North Dakota Historical Newspapers Online

The first issue of the Frontier Scout was published on 7 July 1864 at Fort Union, and with that issue, newspaper publishing began in the Dakota Territory. By 1874, 160 newspapers were being published within the Territory.

Newspapers contain a great deal of information for the genealogist and the historical researcher. For genealogists, newspapers may include birth and marriage announcements and death notices and obituaries. Individual newspapers provide information concerning local events throughout the ancestor’s lifetime, and state and national events that were instrumental in shaping lives. Newspapers become most useful to the genealogist when there is a lack of access to civil records for a community. Obituaries for example, can fill the gap when a death record cannot be found or is nonexistent. Newspapers may also provide note material important to the biographical details of our ancestors, for instance, being mentioned  in reference to a local event, a crime, or other newsworthy story may provide color to an otherwise bland details of civil events.

A law was enacted in 1905 in North Dakota, entitled the North Dakota Newspaper Law, and part of that law required that every official newspaper send 2 copies of its newspaper to the North Dakota Historical Society. This state mandated collection has enabled the State Historical Society to become the central repository for older editions of local newspapers. The North Dakota Historical Society, with the assistance of funding from NEH has placed some of this collection online. All newspapers in the Society’s collection, have been microfilmed and are available on interlibrary loan. An index of newspapers available at the Society (but not online), arranged by county name and city/town name, is available. We have supplemented the Historical Society’s digital newspapers with additional free newspapers found elsewhere online.

A search of the available paid repositories (membership websites) provides no additional historical collection for the state of North Dakota. It appears that they mainly have the same issues available as provided freely elsewhere. The collectionbelow includes

Second issue of the Frontier Scout, published on 14 July 1864
Second issue of the Frontier Scout, published on 14 July 1864


The United States Newspaper collection provides links to digital newspapers which can be found online from the historical to modern day. While most of these are free to view and download, some may not. In this case we try to provide a $ sign after the link to let you know the newspaper is found on a subscription website. We also feature transcriptions from historical newspapers when available. Also see our United States obituary collections.

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