Death Registers Kept by Township
and Village Clerks
Transcribed and compiled
Before the middle 1940's vital records in North Dakota including death registers were processed by designated township and village clerks who acted as registrars for what ever agency was in charge. Our present Divison of Vital Records as a part of the North Dakota State Department of Health began in the early 1920's.
Some time during 1940's, the Vital Records Division turned those registrar jobs over to the county clerks of court. Earlier registrars at that time were given instructions to turn in their vital records registers to the county clerk. Stutsman County has sixty-four townships, and at that time about a dozen or so villages. Fifty-eight of those registers, owned by the county, now exist. These fifty-eight include multiple books for some villages or townships. It is not known whether some were just not turned in or were turned in and lost. Probably not all townships or villages were designated as registrars. This is another way of saying that many people who died in the county are not included in this index. Even though they are not found in this index, they may have death certificates on file at Vital Records in Bismarck.
The fifty-eight books that now exist in the county are listed on the next page. The index does not contain all of the information found in the actual register. Some columns had to be left out and others shortened to meet space available and keep the print large enough to read. For example parent's names often had to be shortened. Places of birth in the index often use just the current two letter designation for states, without giving the city location in the state, even if that was given in the register.
There are many cases of creative spelling of names and places in this index. Remember that what is indexed is a hand written register of what the clerk thought he read on the death certificate. So this index is a copy of a copy of the original death record. No attempt was made to make any corrections in spelling, unless the handwriting was just unreadable. In that case, name spelling was developed from other databases available such as cemetery records, obituary indexes, school census indexes etc.
The 58 original rural death registers are now held by Karen Samek, County Recorder, Stutsman County Courthouse, Jamestown, ND 58401. Our James River Genealogy Club did keep the photocopies of the original used to transcribe this index. If you want a copy of the original and have no luck with the County Recorder, send $2 cash or check made out to the club to George L. Barron, 8399 33rd St. SE, Jamestown, ND 58401-9655.
Copyright 2001 by George L. Barron
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