Institutional records are another class of collections that should be part of one’s genealogy research repertoire. Although most of your ancestors may not have spent time in an institution, I’ll bet that almost every family tree has several that have. So they are worth your effort to research.
Here are a few good primers for searching institutional records:
- FamilySearch – Institution and School Records
- Finding Your Ancestors in Poor House or Poor Farm Records
- Researching Ancestors in Asylums
What kind of institutions and types of records can we discover?
- Poor Farm
- Orphan Train
- Mental Hospital
- Institutional School
- Correctional institutions
Acquiring records from each of these types of institutions may be difficult because of privacy concerns, but they are worth the effort.
Below you will find free online institutional records you can use to help you discover more about your relatives who have spent time in an institution.
Note: Some of the links listed take you to a FamilySearch Collection of digital images. Near the bottom of the page under Film/Digital Notes is the name of each sub-collection. If there is a camera icon at the right of the name (in the Format column) then the collections’ images are browsable. If there is a camera with a key icon, it is only available at a Family History Center or affiliated library. If there is a film reel icon, then it is only available in microfilm format, not digital. To take full advantage, please make sure that you are logged in to FamilySearch. The results may be different if you are signed in, rather than not.
(Updated August 2023)
North Dakota Free Online Institutional Records
- Emmons County, Naturalization Records, Applicants Convicted of a Crime, 1886-1955
- North Dakota, World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, Prisoners, Insane, In Hospitals, 1917-1918
- Stutsman County, Jamestown State Hospital Cemetery AKA North Dakota State Hospital Cemetery
- Stutsman County, Old Jamestown State Hospital Cemetery
- Traill County, Poor Farm Cemetery
- Traill County, Poor Farm Census Records
- Walsh County, Grafton State Cemetery AKA Cemetery of the ND Developmental Center
For all Free North Dakota Links, click on the category of interest:
Probate and Wills