams County was created from Buford (Old) and Flannery (Old) Counties.

County seat: Williston [1]

Populated Places

The following are locations in the county[4]

Unincorporated communites
  • Athens
  • Barr Butte
  • Big Meadow
  • Big Stone
  • Blacktail
  • Blue Ridge
  • Bonetraill
  • Brooklyn
  • Buford
  • Bull Butte
  • Champion
  • Climax
  • Cow Creek
  • Dry Fork
  • Dublin
  • East Fork
  • Ellisville
  • Equality
  • Farmvale
  • Golden Valley
  • Good Luck
  • Grenora
  • Hardscrabble
  • Hazel
  • Hebron
  • Judson
  • Lindahl
  • Marshall
  • Missouri Ridge
  • Mont
  • New Home
  • Oliver
  • Orthell
  • Pherrin
  • Pleasant Valley
  • Rainbow
  • Rock Island
  • Round Prairie
  • Sauk Valley
  • Scorio
  • South Meadow
  • Springbrook
  • Stony Creek
  • Strandahl
  • Tioga
  • Trenton
  • Truax
  • Twelve Mile
  • Tyrone
  • View
  • West Bank
  • Wheelock
  • Williston
  • Winner
Defunct townships


Bible Records


Business, Commerce, and Occupations


Cemeteries of Williams 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.  %±
1880 14
1890 109 678.6%
1900 1,530 1303.7%
1910 14,234 830.3%
1920 17,980 26.3%
1930 19,553 8.7%
1940 16,315 −16.6%
1950 16,442 0.8%
1960 22,051 34.1%
1970 19,301 −12.5%
1980 22,237 15.2%
1990 21,129 −5.0%
2000 19,761 −6.5%
2010 22,398 13.3%
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 Bethesda Lutheran Church, Williams County, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at Archives.com ($).

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

  • Alamo - Appam - Corinth, North Dakota, golden jubilee, 1916 - 1966. 1966. S.l. : s.n. Online at:; At various libraries (WorldCat). comments.
  • Fort Union and the upper Missouri fur trade. 2001. By Barton H. Barbour. Norman, Oklahoma : University of Oklahoma Press. Online at:; At various libraries (WorldCat).
  • Grenora, North Dakota, golden jubilee, 1916-1966. 1966?. By Jubilee Book Committee of the Grenora Commercial Club. S.l. : s.n. Online at:; At various libraries (WorldCat).
  • Trail of the pioneers, 1900-1967 : Barr Butte, Good Luck, Orthell and Scorio townships, Gladys, Hanks, Howard and Zahl, North Dakota. P1967. By Project Committee. [S.l.] : [Project Committee]. Online at: {{FSbook|6458119}; At various libraries (WorldCat).
  • The Wonder of Williams; a history of Williams County [North Dakota]. 1975. By Marlene Eide. North Dakota : Williams County Historical Society (North Dakota). Online at:; At various libraries (WorldCat). Index in volume 2.

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.



Fort Buford State Historic Site
15349 39th Lane NW
Williston, ND 58801
Telephone Number: 701-572-9034 or 701-328-2666

Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site
15550 Hwy. 1804
Williston, ND 58801
Telephone Number: 701-572-9083

Frontier Museum
423 1st Ave. West
Williston, ND 58801
Telephone Number: 701-572-2258


Williams County Historical Society
519 11th Avenue W
Williston, ND 58801-4727

Pioneer Trails Historical Society, Hanks
2310 University Ave.
Williston, ND 58801
Telephone: 701-572-4759

Ray Opera House Museum Society
420 4th Avenue East
Ray, ND 58849
Telephone: 701-568-3437

Tioga Historical Society, Inc / Norseman Museum
P. O. Box 697
Tioga, ND 58852-0697
Telephone: 701-664-2702


Research Guides


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Williams_County,_North_Dakota 09/29/2016
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Williams County, North Dakota. Page 527 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Williams County, North Dakota," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Williams_County,_North_Dakota, accessed 16 November 2016.
  5. U.S. Census Bureau: Boundary Changes