Old Historical City, County and State

Maps of North Dakota

Discover the past of North Dakota through State maps in our online collection of old historical maps that span over 200 years of growth. View North Dakota Maps such as historical county boundaries changes, old vintage maps, as well as road / highway maps for all 53 counties in North Dakota.

Maps of North Dakota

MapGeeks Home Page ▶ Maps of North Dakota

Any old historical map of North Dakota can be very useful in conducting research, especially in light of the now extinct communities. Several kinds of maps are available which can help in locating land, ghost towns, or farms. Most historical maps of North Dakota were published in atlases.

Map of North Dakota County Boundaries and County Seats

Map of North Dakota County Boundaries and County Seats

An index to Cartographic Records of North Dakota is available on microfilm at both the State Archives and Historical Research Library. 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 http://www.nd.gov/ 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.

Sieur de la Verendrye led a group of French Canadians, who explored the area now known as North Dakota between 1738 and 1740.

The French ceded most of what is now North Dakota to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase, in 1803.

Then, from 1804 to 1806, Lewis and Clark explored the area. In 1812, settlers came and settled at Pembina. Those settlers were mainly Irish and Scottish and came to the area, despite the fact that Great Britain and the United States were still in disputes over the land.

A treaty between the two countries was signed in 1812, giving the northeast section of North Dakota to the United states. In 1823 Pembina came under United States ownership.

It wasn’t until the 1870s and 1880s, when the railroad came through the area, that large amounts of people began to settle in the region.

Map of North Dakota State with the Counties and the County Seats

Map of North Dakota State with the Counties and the County Seats

The Dakota Territory was created from Nebraska and unorganized territories on March 2, 1861. The Idaho Territory split off on March 4, 1863. Land was received from Idaho Territory on May 28, 1864. The Wyoming Territory split off on July 25, 1868. The State of North Dakota entered the union as the 39th state on November 2, 1889.

States bordering North Dakota are MinnesotaMontanaSouth Dakota and Canada. The 10 largest cities in North Dakota are Fargo, Bismarck, Grand Forks, Minot, West Fargo, Mandan, Dickinson, Jamestown, Williston and Wahpeton.

Old North Dakota Maps 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. Several types of maps are useful for genealogists.

Tracing the history of early families in North Dakota is much easier if the researcher has an understanding of the types North Dakota gazetteers and maps. In fact, that process is fairly easy because of the relatively low population of the state.

Old Historical Atlas Maps of North Dakota

This Historical North Dakota Map Collection are 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.

  • 1866 Map of Dakota Territory – This map shows The territory is largely unsurveyed. Surveying has only been completed in a few townships right along the Missouri River. The map shows the treaty line of July 23, 1851.
  • 1880 Atlas Map of Dakota Territory – Shows counties, Indian reservations, settlements, railroads, rivers, etc.
  • 1893 Map of New Mexico – from the Columbian World’s Fair Atlas by E.B. Rathbun. The map is shown with original factory coloring and outlining. Shows state and county boundaries, cities and towns Red lines separate counties, which are also clearly labeled.

External North Dakota Map Links

Map of North Dakota County Formations 1812-1916

This Interactive Map of North Dakota Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from 1812 to 1916.

North Dakota contains 53 counties. In 1867 the first North Dakota county was Pembina County and the last county to be formed was Grant County in 1916.

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North Dakota County Map Formation by Year

North Dakota Map Abbreviations

  1. unorg. = unorganized
  2. g. = gained
  3. w. = with
  4. fr. = from
  5. atmt. = attachment
  6. exch = exchanged
  7. nca.= non county area
  8. ch. = changed
  9. Ad  - Adams
  10. Ba  - Barnes
  11. Bil - Billings
  12. Blh - Burleigh
  13. Bns - Benson
  14. Bot - Bottineau
  15. Bow - Bowman
  16. Brk - Burke
  17. Cas - Cass
  18. Cav - Cavalier
  19. Dic - Dickey
  20. Div - Divide
  21. Dun - Dunn
  1. Edd - Eddy
  2. Em  - Emmons
  3. Fos - Foster
  4. GF  - Grand Forks
  5. Gra - Grant
  6. Gri - Griggs
  7. GV  - Golden Valley
  8. He  - Hettinger
  9. Kid - Kidder
  10. LM  - La Moure
  11. Lo  - Logan
  12. McH - McHenry
  13. McI - McIntosh
  14. McK - McKenzie
  15. McL - McLean
  16. Mer - Mercer
  17. Mor - Morton
  18. Mou - Mountrail
  19. Ne  - Nelson
  20. Ol  - Oliver
  1. Pem - Pembina
  2. Pie - Pierce
  3. Ram - Ramsey
  4. Ran - Ransom
  5. Re  - Renville
  6. Ric - Richland
  7. Rol - Rolette
  8. Sar - Sargent
  9. Sdn - Sheridan
  10. Si  - Sioux
  11. Sl  - Slope
  12. Stk - Stark
  13. Stl - Steele
  14. Stu - Stutsman
  15. Tow - Towner
  16. Tra - Traill
  17. War - Ward
  18. Wel - Wells
  19. Wi  - Williams
  20. Wsh - Walsh

North Dakota County Map of Road and Highway's

The North Dakota D.O.T. Highway Department has prepared a series of 2016 county road maps. 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.

North Dakota City Map of Road and Highway's

Map of North Dakota Major Cites

Map of North Dakota Major Cites

The North Dakota D.O.T. Highway Department has prepared a series of 2016 city road maps. 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.

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