Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.
view all


Please add profiles of those who were born, lived or died in Fargo, North Dakota.

Fargo is the county seat of Cass County and is the most populous city in the state.

Official Website


Historically part of Sioux (Dakota) territory, the area that is present-day Fargo was an early stopping point for steamboats traversing the Red River during the 1870s and 1880s. The city was originally named "Centralia," but was later renamed "Fargo" after Northern Pacific Railway director and Wells Fargo Express Company founder William Fargo (1818–1881). The area started to flourish after the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railroad and the city became known as the "Gateway to the West."

During the 1880s, Fargo became the "divorce capital" of the Midwest because of lenient divorce laws.

A major fire struck the city on June 7, 1893, destroying 31 blocks of downtown Fargo, but the city was immediately rebuilt with new buildings made of brick, new streets, and a water system. More than 246 new buildings were built within one year.

In 1905, Fargo became home to the Pence Automobile Company.

On Labor Day in 1910, Theodore Roosevelt visited Fargo to lay the cornerstone of the college's new library. To a crowd of 30,000, Roosevelt spoke about his first visit to Fargo 27 years earlier, and credited his experience homesteading in North Dakota for his eventual rise to the presidency.

Fargo-Moorhead boomed after World War II, and the city grew rapidly despite a violent F5 tornado in 1957 that destroyed a large part of the north end of the city. Ted Fujita, famous for his Fujita tornado scale, analyzed pictures of the Fargo tornado, which helped him develop his ideas for "wall cloud" and "tail cloud." These were the first major scientific descriptive terms associated with tornadoes.

North Dakota State University has grown rapidly into a major research university, and forms a major component of the city's identity and economy.

Since the 1970s, Fargo has been a major destination for refugee resettlement in the United States. This is due in large part to the presence of the non-profit Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, which facilitates resettlement, as well as a need for unskilled employment by Fargo businesses fueled by the region's low unemployment rate. Of the roughly 400 to 500 refugees that arrive in North Dakota each year, around 70 percent settle in Fargo.

Various waves of refugees have been resettled in Fargo, including Vietnamese and Cambodians in the 1970s and 1980s, Bosnians and Iraqi Kurds in the 1990s, Sudanese in the 2000s, and Nepali Bhutanese in the 2010s. In addition, many refugees from Somalia have migrated to Fargo after being resettled elsewhere in the United States; members of the large Somali community in nearby Minneapolis-St. Paul often recommend Fargo-Moorhead as a place for new arrivals to find employment and start a new life, a trend which increased noticeably after 2009. While some refugees in Fargo end up leaving for other cities, many stay, and some petition for family members to join them.

None of the 1996 movie Fargo was shot in Fargo, but in Minnesota.

On May 30, 2020 in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota peaceful marches turned to violence. At around 8pm CT tear gas was fired on rioters as they were previously ordered to disperse after becoming physically aggressive. Damages from the riot include damaged police vehicles, and the vandalism and looting of local restaurants, hotels, and banks. This resulted in Mayor Tim Mahoney declaring a state of emergency in Fargo and enforcing a curfew at 10pm on May 30. At around 11 pm the city came back under control.


The USS Fargo (CL-106)

The USS Fargo (CL-85)

Nat'l Reg. of Hist. Places