North Dakota 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 North Dakota 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 North Dakota then read on and hopefully we can help you out.

About North Dakota

Purchased as part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the land we know as North Dakota was originally part of the Minnesota and Nebraska territories. This is until in 1861 when the area was organized into the Dakota Territory along with South Dakota.

There is some question as to North Dakota being the 39th or 40th state admitted to the Union. The thing is that North and South Dakota were both made states on November 2nd 1889 but they both wanted to be first to be signed in.

President Benjamin Harrison selected the bill he signed at random and took the secret as to which state was signed first to his grave. Generally speaking North Dakota is listed first but this is alphabetical no one really knows which statehood bill Harrison signed first.

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
  • Gender
  • Sometimes race or ethnic group

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

North Dakota, U.S. State Death Certificates, 1908-2007

When it comes to North Dakota they are very accommodating with regards to death certificates. In this collection there are images of death certificates from 1908 – 2007. It should be noted that some information however is whited out such as cause of death.

This collection is on so will require you to have a paid membership to the site. This would have to be a basic membership for those living within the U.S. or a World Traveler or equivalent subscription if you live outside of the country.

Click here to search North Dakota, State Death Certificates, 1908-2007

North Dakota Death Records Index, 1881 to Present

This is an online index located on the North Dakota Department of Health website. This has more latitude than the above collection in that you can search for records filed as recently as 12 months ago. You will not see a digital image but you can find the certificate number.

With a certificate number you can order a copy of the document for a small fee. There are restrictions however as to who can order the more recent documents. You will likely have to prove a familial relationship to the deceased or a legitimate reason for needing access to the death certificate.

Click here to search North Dakota Death Records Index, 1881 to Present

Death Records Indexes and Cemetery Burials by County

I often suggest looking at county level online records for deaths but when it comes to North Dakota there is not a lot to choose from. This doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying though.


When it comes to online death records for North Dakota the options are very limited. It is a state that gives great access to death certificates from a certain span of time and you can order copies for events as recent as a year ago.

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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