Montana Counties records vary widely from county to county in both quality as well as quantity. Some have been carefully maintained and some have been much neglected and neglected. A certain amount of Montana records have purely vanished.

For genealogists doing research in Montana there is no effective replace for an on-site search of county courthouse records. For Definitions of all court terms see the Genealogy Encyclopedia.

Montana Counties – Montana is divided into 56  counties. Montana State Government is located in Helena.

County seats in Montana are the location of the county clerk and recorder (vital records and deeds) and the clerk of the district court (probate and court records). The latter includes civil and criminal files and naturalization’s.

See also a list of links to county and county seat government run websites.

List of Montana Extinct Counties

Map of Montana Counties
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Map of Montana Counties

Montana has counties that no longer are in existence. They were organized by the state, provincial, or territorial government. A lot of these counties were established and disbanded within the 19th century; county boundaries have modified very little since Nineteen hundred in the vast most of states. These counties need to be checked out when you are performing genealogy research. Pay attention where the courthouse records went to if the county was abolished or combined with some other county.

  • Big Horn County, Montana: created by the Territorial Legislature in 1865, renamed Custer in 1877
  • Edgerton County, Montana: created by the Territorial Legislature in 1865, renamed Lewis and Clark County in 1867

List of Montana Counties with Burned Courthouses

Montana burned county courthouse
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The destruction to Montana courthouses significantly has a affect on genealogists in every way. Not only are most of these historic buildings ripped from our lifetimes, so are the records they housed: marriage, wills, probate, land records, and others. Once destroyed they’re gone forever. Even though they have already been put on mircofilm, computers and film burn up as well. The most heartbreaking side of this is the reason that almost all of our courthouses are destroyed at the hands of arsonist. Though, you cannot assume all records were lost. Many Montana counties have experienced a loss of records due to courthouse fires, floods, and theft.

List of Montana Counties

List of Montana Counties

CountyDate FormedParent CountyCounty Seat
Beaverhead1865Montana Territory as a Original County Dillon
Big Horn1913Rosebud and Yellowstone CountiesHardin
Blaine1912Chouteau CountyChinook
Broadwater1897Jefferson and Meagher CountiesTownsend
Carbon1895Park and Yellowstone CountiesRed Lodge
Carter1917Fallon CountyEkalaka
Cascade1887Chouteau and Meagher CountiesGreat Falls
Chouteau1865Montana Territory as a Original CountyFort Benton
Custer1865Montana Territory as a Original County called Big Horn County, name changed in 1877Miles City
Daniels1920Sheridan and Valley CountiesScobey
Dawson1869Unorganized landsGlendive
Deer Lodge1865Original CountyAnaconda
Fallon1913Custer CountyBaker
Fergus1885Original CountyLewistown
Flathead1893Missoula CountyKalispell
Gallatin1865Original CountyBozeman
Garfield1919Dawson CountyJordan
Glacier1919Teton CountyCut Bank
Golden Valley1920Musselshell and Sweet Grass CountiesRyegate
Granite1893Deer Lodge and Missoula CountiesPhilipsburg
Hill1912Chouteau CountyHavre
Jefferson1865Original CountyBoulder
Judith Basin1920Cascade and Fergus CountiesStanford
Lake1923Flathead and Missoula CountiesPolson
Lewis And Clark1865Montana Territory as a Original County called Edgerton County, name changed December 20, 1867Helena
Liberty1920Chouteau and Hill CountiesChester
Lincoln1909Flathead CountyLibby
Madison1865Original CountyVirginia City
McCone1919Dawson and Richland CountiesCircle
Meagher1867Chouteau and Gallatin CountiesWhite Sulphur Springs
Mineral1914Missoula CountySuperior
Missoula1865Original CountyMissoula
Musselshell1911Fergus, Meagher and Yellowstone CountiesRoundup
Park1887Gallatin CountyLivingston
Petroleum1924Fergus CountyWinnett
Phillips1915Blaine and Valley CountiesMalta
Pondera1919Chouteau and Teton CountiesConrad
Powder River1919Custer CountyBroadus
Powell1901Deer Lodge CountyDeer Lodge
Prairie1915Dawson and Fallon CountiesTerry
Ravalli1893Missoula CountyHamilton
Richland1914Dawson CountySidney
Roosevelt1919Sheridan CountyWolf Point
Rosebud1901Custer CountyForsyth
Sanders1905Missoula CountyThompson Falls
Sheridan1913Valley CountyPlentywood
Silver Bow1881Deer Lodge CountyButte
Stillwater1913Carbon, Sweet Grass and Yellowstone CountiesColumbus
Sweet Grass1895Meagher, Park and Yellowstone CountiesBig Timber
Teton1893Chouteau CountyChoteau
Toole1914Hill and Teton CountiesShelby
Treasure1919Rosebud CountyHysham
Valley1893Dawson CountyGlasgow
Wheatland1917Meagher and Sweet Grass CountiesHarlowton
Wibaux1914Dawson, Fallon and Richland CountiesWibaux
Yellowstone1883Custer CountyBillings