Montana Genealogy Resources

Montana, the 41st state to join the union, has an interesting history because of the timeline of itself and its bordering neighbors.

Montana Territory was opened on 26 May 1862 and remained as such until 8 November 1889 when it achieved statehood. From the above 1866 map, you can see Montana’s neighbors – Idaho on the west, Wyoming to the south and Dakota Territory to the east.

The Dakotas were split into North and South Dakota just 6 days before Montana became a state, on 2 November 1889. Idaho became a state 8 months after Montana on 3 July 1890 and Wyoming followed one week later on 10 July 1890. Within a matter of 8 months, these former territories were all granted statehood.

Montana is geographically a very large state, but like other western states, has proportionally a much smaller population. The old cowboy song Home on the Range brings Montana to mind for me!

Although Montana didn’t become a state until 1889, territorial papers include vital records and military records, along with probate, prison and some tax records.

Montana’s population in 1889 was about 142,000. Today, just over 1,000,000 people call Montana home.

Here are some online resources to trace family members in Montana. Given the small population of the state, there are lots of resources to explore:

Access Genealogy – Montana

Billings Public Library – Local, Montana & Nearby Locations Genealogy

Central Montana Genealogy Society

Cyndi’s List – Montana

FamilySearch – Montana Records

GenWed – Montana Marriage Records

Great Falls Genealogy Society

Historical Societies – There are a number of local historical societies in Montana. Scroll down the FamilySearch page for the list.

Linkpendium – Montana

Missoula Public Library – Genealogy

Montana Genealogy Record Guides – RAOGK

Montana Genealogy Resources on Genealoger

Montana Historical Society Research Center

Montana State Genealogical Society –Links to online Montana records

Montana State University – Online Photo Galleries, Electronic Theses, Dissertations,, Proceedings, and Publications

Montana State University – Special Collections & Archives

MTGenWeb Project

New Horizons Genealogy – Montana

Resources for Local History & Genealogy – Library of Congress

University of Montana – Maureen & Mike Mansfield Library Digital Collections

Western Montana Genealogical Society

Yellowstone Genealogy Forum

Your Guide to Researching Montana Ancestors


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