Cascade County, Montana Genealogy
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- 1 County Courthouse
- 2 History
- 3 Places/Localities
- 4 Resources
- 5 Societies and Libraries
- 6 Websites
- 7 References
On September 12, 1887, "An Act Creating Cascade County, its Boundaries, provisions for its organization and the officers to fill the various positions until the first election," was passed by the Territorial Legislative Assembly. Cascade County had been formed from parts of Meagher, Choteau and Lewis and Clarke* Counties. Great Falls was designated as the County Seat until otherwise determined by law. Included in the Act were portions of debts incurred by the original counties that would be paid by Cascade County,money transfers from county treasurers to be paid to the Cascade County Treasurer for the support of schools in the new county, provisions for the election of county officials, and the powers and duties of the officials. 
*As was spelled in the 1887 Montana Code Book.
Great Falls is the largest city in Cascade County and the County Seat. There are a number of small towns left in Cascade County: Armington, Belt, Black Eagle, Cascade, Centerville, Fort Shaw, Hardy, Monarch, Neihart, Portage, Sand Coulee, Simms, Stockett, Sun River, Tracy, Ulm, Vaughn.
Some small towns have vanished, Montana is a newer State, so land offices have a record of the populated or once populated towns. Many people homesteaded farms and did not live in towns records. Homesteads records are part of the BLM or Bureau of Land Management and may not listed by county but by plot numbers. The County courthouse land records have the several types of records one type is plot.
The Cascade Counties all known cemeteries have been as completely organized and placed online and indexed.
The web site link is located through the usgenweb Montana, Cascade County site. This is a great tool to located family members.
The names and dates are recorded according to the transcribed cemetery records, from the records or headstone. The sources were hard to read so the best guess is what had to be recorded olione for the web site.
Remember that headstone information was inscribed by a third person with information given a time of great stress. (Some headstones were homemade and placed at a grave site years after the death of a family member. My father Ernest Somppi made a headstone for his sister who died before he was born. These headstones are symbols of love and service, that are some times records of memory of someone life. My aunts name and dates were a bit different than her death certificate so it took my family 100 years to obtain the death certificate.)
This web site is a great service to people who have relatives placed in the Cascade County graves.
Cascade County Courthouse is located at 425 Second Ave North, old stone structure. The Clerk and Recorder office is located on the main floor in the East end of building. Local US Census film readers are avalible. The deeds and land records office is also on the main floor.
Naturalization records are not at the courthouse. Plot records are very helpful. The staff are very helpful.
Many communities have published histories of the area.Example: Great Falls Memories, A Photo album - 1884 to 1939. A compilation of photo histories of the city, transportation, people, commerce, industry, education, community, disasters, recreation & celebrations, business profiles. This a typical type of project that cities and commumities undertake to commerate the subject.
In each area photos from private and public collections have identified families members and people. Some books contain photos of people who were notable or have relatives still in the Great Falls or a similar area. Few family history might be related to the articles but historic color is very well illistrated in similar books. Archival photos do show decade styles of fashion, architecture, and social moments like baseball in 1914.
Smaller communities produce history books that seem to have more family histories of the the people who lived in the areas. These books are compiled by local groups and people usually by asking known relatives to write a family history for their family and include photos if they can. These books may also contain researched lists of teachers and ministers of churches that passed through the communities. Small histories may cover time periods from the end of the 19th Century: For example the history Valley Ventures for the Simms & Fort Shaw, Montana communities starts with the building of Fort Shaw established by the 13th US Infantry in 1868 - 1869 at the Sun River in the Missouri River Basin. (The Buffalo Soldiers were stationed at the Fort Shaw later. Also my Grandfather Arthur Foxall was one of the men hired to dismantle the Fort in the mid 1920's.) This book has biographical family histories and copies of old letters. This book was a book produced by regualar people before computers and personal printers there are not dates when the book was printed. Dating the book is not important for this book because all histories have been authored.
Small community histories have recorded thousands family histories for people who were just a line on the US Census pages this maybe the only record of these people.
While trying to locate some community histories do not mention the community in the title of the book so search for the books by subject or surname. Historical centers in local, county, states most likely have some reference to all communities planned or published histories. Families will only be mentioned in community histories if they were known by or had contact with a person related to the project editors.
The Salt Lake Family History Library has copies of many of the community history books. Most if not all of these types of books were on limited printings and were only published once. The undertaking to publish a community history is such a big project that a history of many communities are only published once. Many of the books might be avalible through inter-library loan service. Inter-library loan service can be checked out in any USA main county library.
A few communities histories do surface in used book sales online and in book stores. Most of the time these used books will cost far beyond the orginal price that they were sold for orginally. So do not purchase the book unless you have checked the contents to see if the cost of the book warrants the possible family information that could be of use found in this type of history.
For marriages from 1887-1890 see Western States Marriage Index.
For marriages from 1887-1950 and indexes from 1887-1953 see Montana, Cascade - Marriage records, 1887-1950 ; Index 1887-1953
Societies and Libraries
Cascade County Genealogical Library is located at 1400 First Ave. North. The block is on Central Ave in the center of Great Falls, Montana. The Library is located on the top floor in the beautiful former Paris Gibson Junior and before that High School. Guest parking is from 14th Street a oneway street going south. Check to see if the Library is open and what the cost to use the library resourses and if they are handicap friendly. Public Transportation does pass by this area.
Great Falls Public Library is located at 301 Second Ave North on a oneway street going west. This the main Cascade County Library. Historical and Genealogical records are located in the Montana room. Some records are avalible on request such as Naturalization records. Indexes and a catalog help to located records, the Librarian has to get some records from a holding room. City directories are from early county history years, book collections are of local interest. Copy policy changes from time to time. The Montana Room is only open to the public during special hours, call to make sure that you can visit on the right days, parking fee is enforced in the side lot.
LDS Family History Center is located 1401 Ninth Ave Northwest. The FHC is in the LDS Stake Center in an area on the West of the Missouri River and North of Central Ave West. The church building is blocks away from the CMR High School but may not be on any public transportation route. Call to make sure they are open, the phone number can be found on www.familysearch.org All FHC records vary from Library to Library and each Library has a different selection of books. No fee to use FHC for research.
Cascade County Historical Society Museum - Archives is located at 422 Second Street South, Great Falls, Montana
Tel: (406) 452-3462 Relocated in the early 2000's to a larger restored warehouse. They have a large archives to research and a holdings of past artifacts and there is a fee. No web site as of 2009. They stock community history books and local biographies to view and avalible for purchase.
- Cascade County Montana Web Site
- USGenWeb project. May have maps, name indexes, history or other information for this county. Select the state, then the county.
- Family History Library Catalog
- Information from http://www.co.cascade.mt.us/?p=aboutus
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).