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Archives - Census Records - 1800s

Census: $5.00 per household, per location, per census. (Form available in PDF format)

  • 1850 Minnesota census includes Pembina County
  • 1850 and 1857 Pembina County, printed index
  • 1860, 1870, 1880 Dakota Territory (indexed)
  • 1885 Northern Dakota Territory, North half only (indexed)
  • 1890 North Dakota, Civil War Veterans and Widows (indexed)

1850 and 1857: These records consist of typed abstracts of the names listed in the census with the location roughly defined by the nearest trading post. The record includes the age of each person, occupation if over 15, and place of birth by country or state. You need to know the full name of the person. Spelling varies for many names.

1860, 1870 and 1880: Microfilmed copies of the original records are arranged by county or by military posts in unorganized areas, and record the age, occupation and place of birth of each family member. The 1870 census indicates if a person is of foreign birth and the 1880 census adds the relationship of each individual to the head of the family. You need to know the full name of the person. The location of the person at the time of each census is helpful in case of duplication or similarity of names in the index.

1885: The Dakota Territory 1885 Census database was developed by the Institute for Regional Studies in cooperation with NDSU Libraries, the State Historical Society, and volunteer indexers. It contains over 128,000 names, which is more than two-thirds of the total population for the northern half of Dakota Territory at that time. Extracting the census data has been a cooperative project involving Jane Skjei, NDIRS volunteer (Fargo); George Barron of Jamestown; Donald Smith of Mandan; and Carol Norsby.

This database is not yet complete. It contains information for forty-eight counties, excluding Sargent and Grand Forks. The latter has been indexed by the University of North Dakota, Chester Fritz Library, Department of Special Collections, and is available in print format. Missing county schedules include Boreham, De Smet, Flannery, Hettinger, Sheridan, and Stevens.

Microfilmed copies of the original records for the Northern half of Dakota Territory are arranged by county, and include age, occupation and place of birth (country or state) of each individual in the family. Listings for some counties are missing, location of the boundary lines of the county may vary from present day, and some parts are too faded to read. A map is provided at the beginning of each roll to aid in research. The 1885 census is available for interlibrary loan and should be requested by county.

1890: Only Union Civil War Veterans and Widows of Veterans are listed in this census. Most 1890 population schedules were destroyed or badly damaged by fire, but the few surviving segments are arranged by county on one roll of microfilm. The 1890 special census gives information about the military service of each veteran named and the post office address of each person listed at the time of the enumeration. You need the name of the individual and the county of residence at the time of the census.

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