Montana Death Records and Death Index

It may surprise you to learn how often genealogists face this particular set of circumstances. They are aware of when their ancestor was born, when they may have married, when their children were born but they just can’t find out when they died.

There are a fair few instances where the only information missing is the death date which can be very frustrating. This is why knowing what death records may be available to you can be vital in your research.

It is important to note that one of the biggest issues in finding a death record can be looking in the wrong place. You may be surprised how often people miss records because they are looking in the wrong county and sometimes even the wrong state.

In this post we will be looking at Montana state death records and indexes to try and help you find those elusive ancestors. So if you are confident that your ancestor likely died in the state of Montana then read on and hopefully we can help you out.

About Montana

Montana is a relative late comer to the Union having been admitted as the 41st state on November 8th 1889. It is the fourth largest of all the states based on area but is one of the least populated with an average of six people per square mile.

The state gets its name from the Spanish word montana which means mountain. A very obvious name considering the very mountainous terrain of the region. The natural beauty of this state is evidenced by Yellowstone National Park which lies partially in the southern part of the state.

Social Security Death Index 1935 – 2014

All American citizens, naturalized immigrants and resident aliens require a Social Security number for proof of identification and authorization to work. This number follows us throughout our life and when we die this nine digit code is very important.

The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is a database of death records that was compiled from the United States Social Security Administration Death Master File. This was until 2014 when the rules changed and public access to the Death Master File had to take place through a certification program.

Those researching the deaths of ancestors in this state will likely find that most people who have died between 1936 and 2014 can be found on the Social Security Death Index. This does however only hold true if the person had a Social Security number when they died.

It is estimated that since 1973 the SSDI recorded 93% to 96% of the deaths of individuals aged 65 or over. The index was updated frequently and by June of 2011 there were 89,835,920 records available.

The index can be found on websites such as FamilySearch and and offers details such as:

  • Given name and surname (middle initial since the 1990s)
  • Date of birth
  • Month and year of death (Full date of death for accounts active after 2000)
  • Social Security number
  • State or territory Social Security number was issued
  • Last place of residence when alive including ZIP code

Click here to search Social Security Death Index 1935 – 2014

U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007

This is more or less an extension of the information you can find from the Social Security Death Index. It has been extracted from the SSDI records but features more details. It does not include all of the names found in the SSDI however but there are at least 49 million names included.

In this record you may find additional information such as:

Date and place of birth

Parents names if deceased would be over 75 when you are viewing the records (may be redacted if under 75)

Citizenship status


Sometimes race or ethnic group

Click here to search U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007

Montana State Deaths 1907 – 2018

This is an index of all the state reported deaths between the beginning of standardized record keeping until 2018. There are no images of the actual death certificates but you can find out the certificate number so that you can order a copy for a fee from the state.

Click here to search Montana State Deaths, 1907-2018

Montana, County Births and Deaths, 1840-2004

This collection is found at FamilySearch, a free website created by the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints out of Utah. Their whole collection of online records are free to view and use as long as you sign up for an account.

In this collection you will find death registers and certificates for several counties in the state although not all of them.

Click here to search Montana: County Births and Deaths, 1840-2004 from FamilySearch

Death Records Indexes, Obituaries and Cemeteries - County Listings

The state of Montana as mentioned is a very sparsely populated region and many inhabitants live to some extent off the grid. This can be problematic with vital records so there is little wonder there are limited genealogical resources in the state.

Of the 56 counties in Montana only a small portion of them have online death records and indexes but thankfully there are some.


As mentioned, compared to some states, vital records in Montana are thin on the ground to say the least. But there are still some options to help you to potentially find your ancestors' death records. It should be noted however that deaths predating 1907 may be harder to find records for as they may not have been recorded even at the county level.

Neil Edwards

Neil Edwards

Genealogist and family-tree research specialist

Neil was born in Shropshire, England surrounded by centuries of living history. His interest in the past has been a lifelong passion leading to undergraduate degrees in both Economic History & Geography and History & Politics.

This interest in history quickly translated to family history when he moved to the U.S. in 2010. It was here that he began working on his own family tree as well as that of his American wife. That research allowed him to gain a wealth of experience working with both U.S. and European genealogical documents and studying their best uses in researching family history.

Following 9 years of honing his genealogical research skills, Neil was proud to have earned a certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University in late 2019. Neil also took part in the research process for a Duke University study into the families of 19th Century UK Members of Parliament.

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