COUNTY COURTHOUSE RECORDS IN MONTANA ©
This site provides the following information on Montana county courthouse records:
A summary of suggestions from the county clerks which will facilitate their search and provision of county documents.
Map, Names & Information on Montana's 56 counties.
- If you will review these suggestions carefully, your time and effort will be rewarded with better results.
- A bit of history - when and from what area(s) the county was formed.
- Name and zip code of the county seat.
- Where to write for records.
- Years for which records are available.
- 1996 Fees for records and copies.
Such records as birth & death certificates, deeds, marriage licenses, naturalization records, leases, military discharges and probate records are located in Montana's county courthouses. To provide accurate information for this page, questionnaires were sent to each of Montana's 56 County Clerk & Recorder offices and to each of our 56 Clerk of the District Court offices on March 29, 1996. The questionnaire asked for current addresses and phone numbers, earliest years for specific records, and costs for document copies and searches. Clerks were also asked to provide information which they felt would help their office as well as the genealogist facilitate the process of obtaining documents.
County Seat: Hardin. Much of the present-day Crow Indian Reservation is in Big Horn County along with part of the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. The county was organized from parts of Rosebud and Yellowstone Counties in 1913.
- Please remember, following these guidelines can greatly assist you in your search for records!
Make your letters concise and to the point. Do NOT include more than one or two requests at once, and be careful not to write confusing details of your family lines.
Provide complete information on an individual and event for which you need documents. Include all names that may have been used, including nicknames, alternate spellings, etc. List dates and type of event as completely and accurately as possible. If you don't know the exact date, specify the span of years you wish searched and be prepared to pay for searches that span several years.
Patience pays! Unless you already know the # of pages in a deed, or the exact cost of a document, don't send a specific amount of money in cash or a check. It is appropriate to send a signed, BLANK check, however, with a notation written, (preferably in red ink), UNDER the "$__________" line of the check which states, "Not to exceed $5.00", or any amount you wish to specify. If you don't care to do that, you will need to make your first letter a statement of what records you need and a request for them to send you a statement of charges. You can then send a check for the exact amount in a second letter.
- Always provide an S.A.S.E., (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope). Virtually all county clerks in our state have this requirement.
A number of county clerks asked that we relay to genealogists that their offices have limited personnel and are often swamped with paper work. Genealogical queries are done as a service which is outside of their realm of responsibility. They ask therefore that you exercise patience and courtesy in your transactions with their offices.
Several counties sent a sample of forms used to request birth or death records. It might be a good idea to follow the format in all requests for these records to insure that there will be no delay. The following information can easily be printed out on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper and submitted to a county office:
- Request for Birth Certificate:
- Date of Request
- Name of Person
- Date of Birth
- Mother's Maiden Name
- Father's Name
- Name of Requestor
- Relationship to Party, or Reason for Request
- Signature of Requestor
- Request for Death Certificate
- Date of Request
- Name of Deceased
- Date of Death
- Relationship or Reason for Request
- Signature of Requestor
30-Year Law: In 1995, a "30-Year Law" was enacted in Montana concerning birth and death records. Although several county Clerk & Recorder's Offices are not following this rule, the interpretation I've received from many of them and from the Department of Public Health and Human Services/Vital Records Office for the state of Montana is as follows: Copies of death and birth records that are less than thirty years old can be obtained only by the Mother, Father, Spouse or Child of the individual for whom the record is requested. Records more than thirty years old are open and may be released to a non-direct relative. The disagreement among offices seems to be in the area of those records over 30 years old. Some offices will release records for genealogical purposes to anyone, if the record is 30 years old. A few offices still require that the person receiving the older record is somehow related.
Clerk & Recorder, Big Horn County, P. O. Drawer H, Hardin, MT 59034 Telephone: 406-665-1506; Fax: 406-665-1608
Records available: Birth & Death from "1900's - varies"; Deeds, Mortgage, Leases: about 1925 - some earlier; Military service discharges: about 1925; Burial records: from about 1925.
1996 Fees: Certified Birth $5.00; Certified Death $3.00 ; Other copies $.25 per page
Clerk of the District Court, Big Horn County, 121 3rd Street West, Hardin, MT 59034-1905 Telephone: 406-665-1504
Records available: Marriage, Divorce, Probate, Criminal & Civil Court Records from 1913; Naturalizations from 1927.
1996 Fees: Certified marriage records: $2.50; Uncertified marriage records: $.50; Other copies $.50 for first 5 pages, $.25 per page thereafter.
Specific Comments from County Clerks: Need parental information for birth or death records.