North Dakota Map & Atlas Guide

Any Historical North Dakota Map can indicate who owned specific property in the state and which towns held the county seat at the time.  This information is a valuable starting point for your research pointing you to the right location of records.

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North Dakota borders Minnesota, Montana, South Dakota and Canada.

Solving Research Problems with a North Dakota Maps – If you have started your family research, you might have experienced trouble with trying to identify North Dakota city borders and names that have changed over the course of time. This can make it difficult to understand where your ancestors’ information is kept.

Because North Dakota historic maps were usually commissioned by the county seat, they often display information about the county, including town names. Reading a North Dakota map from the time period you are researching can help tremendously in solving these problems by leading you to the correct town records. It can also give you other leads, such as the location of city directories or old post offices in North Dakota.

North Dakota Map of Counties

North Dakota Map of Counties

Choosing the Best North Dakota Map – If you have a large source of maps to choose from, try starting with the area where your ancestors resided and looking for the maps with the most detail.  You can determine a lot by seeing if the area was still rural or more developed, and how far it was to the nearest city.  This can shed light on your family’s lifestyle and occupation. Were they farmers who lived in the country, or merchants who traveled often to a nearby city?  A map can give you an idea of what occupations were possible.

There are many excellent old maps of North Dakota that can help with genealogical research. These maps can be used to retrace the residences and various steps taken by any ancestors who lived in North Dakota. In fact, that process is fairly easy because of the relatively low population of the state.

An index to Cartographic Records of North Dakota is available on microfilm at both the Historical Research Library and the State Archives. It is Series 1121. The Bureau of Indian Affairs holds the original records. Andreas’ Historical Atlas of Dakota and other atlases and plat books from 1884 can be found in several collections across the state of North Dakota, including at the State Archives.

A search of may reveal lists of atlases and county plat books that are available. County plat books and atlases from 1884, including Andreas’ Historical Atlas of Dakota, are housed at the archives as well as other repositories with North Dakota collections. A list of North Dakota county plat books and atlases is available.

North Dakota Map of County Formations For The Years 1812-1916

These North Dakota maps shows the historical changes to North Dakota counties from 1812 to 1916. This Interactive North Dakota map is made with the use AniMap Plus 3.0 & with the Permission of the Goldbug Company.

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North Dakota Map Abbreviations
unorg. = unorganized
g. = gained
w. = with
fr. = from
atmt. = attachment
exch = exchanged
nca.= non county area
ch. = changed

Ad  - Adams
Ba  - Barnes
Bil - Billings
Blh - Burleigh
Bns - Benson
Bot - Bottineau
Bow - Bowman
Brk - Burke
Cas - Cass
Cav - Cavalier
Dic - Dickey
Div - Divide
Dun - Dunn
Edd - Eddy
Em  - Emmons
Fos - Foster
GF  - Grand Forks
Gra - Grant
Gri - Griggs
GV  - Golden Valley
He  - Hettinger
Kid - Kidder
LM  - La Moure
Lo  - Logan
McH - McHenry
McI - McIntosh
McK - McKenzie
McL - McLean
Mer - Mercer
Mor - Morton
Mou - Mountrail
Ne  - Nelson
Ol  - Oliver
Pem - Pembina
Pie - Pierce
Ram - Ramsey
Ran - Ransom
Re  - Renville
Ric - Richland
Rol - Rolette
Sar - Sargent
Sdn - Sheridan
Si  - Sioux
Sl  - Slope
Stk - Stark
Stl - Steele
Stu - Stutsman
Tow - Towner
Tra - Traill
War - Ward
Wel - Wells
Wi  - Williams
Wsh - Walsh

North Dakota Maps & Atlases

1880 Dakota Atlas MapThe David Rumsey Historical North Dakota Map Collection is scanned from original copies so you can see North Dakota as our ancestors saw them over a hundred years ago.

Some North Dakota map years (not all) have cities, railroads, P.O. locations, township outlines and other features useful to the North Dakota researcher.

North Dakota Map of D.O.T. County Road and Highway’s

North Dakota County DOT MapThe North Dakota Department of Transportation is pleased to provide highly detailed county maps online. These maps contain more detailed information about man-made features than the geological survey maps. In addition to roads and boundaries, these maps include rural communities, churches, and cemeteries.

There are also Current North Dakota City and TownHighway Maps available.

These maps are downloadable and are in PDF format. The main use of these are the locations of all known cemeteries in a county and of course the various roads and church locations. These Maps are Free to Download

External North Dakota Map Links

U.S. State Map Guides