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Montana State Genealogical Society

 

Montana State Death Registry Index

Pre-1954

&

1954 – 2002

 

 

The following instructions and information file was prepared by Del Harris and Paul Dunham to document the data sources, outline the contents of the indexes, as well as to indicate noted omissions.  It also identifies how the Pre-1954 data was collected, and how the accuracy was maintained. For further clarification contact the Webmaster. The information presented below on this site has been extracted from the CD ROM available from the Montana State Genealogical Society.

 

1- Collection and Preparation of Pre-1954 Death Records

 

The Montana Bureau of Vital Statistics and the Montana State Genealogical Society established a joint venture to computerize the Pre-1954 death indexes.  The Bureau arranged for the copying of the original vital records books [available at the Bureau of Statistics] and provided those copies to the Montana State Genealogical Society. 

 

Many of the “early years” deaths in Montana were not recorded either locally, or state registered. The earliest death in this file was recorded in 1882. Until a formal system was established well after statehood for reporting, the information about a person’s death often went unreported. In looking for an ancestor in these early years, the best sources are diaries, cemetery & grave records, biographies of either the individual, relative or a friend, bibles and occasionally news or magazine articles.

 

The pages were then scanned with optical character recognition (OCR) software and captured as Excel data files.  As to be expected, there were many problems in the transfer of the data, which required significant human interface to correct.  Members of the Society reviewed and edited each page and prepared separate data files.  These files then went through a series of edit checks to assure the greatest possible accuracy. 

 

Issues that could not be readily resolved by consulting the copied pages were referred back to the Bureau of Vital Statistics for further clarification.  The various columns of data from the pages then were then grouped and consolidated into one for meaningful information; e.g. separate columns for month, day and year of the death that existed in the original scanned pages, were consolidated into a single column, entitled “Date of Death”.  Further data verification to assure that the date was correct was then necessary. These completed Excel data files were then transferred into an ACCESS database, and grouped by ten-year increments from 1900 on, and one file for the Pre-1900 dates.

 

The final Excel files that form the core of the Pre-1954 Access data base contains the following column headings:  Index Number, Last Name, First Name, Middle, Sex, Age, Location, County Number, County Name, Item Number, Day, Month, Year, Date of Death and Comments.

 

 

 

There are several caveats related to the use of these data:

 

  1. The index numbers assigned by the Bureau of Vital Statistics, from the early 1800’s to 1918 have no county designations.  Anyone needing this information to find the death certificate would need to contact the Montana Bureau of Vital Statistics.
  2. If no death day or month was available a “1” was used in either instance.
  3. If the index number did not show a county prefix (after 1918), a “ZZ” was inserted to designate the county is unknown.
  4. Any child under a year of age is shown with an age of “–1”.
  5. Persons desiring to add the additional data (after 2002 death date) can purchase separate years from the State Bureau of Vital Statistics.

 

MT Dept. of Public Health and Human Services
Vital Records
P.O. Box 4210
Helena, MT 59604

 

 

 

 

 

Database Categories

 

The years in this Pre 1954 project have been collected into decades to support an Access database search routine available in the CD ROM only, as nearly as possible.  Thus, five separate decade access files were created:  1800-1919, 1920-1929, 1930-1939, 1940-1949 and 1950-1953.  [The “1800-1919” file includes items from the 1800’s through 1919 – the 1800’s and early 1900 files are relatively small.]

 

The primary reasons for this divisional grouping were:

 

  1. Avoiding large access files which would be difficult to utilize and,
  2. Following the recording practice established the Montana Bureau of Vital Statistics in their master database.

 

2 - Collection and Preparation of 1954 through 2002 Death Records

 

This material is a direct copy of the database material prepared by the Montana Bureau of Vital Statistics.  Both sets of indexes are similarly organized, but these records have less information presented, as the numbers of deaths have significantly increased.

 

A period (“.”) placed into the county field means that means it is an “Out of State” death record.

 

When printing data from the state’s death indexes (1954 – 2002), you should change the print mode to “landscape” to print the material on a single page.

 

The pages (from the CD ROM) will print in color, unless the printer mode is first changed to print in “black and white”.

 

An “*” alongside of the name in the attached files means that it is recorded in the fathers name. Either this person was stillborn, or was never named.

 

The Montana State Genealogical Society wishes to thank all the Society members who volunteered their time and effort to the project.  It is also acknowledged the project could not have been completed without the great assistance from James Edgar, Montana Bureau of Vital Statistics.

 

Prepared January 11, 2004

Helena, Montana

 

 

The 56 Montana County Code Definitions follow the name groupings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on: Sunday, October 11, 2009 (Corrected Address)

 

 

 

Death Index Listing in Ten-Year Groupings
 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

County Code Definition List (Records after 1953)

 

 

County Code Table for records Preceding 1954:

 

 

Code

County

Code

County

Code

County

Code

County

Ana

Deer Lodge

Fltd

Flathead

Lstn

Fergus

RL

Carbon

BH

Big Horn

Gal

Gallatin

Mad

Madison

Roos

Roosevelt

Blgs

Yellowstone

Gar

Garfield

MC

Custer

San

Sanders

Boz

Gallatin

GF

Cascade

Mc

McCone

SB

Silver Bow

Br

Broadwater

Gla

Glacier

Mgr

Meagher

Sdn

Sheridan

Bt

Silver Bow

Gld

Dawson

Min

Mineral

Stw

Sweetwater

Bvd

Beaverhead

Gra

Granite

Msla

Missoula

Swg

Sweet Grass

Car

Carter

GV

Golden Valley

Msla C

Missoula

TI

Toole

Cas

Cascade

Hav

Hill

Musl

Musselshell

Tn

Teton

Cbn

Carbon

Hel

Lewis & Clark

Pet

Petroleum

Tr

Treasure

Cho

Choteau

HI

Hill

Phil

Phillips

Val

Valley

Cus

Custer

JB

Judith Basin

Pk

Park

Wish

Flathead

Dan

Daniels

Jef

Jefferson

Pon

Pondera

Wh

Wheatland

Daw

Dawson

Kspl

Flathead

Pow

Powell

Wx

Wibaux

Dil

Beaverhead

La

Lake

PR

Powder River

Yel

Yellowstone

DL

Deer Lodge

LC

Lewis & Clark

Pra

Prairie

 

 

DL CY

Powell

Lib

Liberty

Rav

Ravalli

 

 

Fal

Fallon

Lin

Lincoln

Rbd

Rosebud

 

 

Fer

Fergus

Liv

Park

Ri

Richland

 

 

 

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