Brown County, South Dakota Genealogy

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United StatesGotoarrow.png South Dakota Gotoarrow.png Brown County

Guide to Brown County, South Dakota ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.


County Facts
County seat: Aberdeen
Organized: October 1, 1879
Parent County(s): Mills, Stone and Beadle[1]
Neighboring Counties
Day  • Dickey (ND)  • Edmunds  • Faulk  • Marshall  • Mcpherson  • Sargent (ND)  • Spink
See County Maps
Location Map
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County Information


The county is named after Alfred Brown, of Hutchinson County, South Dakota, a Dakota Territory legislator in 1879. It was founded July 6, 1881.[2] It's county seat is Aberdeen. It was names for Bon Homme Island. It was organized 1879. It is located in the northern area of the state.[3]

County Courthouse

Brown County Courthouse
101 1st Ave SE
Aberdeen, SD 57401-4203
Phone: 605.622.2266

Clerk Courts has birth, marriage, death, burial, probate and court records;
Register of Deeds has land records[4]

Brown County, South Dakota Record Dates

Beginning Dates for Major County Records
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census

Record Loss

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes

1879--Brown County was created 1 October 1879 from Mills (eliminated 1 Oct 1879), Stone (eliminated 1 Oct 1879), and Beadle(old) Counties.
County seat: Aberdeen [1]

Populated Places

The following are locations in the county[5]

Unincorporated communites
Census-designated places
  • Aberdeen
  • Allison
  • Bates
  • Bath
  • Brainard
  • Cambria
  • Carlisle
  • Claremont
  • Columbia
  • East Hanson
  • East Rondell
  • Franklyn
  • Frederick
  • Garden Prairie
  • Garland
  • Gem
  • Greenfield
  • Groton
  • Hecla
  • Henry
  • Highland
  • Lansing
  • Liberty
  • Lincoln
  • Mercier
  • New Hope
  • North Detroit
  • Oneota
  • Ordway
  • Osceola
  • Palmyra
  • Portage
  • Prairiewood
  • Putney
  • Ravinia
  • Richland
  • Riverside
  • Savo
  • Shelby
  • South Detroit
  • Warner
  • West Hanson
  • Westport
  • West Rondell


Bible Records


Business, Commerce, and Occupations


Cemeteries of Brown County, South Dakota online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See South Dakota Cemeteries for more information

Census Records

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1880 353
1890 16,855 4674.8%
1900 15,286 −9.3%
1910 25,867 69.2%
1920 29,509 14.1%
1930 31,458 6.6%
1940 29,676 −5.7%
1950 32,617 9.9%
1960 34,106 4.6%
1970 36,920 8.3%
1980 36,962 0.1%
1990 35,580 −3.7%
2000 35,460 −0.3%
2010 36,531 3.0%
Source: "".

State Census Records

Federal Census Records

Federal Censuses were taken for South Dakota starting in 1910. For links to Federal census indexes, see South Dakota Census.

Church Records

Church records vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about South Dakota denominations, view the South Dakota Church Records wiki page.

Court Records


Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups

Funeral Homes



Land and Property Records

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See South Dakota Land and Property for additional information about early South Dakota land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse, where records are currently housed.

Online Land Records

Local Histories

Local histories are available for Brown County, South Dakota Genealogy. County and town histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section South Dakota Local Histories.

  • Bath community, 1881-1981 : our first one hundred years. 1981. By Bath Centennial Book Committee (Bath, South Dakota). [North Dakota?] : Dakota North Plains Press. Online at:; At various libraries (WorldCat).
  • Brown County history [South Dakota]. 1980. By History Committee of Brown County Museum and Historical Society. [Aberdeen, South Dakota] : Brown County Museum and Historical Society. Online at:; At various libraries (WorldCat).
  • Early history of Brown County, South Dakota : a literature of the people. 1970. By Brown County Territorial Pioneers Association. Aberdeen, South Dakota : Brown Co. Territorial Pioneers Assoc.. Online at:; At various libraries (WorldCat).
  • History of the Finnish settlement in Brown and Dickey counties of South and North Dakota, 1881-1955. 1960. By Savo Finnish Historical Society. Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah. Online at:; At various libraries (WorldCat).

Maps and Gazetteers


Military Records

Civil War

World War I

Naturalization and Citizenship


South Dakota Newspapers Online

South Dakota Newspaper Catalogs

  • U.S. Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present on Chronicling America - contains a list of all known newspapers and the dates they cover; once you locate a newspaper name, contact the local library to see if they have copies of the newspaper.

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Brown County, South Dakota Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:


Other Records


Probate Records

In most counties in South Dakota, probate records have been kept by the county judge. They include wills, fee books, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, probate ticklers, and dockets. The records are available at the county courthouse.

The FamilySearch Catalog lists films of probate records. To find the records for this county, use the Place Search for South Dakota, Brown then click Probate records.

Online Records

School Records

Tax Records

South Dakota tax records complement land records and can be used to supplement the years between censuses. There may be gaps of several years in the records.

Vital Records

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. See the CDC Where to Write website for information on acquiring copies of these records.


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Research Facilities


Family History Centers

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes.


Alexander Mitchell Public Library
519 S. Kline Street
Aberdeen, SD 57401



Brown County Historical Society
Dacotah Prairie Museum
PO Box 395
Aberdeen, SD 57401
Telephone: 605-626-7117

Frederick Area Historical Society
412 Main St.
PO Box 523
Frederick, SD 57441-0523

Aberdeen Area Genealogical Society
PO Box 493
Aberdeen, SD 57402-0493


Research Guides


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2.,_South_Dakota accessed 1/30/2017
  3. accessed 1/30/2017
  4. The Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America, 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002)Brown County, South Dakota, p.622
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Brown County, South Dakota," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, accessed 2 November 2016.