Who We Are


The NDSGS was established in 1996. Early organizers felt that such a group could better help local societies coordinate activities, become informed on what other societies were doing, and as a group speak more strongly with respect to future legislation with one combined voice of North Dakota genealogical interests. A steering committee was formed and invitations for area society delegates were sent out. A constitution and by-laws were the business of the group for the first several meetings. One ongoing task has been to encourage the donation of genealogical information pertaining to North Dakota to the North Dakota State Archives. One early project of the group was to help in indexing the 1885 Dakota Territory census. That census index is now on line on pages of the North Dakota State Historical Society and the Instutute for Regional Studies of NDSU.

Non-profit status was established with the state and federal governments more recently. The group to date has generated an interest for local societies to make pre-1925 marriage records, and early school census records more easily available for use. The group has taken an interest in regulations of the State Health Department in the care and operation of cemeteries and their records. Compilation of cemetery books and indexes of funeral home records have been encouraged by this group.

Current Officers (2018-2019)

Erling Olson, President, Jamestown, ND Email Me
Daphne Drewello, Vice President, Bismarck, ND Email Me
Patrice Hartman, Treasurer, Regent, ND Email Me
Stephanie Kom, Secretary, ?, ND Email Me

Upcoming Officers (2020-2021)

Stella Papachek, President
Erling Olson, Vice President
Patrice Hartman, Treasurer
Position Open, Secretary

If you would like to become an individual or supporting member and receive our newsletter, contact our treasurer, Patrice Hartman. Or, fill out and mail this Membership Form.


Meetings are held three times a year in the months of April, July and October. The usual meeting date is the second Friday of the month at 1 PM Central Time at the Heritage Center in Bismarck.


Pat Ashley, Newsletter Editor 1, Email Me
Patrice Hartman, Newsletter Editor 2, Email Me

The NDSGS Newsletter is published three times a year. We welcome the submission of articles of interest.


The objectives of North Dakota State Genealogical Society (NDSGS) are to:

  1. Promote and encourage active interest in genealogy and history at the local, state, and national and international level.
  2. Retrieve and preserve historical and genealogical records.
  3. Foster Education and training in genealogical and historical research.
  4. Improve the availability and access to public records.
  5. Serve as a resource, advocate and coordinator for local genealogical and historical societies as well as other organizations interested in the purposes and objectives of the NDSGS.

5 Year Goals - Established in 2007

Indexing Projects

  1. Complete index of ND marriages online
    1. Pre 1925 ND marriage index
    2. Produce list of known missing records
  2. Index 1915 and 1925 ND state census
    1. Cemeteries not registered with health department
    2. Compile cemetery book for every county in ND
  3. Photography index of SHSND photo archives. Text database is searchable by subject, town and name.
Promote/ Communicate with people
  1. Advocating to government for our goals and objectives and genealogy in general
  2. Preservation/ Retention of Records
    1. Library campaign for records
  3. Cemetery records promote ND Health Department to educate/enforce record maintainence
  4. Promote communication/ interaction between genealogical societies and historical societies
  5. Grant writing for projects
  6. Coop with counties to obtain indexes for records at SHSND and other indexes to records
  7. ITD record management- presentation by Becky Lingle
  8. Nominate members for awards/ recognition
  9. Moorhead annual workshop and other events rent a booth-advertise
    1. Print meeting minutes in other newsletters
  10. Obtain feedback from groups and societies/ ideas/ observations
  1. Review existing laws certification of cemetery sextons


The repository for the NDSGS is on file with the North Dakota State Historical Society.

Accomplishments: Death Index

The North Dakota Death Index is now online. Website: https://secure.apps.state.nd.us/doh/certificates/deathCertSearch.htm

The index covers the time period of 1881 to about one year ago. It will be updated monthly. Not all of the early deaths were recorded so the early time period is not complete. Online ordering is available through the index.

The website is the result of an two year project by a committee composed of staff from the State Historical Society of North Dakota, the North Dakota State Genealogical Society (NDSGS) and the North Dakota Department of Health's Division of Vital Statistics.

The website was made possible by funding and support provided by the NDSGS, which received an initial grant of $1000 from the North Dakota Community Foundation. The Society was then able to raise more than $2000 in matching funds/donations from other genealogical societies and genealogists from North Dakota and other states.