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Fort Berthold Indian Agency (North Dakota)

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United States Gotoarrow.png American Indians Gotoarrow.png North Dakota Gotoarrow.png Indians of North Dakota Gotoarrow.png Fort Berthold Indian Agency (North Dakota) Guide to Fort Berthold Indian Agency (North Dakota) ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

The Fort Berthold Agency is a currently operating agency of the Bureau of Indian Affairs for the Fort Berthold Reservation. Its supervising office is the Aberdeen Area Office.

Indian Tribes Associated With This Agency[edit | edit source]

Arikara, Hidatsa (Minitari), Mandan, now known as the Three Affiliated Tribes.

History[edit | edit source]

The Fort Berthold Agency was established in 1864 from a division of the Upper Missouri Agency. At that time, the Arikara, Grosventre, Mandan, Assiniboin, and Crow Indians living near Fort Berthold on the Missouri River were under the jurisdiction of the Fort Berthold Agency. The Assiniboin, Crow, and some of the Grosventres were assigned to other agencies in 1869 and 1870. Agency headquarters was located at Elbowoods until the whole town was flooded in 1953 by the Garrison Dam project.[1] New offices were built in New Town, North Dakota.[2][3]

Agents and Appointment Dates[edit | edit source]

Upper Missouri sub-agency
1842 Andrew Dripps [4]
1846 T. P. Moore
1849 William S. Hatton, sub-agent
1853 Alfred D. Vaughn
1857 Alexander H. Redfield
1858 Bernard S. Schoonover
1859 John H. Charles
1862 Samuel Latta
1864 Mahlon Wilkinson (March 2)
1869 Capt. Walter Clifford (June 25)
1871 John E. Tappan (February 17)
1873 Lyman B. Sperry (September 22)
1875 Charles W. Darling (September 23)
1876 Edwin H. Alden (November 20)
1878 Thomas P. Ellis (September 26)
1879 Robert S. Gardner (special) (August 31)
1880 Jacob Kauffman (April 16) [5]
1893 John S. Murphy
1895 F. Glenn Mattoon
1897 Thomas Richards [6], Walter Lee (Kelly), chief clerk
1902 Amzi W. Thomas (august), Glenn Matton, chief clerk

Records[edit | edit source]

Agencies and subagencies were created as administrative offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and its predecessors. Their purpose was (and is) to manage Indian affairs with the tribes, to enforce policies, and to assist in maintaining the peace. The names and location of these agencies may have changed, but their purpose remained basically the same. Many of the records of genealogical value (for the tribe and tribal members) were created by and maintained by the agencies.

Many records of Fort Berthold Agency have been transferred to the Central Plains Regional Archives of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Kansas City[7]. These agency records include many administrative files which have few references to individual Indians. However, the following records identified by Archives records inventories, may have great value to the family historian:

Many of these records have been microfilmed and are available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and at their many family history centers (their microfilm roll numbers 1249891 thru 1249895 and 1028523 thru 1028528)

Letters received by the Office of Indian Affairs from the Fort Berthold Agency, 1867-1880, have been microfilmed by the National Archives as part of their Microcopy Number M234[8]. Copies are available at the National Archives and at the Family History Library and its family history centers (their microfilm roll numbers 1661022 thru 1661029).

Reports of Inspection of the Field Jurisdictions of the Office of Indian Affairs, 1873-1900 have been microfilmed by the National Archives as part of Microcopy Number M1070. The reports for Fort Berthold Agency, 1873-1900, are on roll 13 of that Microcopy set[9]. Copies are available at the National Archives, their Regional Archives, and at the Family History Library and its family history centers (their microfilm roll number 1617686).

Annual Indian Census Rolls were taken at this agency for 1889-1893 and from 1895 thru 1939. These rolls have been microfilmed by the National Archives as part of their Microcopy Number M595, rolls 132 thru 136[10]. Copies of these records are also available at the National Archives, their Regional Archives, and at the Family History Library and its family history centers (their microfilm numbers 576487-576491). These census rolls are also available online at Ancestry.com's subscription web site.

Vital Records with Census FHL film: 576,490

The 1900 federal census included population schedules for the Fort Berthold Reservation. The census includes the non-Indian employees of the Fort Berthold Agency, as well as many pages of Indian Population Schedules for the native population of the Reservation. They are recorded as District 261, Fort Berthold Agency, in McLean County, North Dakota.

Microfilm copies of  ...Narrative and Statistical Reports... for the Fort Berthold Agency, 1907-1938, are included in National Archives Microcopy M1011, Rolls 46-47[11], available in the National Archives system and in the collections of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, beginning with their microfilm numbers 1724264-1724265.

Listings of the Indians living on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in 1915 and 1925 are included in the state census of North Dakota. The major portion of the 1915 enumeration is filed under "Fort Berthall (sic) Indian Reservation" in McLean County. However, there are many Indian families and individuals enumerated in other townships of McLean County and in other counties, as well.  The 1925 census includes listings for the Fort Berthold Reservation filed under the subdivisions of "Tribe Arickara," "Tribe Gros Ventre," and "Tribe Mandan."

References[edit | edit source]

  1. James Conner, Flathead Memo, "When the Garrison Dam flooded Elbowoods, North Dakota, convicts and southern gravediggers had to move the cemetary", 14 September 2016 https://www.flatheadmemo.com/archives_2016/september_2016/2016-09-14_elbowoods.html, last visited 16nov2019
  2. Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches. New York, New York: Clearwater Publishing Company, Inc., 1974, pp. 63-64.
  3. Hill, Edward E. (comp.). Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1981, p.159.
  4. U.S. Department of Interior, Office of Indian Affairs, Annual Report of the Office of Indian Affairs (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office); in Paul Felter, "Fort Berthold Indian Reservation: A Land Use Study to 1971" (1972). Theses and Dissertations. 828. https://commons.und.edu/theses/828
  5. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches. By Edward E. Hill. Clearwater Publishing Co., New York NY 1974. FHL Book 970.1 H551o
  6. Annual Report of the Department of the Interior 1901
  7. Guide to Federal Records, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75. Available online.
  8. American Indians: A Select Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications. Washington DC: National Archives Trust Fund Board, National Archives and Records Administration, 1998, Microcopy M234, p. 8.
  9. American Indians: A Select Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications. Washington DC: National Archives Trust Fund Board, National Archives and Records Administration, 1998, Microcopy M1070, p. 48.
  10. American Indians: A Select Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications. Washington DC: National Archives Trust Fund Board, National Archives and Records Administration, 1998, Microcopy M595, p. 51.
  11. American Indians: A Select Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications. Washington DC: National Archives Trust Fund Board, National Archives and Records Administration, 1998, Micrcopy M1011, p. 27.
  • American Indians: A Select Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications. Washington DC: National Archives Trust Fund Board, National Archives and Records Administration, 1998.
  • Hill, Edward E. (comp.). Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1981.
  • Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches. New York, New York: Clearwater Publishing Company, Inc., 1974.
  • Historical Sketches for Jurisdictional and Subject Headings Used for the Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880. National Archives Microcopy T1105.
  • Marquette University. Guide to Catholic-Related Records in the Midwest about Native Americans.
  • Preliminary Inventory No. 163: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Services. Available online
  • "Accompanying Pamphlet for Microcopy 1011", National Archives Microfilm Publications, Appendix.