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United States Gotoarrow.png South_Dakota

Welcome to South Dakota,
the Mount Rushmore State

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Most unique genealogical features:

Counties

Extinct or Renamed Counties:  Armstrong | Ashmore | Big Sioux | Boreman | Bramble | Bruguier | Burchard | Burdick | Cheyenne | Choteau | Cole | Cragin | Delano | Ewing | Forsythe | Greely | Jayne | Lugenbeel | Mandan | Martin | Meyer | Midway | Mills | Nowlin | Pratt | Presho | Pyatt | Rinehart | Rusk | Schnasse | Scobey | Sterling | Stone | Thompson | Wagner | Washabaugh | Washington | Wetmore | White River | Wood

Click on the map below to go to a county page. Hover over a county to see its name. To see a larger version of the map, click here.
Fall River CountyCuster CountyPennington CountyLawrence CountyButte CountyHarding CountyPerkins CountyCorson CountyDewey CountyZiebach CountyHaakon CountyJackson CountyBennett CountyShannon CountyTodd CountyMellette CountyJones CountyStanley CountyDewey CountyTripp CountyLyman CountyHughes CountySully CountyPotter CountyWalworth CountyCampbell CountyMcPherson CountyEdmunds CountyFaulk CountyHyde CountyHand CountyBuffalo CountyBrule CountyGregory CountyCharles Mix CountyDouglas CountyAurora CountyJerauld CountyBeadle CountySpink CountyBrown CountyMarshall CountyDay CountyClark CountyKingsbury CountySanborn CountyDavison CountyHanson CountyHutchinson CountyBon Homme CountyYankton CountyClay CountyUnion CountyLincoln CountyMinnehaha CountyMoody CountyLake CountyMiner CountyMcCook CountyTurner CountyKingsbury CountyBrookings CountyHamlin CountyDeuel CountyCodington CountyClark CountyDay CountyGrant CountyRoberts CountyMeade CountySouth-dakota-county-map.gif

Major Repositories

South Dakota State Archives · Library of South Dakota · National Archives Rocky Mountain Region (Denver) · Family History Library

Migration Routes

Missouri River · Red River of the North · Great Northern Railway (U.S.) · Wadsworth Trail

Featured Content

When the United States acquired South Dakota, most of the land became part of the public domain. The federal government surveyed available land into townships and transferred it to private ownership through local land offices. The first land office was established at Vermillion in 1861. See the United States Land and Property article for more information about the land entry process. To locate the land-entry or homestead case file for your ancestor, you will need to know either the patent number or the legal description (range, township, section) of the land. The county recorder of deeds may be able to tell you the legal description of the land, or you may be able to pinpoint the exact location by searching the entries in the tract book covering the approximate area concerned.
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Research Tools

  • Find which county a town is in, what town a cemetery is in, even where a postoffice or building is by using the United States Geographical Survey's Geographical Names Information System.
  • David Rumsey Map Collection is a large online collection of rare, old, antique historical atlases, globes, maps, charts plus other cartographic treasures.
  • The South Dakota GenWeb Project county-by county birth, marriage, and death searches, census, cemeteries, land, queries, and look-ups.

Wiki articles describing online collectons are found at:

Did You Know?

  • In the Black Hills of South Dakota, stands the national memorial, Mount Rushmore, created by Gutzon Borglum. It was designed as a testament to the growth of the country and its great leaders. This magnificent rock carving depicts the 60-foot high (18.3 m) faces of four great U.S. Presidents: (left to right) George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Borglum started drilling into the 6,200-foot mountain in 1927; however, he died in 1941 before it could be completed. The head of Washington was completed first, followed by Jefferson and Lincoln. Roosevelt's head was unfinished when Borglum died. The memorial was finished later that year by his son, Lincoln. Borglum's original design was a sculpture of the four presidents to their waists, but time and money only provided for their heads. From here.
  • During the first half of the nineteenth century, various Sioux (also called Dakota) tribes lived in the area that became South Dakota. These included the Santee, Teton, Yankton, and Yanktonnais tribes. The Dakota Sioux Indians comprise about five percent of the state's present population. The first major influx of settlers into the state began in 1863, after passage of the first Homestead Act. Homesteaders in the late 1860s and early 1870s came from the eastern and mid-western states. Many others came from Europe, including groups of Swedes, Danes, Czechs, and Germans from Russia. The Black Hills gold rush of 1875-1877 also attracted thousands of people.}}}

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