Custer County, South Dakota Genealogy

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United States
South Dakota
Custer County

Guide to Custer 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: Custer
Organized: January 11, 1875
Parent County(s): unorganized territory[1]
Neighboring Counties
Fall River  • Niobrara (WY)  • Pennington  • Shannon  • Weston (WY)
See County Maps
Location Map
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County Information


The county was named for George Armstrong Custer. It's county seat is Custer. It was organized 1877. It is located in the central area of the state.[2]

County Courthouse

Custer County Courthouse
420 Mt Rushmore Road
Custer, SD 57730
Phone: 605.673.4816

Clerk Courts has birth and death records from 1905, marriage records from 1887, divorce, probate and court records from 1890[3]

Custer County, South Dakota Record Dates

Beginning Dates for Major County Records
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1905 1891 1905 1890 1890 1880

Record Loss

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

Boundary Changes

Populated Places

The following are locations in the county[4]

Unincorporated communites
Census-designated places
  • East of Custer Park
  • West of Custer Park


Bible Records


Business, Commerce, and Occupations


Cemeteries of Custer 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 995
1890 4,891 391.6%
1900 2,728 −44.2%
1910 4,458 63.4%
1920 3,907 −12.4%
1930 5,353 37.0%
1940 6,023 12.5%
1950 5,517 −8.4%
1960 4,906 −11.1%
1970 4,698 −4.2%
1980 6,000 27.7%
1990 6,179 3.0%
2000 7,275 17.7%
2010 8,216 12.9%
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 Custer 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.

  • Our yesterdays. 2015. By Eastern Custer County Historical Society. Salt Lake City, Utah : Digitized by the Genealogical Society of Utah. Online at: FamilySearch Books Online.

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 Custer 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, Custer 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.





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.




Custer County Historical Society
1881 Custer County Courthouse Museum
411 Mount Rushmore Rd.
PO Box 826
Custer, South Dakota 57730
Telephone: 605-673-2443


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 1/31/2017
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America, 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002)Custer County, South Dakota, p.623
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Custer County, South Dakota," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, accessed 2 November 2016.