Mountain State Resources: Montana

by Claire V. Brisson-Banks

This is the upper end of St. Mary Lake and Wild Goose Island, Glacier National Park in Montana, we have Ken Thomas for providing such a beautiful picture of this area. It looks so peaceful and inviting.

Historically, Montana was home to various indigenous peoples for thousands of years throughout the area. A map showing each of these tribes, their locations and locations to the their reservations is available on the American Indians in Montana website. This would be very helpful if any of your ancestry is from one of these tribes.

Montana territory was part of other states and territories as well as being disputed by the British. Carefully map out who owned what part of Montana and the matching dates to know where records may be located. We have Montana as part of the Dakota, Idaho, Oregon, United States and Washington Territory.

Between the homestead act, the desert land act, gold, railroads, farming and the wild life Montana had a lot to offer but still didn’t become a state until 1889 and became the 41st state in the union.

Land records from the US Bureau of Land Management can provide some great information on those who settled in this area through the land patents and tract books and counties have recorders who kept their records too.

According to the FamilySearch Research Wiki, 1878 is the earliest date for birth records and many vital records are available online on various websites.

Military records are a good source of information for those researching Montana. From wars with the Indians, like Custer’s last stand and many others, to all the wars throughout the years, there are enlistment records, casualty lists, pensions and  memorials for those who died in the war. Besides the Family Search Research Wiki one can also check out the New Horizons Genealogy and the National Archives.

There are many more records available to help you as you search for your Montana ancestors. Checking out the Montana Research Tips and Strategies to provide you with a lot of guidance as you continue your research in this beautiful state.

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