South Dakota Cemetery Records

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This entry was originally written by Laura Hall Heuermann and Marsha Hoffman Rising, CG, FUGA, FASG for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
the South Dakota Family History Research series.
History of South Dakota
South Dakota Vital Records
Census Records for South Dakota
Background Sources for South Dakota
South Dakota Maps
South Dakota Land Records
South Dakota Probate Records
South Dakota Court Records
South Dakota Tax Records
South Dakota Cemetery Records
South Dakota Church Records
South Dakota Military Records
South Dakota Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
South Dakota Archives, Libraries, and Societies
South Dakota Naturalizations
Native Americans of South Dakota
South Dakota County Resources
Map of South Dakota


In 1940 the Works Projects Administration (WPA) compiled a “grave registration” that attempted to document the cemeteries of South Dakota. Although incomplete, this survey included either surveys of what cemeteries were available in each county or actual cemetery records. It can be searched at the state historical society and is available through The Family History Library (FHL). In 1982 the periodical South Dakota Genealogical Society Quarterly began listing the cemeteries in the state and their locations.

As part of the WPA grave registration project, records of burials of Civil War veterans were completed for the following counties: Aurora, Beadle, Bennett, Bon Homme, Brookings, Brule, Butte, Charles Mix, Clay, Codington, Custer, Davison, Douglas, Fall River, Faulk, Gregory, Haakon, Hand, Hanson, Harding, Hughes, Hutchinson, Hyde, Jackson, Jerauld, Jones, Kingsbury, Lake, Lincoln, Lyman, McCook, Meade, Mellette, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Pennington, Potter, Sanborn, Shannon, Stanley, Sully, Todd, Tripp, Turner, Union, Washabaugh, and Yankton.

The Sioux Valley Genealogical Society (see South Dakota Archives, Libraries, and Societies) has received a number of grants from the Mary Chilton Chapter of DAR, which have been used to microfilm Minnehaha County cemeteries and those in some neighboring counties. The microfilm, also available through FHL, includes records of funeral homes in the county.

Rapid City Society for Genealogical Research published four volumes of Some Black Hills Area Cemetery in an ongoing publication effort begun in 1973. Other genealogical societies have been working diligently to transcribe cemetery records in their areas and publish them in the South Dakota Genealogical Society Quarterly or other local genealogical publications.

There is a national cemetery in South Dakota: Black Hills National Cemetery, P.O. Box 640, Sturgis, SD 57785.

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