Monday, December 3, 2012

Useful Resource - North Dakota Records

I thought I'd write quick about a resource I just discovered, one that could be useful for any others doing any research in North Dakota.

I've been searching for more information on my Irish families, because so far they've been a pretty solid brick wall. I've been tracking down the siblings of my ancestor, Mary Ann Walsh Hurst, in hopes of finding more back from them all as far as parents' names, etc. Mary Ann's sister Anna married Thomas F. Ryan. They lived in the Arlington/Lodi area of Wisconsin but their son Vincent Ryan became a Bishop out in North Dakota. I had located the burial location of Anna and Thomas as well as there daughters, but did not have an exact birth or death date for Anna. This could help me confirm her parents' names, particularly the maiden name of her (and Mary Ann's) mother.

Recently I made a trip to St. Patrick's Cemetery where the Ryans are buried. Sadly their gravestones provided no more insight into Anna's dates. I called the church today and the secretary I reached was extremely helpful and willing to look through the old books. She found Anna's funeral information from the church. This gave me an exact death date, and helped me understand why I couldn't find Anna's death record in Wisconsin: She had died in Fargo, North Dakota.

I set to google searching for ways to find a death record from North Dakota, as I'd never really tried to in that state before. This is the resource I found and would like to share with you.

The North Dakota State University Libraries Archives:

They appear to have, or link to, a variety of useful online databases for anyone you might be looking for in North Dakota. Most valuable to me, they link to an online searchable Public Death Index. The search function is relatively user-friendly, and it also goes back pretty far. Most exciting for me was that it provided me an exact date of birth for Anna. I plugged her death information in and she came up right away, with an exact birth date and everything.

From there, like most Dept Vital Rec indexes, it provided a link to order your own copy of the death record.  Figuring it would be expensive, I clicked the link just for kicks, to see how expensive it would be. Wisconsin is $25 and most states are around that if not more expensive. To my shock the price to order a copy of a death record from North Dakota was only $5! I thought it might be a trick. No. This is extremely valuable and affordable if you're looking for records in North Dakota.

Just thought I would share. Enjoy!

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