State of Montana Genealogy

In the beginning of the 1740s, François and Louis-Joseph Verendrye explored the area that is now the state of Montana, representing France. In 1803, the Louisiana Purchase was made, which put most of what is now Montana into the hands of the United States. The western part of Montana belonged to England, prior to it being acquired by the United States. However, before the United States obtained it in 1846, as part of the Oregon Treaty, several American forts and posts had been started in the area. There were several types of mining industries that kept Montana economically sound in its early days. Some of those mining industries were: Copper, Lead, Zinc, Silver, Coal, Oil. See also Montana History Page for more Details

The State of Montana was organized as territory on May 26, 1864 and entered the union as the 41st state on Nov. 8, 1889. It has 56 Counties.

Select a Montana County Below

Getting Started with Montana Family Trees and Genealogy

Some Helpful Tools for Montana Genealogy Projects - Montana is a large place, known as “big sky country”. It is also a region that has seen a tremendous amount of activity in terms of the inhabitants and travelers who have passed through or settled in the area. The Native American culture is a large part of the state’s history, but there are also many other groups with histories within the borders as well. This is why so many seek for Montana genealogy information, and why so many resources are available.

Your First Steps for Montana Genealogy Research - The most common modern approach to finding answers is to head to a computer. This is something that you can do as a first step in the search for Montana genealogy data as well. In fact, it is one of the smartest things to do because it prevents you from making unnecessary trips to archives or libraries that have already made their materials available online. It is also a way to obtain some basic facts and to identify locations where more information for Montana genealogy projects is available.

Learning which of the resources for Montana genealogy will be available online, and which require a physical visit, can be viewed as the first essential step in getting materials for Montana genealogy research.

Basic Records for Montana Genealogy Investigations - Once you begin searching, you will see that public records are readily found in many locations, and for the most part are entirely “digitized”. You still need to understand how to seek them out, however, and the following categories are useful when seeking for Montana genealogy materials:

  • Vital Records – these include birth, marriage, divorce and death records from county, state, and national archives. They can also encompass military records, immigration and naturalization details, cemetery or obituary information, census records, newspaper items, and passenger lists and records as well. These tend to be available as online or offline resources for Montana genealogy.
  • State Records – this group includes probate information, surname lists, state census information, private manuscripts, newspapers, military or veterans information, marriage details, maps, land records, genealogical folders, estate information, deeds, death records, cemetery information, birth certificates and more. These are available as online and offline resources for Montana genealogy.
  • Local Records – normally any state research begins when you visit a county clerk’s office or website. From there you can more efficiently search historical societies, local genealogical societies, small local libraries, and school or college libraries for Montana genealogy information. These are items that are usually offline and viewable by appointment or special arrangement.

Primary Resources for Montana Genealogy Materials - The following sources are going to give you the kinds of specific resources needed for Montana genealogy research:

  • Office of Vital Statistics, MT Dept. of Public Health and Human Services, 111 N Sanders, Rm. 209, P.O. Box 4210, Helena, MT 59604; Website: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w/montana.htm. This is where you may order birth, death, marriage and divorce records via a written request or even through an online form.

Additional state and local records can be found at the:

  • Montana Historical Society, 225 N Roberts St., PO Box 201201, Helena, MT 59620-1201; Website: http://montanahistoricalsociety.org/research/. A major resource for anyone seeking for Montana genealogy materials, it has a fully digital archive, newspapers, place names, memory projects, African American resources, farming and ranching information, Native America resources, and more.

Also, consider using the Montana History and Genealogy page at: http://www.montanagenealogy.com/, and another resource from the state at: http://www.montanahistoricalsociety.org/research/library/genealogyresearch.asp

Also, these three websites give researchers a lot of state-specific details for those in search for Montana genealogy data.

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