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Williams County, North Dakota Genealogy

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

County Information


The name comes from Erastus Appelman Williams. The County is located in the northwest area of the state.[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

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major Records[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1870 1892 1881 1890 1890 1890 1836
*State Dept. of Vital Records started births and deaths in 1923.
Full compliance by 1924.[5]

Record Loss

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

Boundary Changes

Populated Places

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit Hometown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[7]

Unincorporated communities
  • 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


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: "".

Before North Dakota was a state in 1889, parts of North Dakota were included in the 1836 Iowa Territory census (also known as Wisconsin Territory), 1840 Iowa Territory census, 1850 Minnesota Territory census, and the 1860-1880 Dakota Territory censuses.[8] See links listed below.

Territory and State Census Records

Federal Census Records

Federal Censuses were taken for the state of North Dakota starting in 1890, although no records survived. The 1900 Census is the next Federal Census available. For links to Federal census indexes, see North Dakota Census.

Church Records

List of Churches and Church Parishes

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.

Online Church Records
Lutheran Church

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.

Maps and Gazetteers


Military Records

Online Collections

These collections are unique to North Dakota. You will find nationwide databases for military records on U.S. Military Online Genealogy Records and North Dakota Military Records.

Civil War

World War I

For further information see North Dakota Military Records.

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

Social Security 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


Listed below are archives in Williams County. For state-wide archival repositories, see North Dakota Archives and Libraries.

North Dakota State University Archives
West Building 3551 7th Avenue N
Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing Address:
NDSU Archives
Libraries NDSU Dept #2080
PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Phone: 701-231-8914
Fax: 701-231-5632

Family History Centers

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries


Listed below are libraries in Williams County. For state-wide library facilities, see North Dakota Archives and Libraries.


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


Listed below are societies in Williams County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see North Dakota Societies.

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. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Williams, North Dakota," in,_North_Dakota accessed 8/28/2018
  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. Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 519.
  5. Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Rev. ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 1992), 562; Alice M. Hetzel, U.S. Vital Statistics System: Major Activities and Developments, 1950-95 (Hyattsville, Md.: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, [1997]), 58.
  6. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Williams County, North Dakota," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia.
  8. Alice Eichholz, ‘’Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County and Town Sources,’’ 3rd ed. (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 2004), 511. Free online version; FHL Book 973 D27rb 2004; WorldCat entry.