Harding County, South Dakota Genealogy

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United States
South Dakota
Harding County

Guide to Harding 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: Buffalo
Organized: March 5, 1881
Parent County(s): unorganized territoy[1]
Neighboring Counties
Adams (ND)  • Bowman (ND)  • Butte  • Carter (MT)  • Fallon (MT)  • Perkins
See County Maps
Harding County Courthouse, Buffalo, South Dakota.jpg
Location Map
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County Information


It was named in honor of J.A. Harding, who had been Speaker of the House of the Dakota Territory.[2] It's county seat is Buffalo. It was organized 1909. It is located in the western area of the state.[3]

County Courthouse

Harding County Courthouse
901 Ramsland Street
Buffalo, SD 57720
Phone: 605.375.3351

Register of Deeds has birth, death, burial and land records from 1909;
County Treasurer has marriage records from 1909;
Clerk Court has divorce, probate, court and school census records from 1909[4]

Harding 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


Bible Records


Business, Commerce, and Occupations


Cemeteries of Harding 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 4,228
1920 3,953 −6.5%
1930 3,589 −9.2%
1940 3,010 −16.1%
1950 2,289 −24.0%
1960 2,371 3.6%
1970 1,855 −21.8%
1980 1,700 −8.4%
1990 1,669 −1.8%
2000 1,353 −18.9%
2010 1,255 −7.2%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

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 Harding 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

Online Collections

These collections are unique to South Dakota. You will find nationwide databases for military records on U.S. Military Online Genealogy Records and South Dakota Military Records.

Civil War

World War I

World War II

For further information see South Dakota Military Records.

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 Harding 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, Harding 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.




Harding County Historical Society
11919 SD Hwy 79
Prairie City, SD 57649
Email: bets_reva@hotmail.com

Clear Lake Historical Society and Museum
PO Box 68
Clear Lake, SD 57226
Telephone: 605-874-2285
Email: dksgbend@itctel.com


Research Guides


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harding_County,_South_Dakota accessed 1/31/2017
  3. http://genealogytrails.com/sdak/harding/ accessed 1/31/2017
  4. The Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America, 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002)Harding County, South Dakota, p.625
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Harding County, South Dakota," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harding_County%2C_South_Dakota accessed 4 November 2016.