South Dakota County Resources

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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
County Map of South Dakota

The South Dakota State Historical Society began a project in 1990 to survey the existing records at the county level. In the future, this information will be available at a central location. At present, there are some county records housed at the state archives, but many remain at the local level.

Inventories of county archives were made by the WPA, but were only published for the counties of Bennett, Buffalo, Clark, Faulk, Haakon, Jackson, Mellette, Miner, and Washabaugh. Unpublished materials were deposited at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.

The register of deeds holds land records, births (except for those adopted), death and marriage records; the clerk of the courts keeps probate records, divorce records, and civil and criminal court cases. Some of the records held by the state archives, such as adoption records, insanity records, and mother’s pension records have restricted access. Dates with (?) have not been verified by the state, but are assumed based on the best information presently available. Dates without questions are verified by publications or the county staff.

For some counties on the chart, there are two years listed for “Date Formed.” The first is the year the county was created; the second is the year it was fully organized if it differs from the creation year. Under the heading “Parent County/ies,” the term “unorganized” means that it was formed from non-county lands, and counties listed with an asterisk (*) are those to which the county was at one time “attached” before it was fully organized.

There were other name changes in counties whose existence was of short duration. For clarification, see Long, Historical Atlas (see page 18).


Map County County Address Date Formed Parent County(ies) Birth Marriage Death Land Probate Court
Armstrong (old) 1873 (abolished, 1879; became part of Hutchinson)Charles Mix/Hutchinson
Armstrong (present) 1883 (as Pyatt; renamed, 1895) Cheyenne/Rusk/Stanley *Lawrence
In 1952 Armstrong was abolished and became part of Dewey.
Ashmore 1873 (abolished 1875)
H5 Aurora P.O. Box 366, Plankinton 57368 1879 Brule——?——188218821882
Beadle (old) 1873 (abolished, 1879; became part of Brown)
H4 Beadle (present) P.O. Box 1358, Huron 57350 1873 (organized 1879) Clark/Spink Brule——?——1879?18821882
The state archives holds probate records, including inventories, appraisements, and wills (1882—1934); and justices’ court records (1882—1998).
D6 Bennett P.O. Box 281, Martin 57551 1909 (1912) Pine Ridge Indian Reservation *Fall River——1912——190719121912
J7 Bon Homme P.O. Box 6, Tyndall 57066 1862 unorganized——1874——186518771871
The state archives holds records (1871—1942).
Boreman 1873 (abolished, 1909; became part of Corson)unorganized *Campbell
Bramble 1873 (abolished, 1879; became part of Miner)Hanson
K4 Brookings 314 Sixth Ave., Brookings 57006 1862 (1871) unorganized——1871——1871————
The state archives holds records (1872—1955).
H2 Brown P.O. Box 1087, Aberdeen 57401 1879 (1880) Beadle (old)/Mills/Stone——?——1879?1879?1879?
The state archives holds records (1870—1950).
Bruguier 1862 (abolished, 1864; became part of Buffalo and Charles Mix)unorganized
G5 Brule 300 S. Courtland, Chamberlain 57325 1875 Old Buffalo——?——1875?1875?1875?
G5 Buffalo P.O. Box 148, Gann Valley 57341 1864 (1871) Bruguier/Charles Mix/unorganized *Bon Homme——1887188518841890
Parts of the original Buffalo County became counties in North Dakota.
Burchard 1873 (abolished, 1879; became part of Beadle and Hand) Hanson
A3 Butte P.O. Box 237, Belle Fourche 57717 1883 Lawrence/Mandan Harding——?——1883?1883?1883?
F1 Campbell P.O. Box 146, Mound City 57646 1873 (1884) Buffalo——?——1873?1873?1873?
H6 Charles Mix P.O. Box 602, Lake Andes 57356 1862 (1879) original——?——1875?1875?1875?
Charles Mix was fully organized in 1862, but was dissolved in 1864 and attached to Bon Homme. It was fully reorganized in 1879.
Cheyenne 1875 (abolished, 1883; became part of Jackson, Nowlin, Pyatt, and Sterling) Pratt/Rusk/Stanley/unorganized
Choteau 1883 (abolished, 1898; became part of Butte and Meade) Martin *Lawrence
J3 Clark P.O. Box 275, Clark 57225 1873 (1881) Hanson——1883——188118821885
K7 Clay P.O. Box 377, Vermillion 57069 1862 unorganized——?——1862?1862?1862?
J3 Codington P.O. Box 1054, Watertown 57201 1877 (1878) Clark/Grant/Gamlin/unorganized——1883——1877?1877?1877?
Cole 1862 (named changed to Union)
D2 Corson P.O. Box 175, McIntosh 57641 1909 Boreman/Dewey/Schnasse unorganized——?——1909?1909?1909?
Cragin 1873 (abolished, 1879; became part of Aurora) Hanson
A5 Custer 420 Mt. Rushmore Road, Custer 57730 1875 (1877) unorganized——1891——1875?1875?1875?
H5 Davison P.O. Box 927, Mitchell 57301 1873 (1874) Hanson——?——1873?1873?1873?
The state archives holds inventory and appraisement books (1915—45); and circuit court journals (1882—1930).
J2 Day 710 W. First St., Webster 57274 1879 (1882) Greeley/Stone——?——1879?1879?1879?
Delano 1875 (abolished, 1898; became part of Meade) unorganized *Lawrence
K3 Deuel P.O. Box 125, Clear Lake 57226 1862 (1878) unorganized——?——1862?1862?1862?
The state archives holds circuit court judgment dockets (1879—1931).
E3 Dewey P.O. Box 96, Timber Lake 57656 1873 (as Rusk; renamed, 1883) (1910) unorganized——?——1883?1883?1883?
H6 Douglas P.O. Box 36, Armour 57313 1873 (1882) Charles Mix——?——1873?1873?1873?
G2 Edmunds P.O. Box 384, Ipswich 57451 1873 (1883) Buffalo——?——1873?1873?1873?
The state archives has marriage records (1884—1917); miscellaneous probate records (1893—1958); wills (1884—1919); and circuit court records (1890—1902).
Ewing 1883 (abolished 1890)
A6 Fall River 906 N. River, Hot Springs 57747 1883 Custer——?——1883?1883?1883?
The state archives has records (1891—1915).
G3 Faulk P.O. Box 357, Faulkton 57438 1873 (1883) Buffalo——1885——188318841883
The state archives has records of the clerk of the circuit court (1883—1958).
Forsythe 1875 (abolished, 1881; became part of Custer) unorganized
K2 Grant P.O. Box 509, Milbank 57252 1873 (1878) Deuel/Hanson
Courthouse fire destroyed deed books 17-18 and mortgage books 10a, 18, 26, 28, and 29.
Greeley 1873 (abolished, 1879; became part of Day) Hanson
G6 Gregory P.O. Box 430, Burke 57523 1862 (1898) unorganized “Todd”/Charles Mix——?——186218621862
The state archives holds records (1899—1965).
D4 Haakon P.O. Box 70, Philip 57567 1914 (1915) Stanley——1915——189319151915
J3 Hamlin P.O. Box 256, Hayti 57241 1873 (1878) Deuel/Hanson——?——1873?1873?1873?
The state archives holds marriage licenses (1881—1969).
G4 Hand P.O. Box 122, Miller 57362 1873 (1882) Buffalo——?——187318731873
The state archives holds will records (1891—1974).
J5 Hanson P.O. Box 127, Alexandria 57311 1871 (1873) Brookings/Buffalo/Charles Mix/Deuel/Hutchinson/Jayne/Minnehaha/unorganized Buffalo——?——1871?1871?1871?
A2 Harding P.O. Box 534, Buffalo 57720 1881 (1911) unorganized——?——1881?1881?1881?
The state archives has Territorial Registers of Action (1881—90); probate and circuit court records (1881—1957).
F4 Hughes P.O. Box 1112, Pierre 57501 1873 (1880) Buffalo——?——1873?1873?1873?
The state archives has divorce records (1905—34); probate records (1881—1948);district court records (1882—1928); and circuit court records (1881—1957).
J6 Hutchinson P.O. Box 7, Olivet 57052 1862 (1871) unorganized——?——1862?1862?1862?
G4 Hyde P.O. Box 306, Highmore 57345 1873 (1883) Buffalo——?——1873?1873?1873?
D5 Jackson P.O. Box 128, Kadoka 57543 1883 (1915) Cheyenne/Lugenbell/White River *Pennington——1915——190119151915
The state archives holds records (1918—1981).In 1909 Jackson was abolished and became part of Mellette and Washabaugh. Jackson was re-created from Stanley in 1914, becoming fully organized in 1915.
Jayne 1862 (abolished, 1871; became part of Hanson, Hutchinson, and Turner) Unorganized *Yankton
H5 Jerauld P.O. Box 435, Wessington Springs 57382 1883 Aurora/Buffalo——?——1883?1883?1883?
E5 Jones 310 S. Main, Murdo 57559 1916 (1917) Lyman——?——1917?1917?1917?
The state archives has probate records and circuit court judgments (1917—78).
J4 Kingsbury P.O. Box 176, De Smet 57231 1873 (1880) Hanson——?——1873?1873?1873?
The state archives has probate bonds (1882—1964); probate records (1885—1942); and wills (1911—69).
K5 Lake P.O. Box 447, Madison 57042 1873 Brookings/Hanson/Minnehaha——?——1873?1873?1873?
A4 Lawrence P.O. Box 626, Deadwood 57732 1875 (1877) unorganized——?——1875?1875?1875?
The state archives has probate records and wills (1877—1935); guardianship and adoption records (1910—58); marriage records (1879—1956); and circuit court journals (1891—1930).
K6 Lincoln 100 E. Fifth St., Canton 57013 1862 (1867) Minnehaha——?——1862?1862?1862?
The state archives holds probate records (1883—1914).
Lugenbeel 1875 (abolished, 1909; became part of Bennett and Todd) Meyer/Pratt/unorganized
F5 Lyman P.O. Box 235, Kennebec 57544 1873 (1893) Gregory/unorganized——?——1873?1873?1873?
The state archives holds records (1904—1968).
Mandan 1875 (abolished, 1887; became part of Lawrence) unorganized
J1 Marshall P.O. Box 130, Britton 574301885 Day——?——1885?1885?1885?
Martin 1881 (abolished, 1898; became part of Butte) unorganized *Lawrence
J5 McCook P.O. Box 504, Salem 570581873 (1878) Hanson——?——1873?1873?1873?
The state archives holds records (1881—1934).
G1 McPherson P.O. Box 248, Leola 574561873 (1884) Buffalo——?——1873?1873?1873?
B4 Meade P.O. Box 939, Sturgis 577851889 Lawrence——?——1889?1889?1889?
The state archives holds records (1889—1956).
E6 MelletteP.O. Box 257, White River 575791909 (1911) Jackson/Meyer/Washabaugh unorganized——1911——190719121912
The state archives holds probate cases (1907—1947).
Meyer 1873 (abolished, 1909; became part of Mellette and Todd) unorganized
J5 Miner P.O. Box 265, Howard 573491873 (1880) Hanson——1882——188118831881
K5 Minnehaha 415 N. Dakota Ave., Sioux Falls 571021862 (1868) unorganized *Union——?——1862?1862?1862?
The state archives holds probate records (1873—1907) and wills (1961—1974).
K5 Moody P.O. Box 226, Flandreau 570281873 Brookings/Minnehaha——?——1873?1873?1873?
A5 PenningtonP.O. Box 230, Rapid City 577091875 (1877) unorganized——1887——1875?1875?1875?
C2 PerkinsP.O. Box 27, Bison 576201908 (1909) Butte——?——1909?1909?1909?
F3 Potter201 S. Exene, Gettysburg 574421873 (as Ashmore; renamed, 1875) (1883)Buffalo——?——1875?1875?1875?
Pyatt 1883 (renamed Armstrong, 1895) Cheyenne/Rusk/Stanley*Lawrence
K1 Roberts411 Second Ave. East, Sisseton 572621883 Grant/Siseton-Wahpeteon Indian Reserve——?——1883?1883?1883?
The state archives holds records (1908—1981).
Rusk 1873 (renamed Dewey, 1883) unorganized
H5 SanbornP.O. Box 56, Woonsocket 573851883 Miner——?——1883?1883?1883?
Schnasse 1883 (abolished, 1911; became part of Ziebach) Boreman/unorganized
B6 Shannon906 N. River St., Hot Springs 577471875 unorganized *Fall River——?——1883?1883?1883?
Shannon is still attached to Fall River.
H3 Spink210 E. Seventh Ave., Redfield 574691873 (1879) Hanson——?——1873?1873?1873?
E4 StanleyP.O. Box 97, Ft. Pierre 575321873 (1890) unorganized——?——1873?1873?1873?
Sterling 1883 (abolished, 1911; became part of Ziebach) Cheyenne *Lawrence
Stone 1873 (abolished, 1879; became part of Brown and Day) Hanson
F3 SullyP.O. Box 188, Onida 575641873 (1883) Buffalo——?——1873?1873?1873?
Todd (old) 1862 (abolished, 1897; became part of Gregory) unorganized
In 1890 Todd disestablished and attached to Charles Mix.
E6 Todd (present)Mission 575551909 Meyer/Lugenbeel/Washabaugh1909?1909?1909?
The state archives has birth register. Todd is still attached to Tripp; see Tripp County for records.
F6 Tripp200 Third St., Winner 575801873 (1909) unorganized/Gregory/Todd (old)——?——1873?1873?1873?
K6 TurnerP.O. Box 446, Parker 570531871 Lincoln/Jayne——?——1871?1871?1871?
K7 UnionP.O. Box 757, Elk Point 570251862 (as Cole; renamed, 1864) unorganized ——?——1862?1862?1862?
The state archives has court records including land transactions (1860—1929); marriages (1919—23); wills (1870—1910); probate records (1869—1962); justice dockets (1868—1903); and bonds and court judgment books (1876—1948).
F2 WalworthP.O. Box 328, Selby 574721873 (1883)Buffalo ——?——1873?1873?1873?
The state archives holds circuit court judgment records (1884—1932) and school records(1918—1958).
WashabaughKadoka 57543 1883 Lugenbeel *Custer/*Jackson——?——1883?1883?1883?
Washington 1883 (abolished, 1943; became part of Shannon)Lugenbeel/Shannon *Custer
Included land now in Meyer and Pratt.
Wetmore 1873 (abolished, 1879; became part of Aurora and Miner)Hanson
White River 1875 (abolished, 1898; became part of Jackson)Pratt/unorganized
J7 YanktonP.O. Box 155, Yankton 570781862unorganized——?——1862?1862?1862?
The state archives has probate records (1877—1909); wills (1870—1909); notary records (1877—1909); and judgment books (1898—1907).
Ziebach (old) 1877 (abolished, 1898; became part of Pennington)Pennington
D3 ZiebachP.O. Box 306, Dupree 576231911Schnasse/Sterling/Armstrong (Cheyenne River Reservation)——?——1911?1911?1911
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