Dewey County, South Dakota Genealogy

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Guide to Dewey 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: Timber Lake
Organized: January 8, 1873
Parent County(s): unorganized territory[1]
Neighboring Counties
Corson  • Haakon  • Potter  • Stanley  • Sully  • Walworth  • Ziebach
See County Maps
South Dakota Dewey Courthouse.jpg
Location Map
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County Information


It was named for William P. Dewey, Territorial surveyor-general from 1873 to 1877.[2]It's county seat is Timber Lake. It was organized 1873. It is located in the central area of the state.[3]

County Courthouse

Dewey County Courthouse
710 C Street; PO Box 117;
Timber Lake, SD 57656
Phone: 605.865.3661

Register of Deeds has birth, marriage and land record from 1910, death records from 1911, cemetery records from 1941 and military records from 1919;
Clerk Court has divorce and probate records from 1911 and court records from 1910;
County Auditor has school census records 1911-1972[4]

Dewey 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

Populated Places

The following are locations in the county[5]

Unincorporated communites
Census-designated places
Unorganized territories
  • North Dewey
  • South Dewey

Indian Reservation

A major portion of the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation is located in Dewey County. The remainder of the reservation is in Ziebach County.


Bible Records


Business, Commerce, and Occupations


Cemeteries of Dewey 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.  %±
1910 1,145
1920 4,802 319.4%
1930 6,476 34.9%
1940 5,709 −11.8%
1950 4,916 −13.9%
1960 5,257 6.9%
1970 5,170 −1.7%
1980 5,366 3.8%
1990 5,523 2.9%
2000 5,972 8.1%
2010 5,301 −11.2%
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 Dewey 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.

Maps and Gazetteers


Military Records

Civil War

World War I

Naturalization and Citizenship


South Dakota Newspapers Online

South Dakota Newspaper Catalogs

Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Dewey 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, Dewey 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.




Timber Lake & Area Historical Society
PO Box 181
Timber Lake, SD 57656
Telephone: 605-865-3553, 865-3546, or 1-800-664-3546
Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation


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. accessed 1/31/2017
  4. The Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America, 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002)Dewey County, South Dakota, p.624
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Dewey County, South Dakota," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, accessed 3 November 2016.
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