Lincoln County, South Dakota Genealogy

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United StatesGotoarrow.png South Dakota Gotoarrow.png Lincoln County

Guide to Lincoln 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: Carton
Organized: April 5, 1862
Parent County(s): unorganized territory[1]
Neighboring Counties
Clay  • Lyon (IA)  • Minnehaha  • Sioux (IA)  • Turner  • Union
See County Maps
Location Map
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County Information


The county was named after Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States.[2] It's county seat is Canton. It was organized 1867. It is located in the eastern area of the state.[3]

County Courthouse

Lincoln County Courthouse
100 E 5th Street
Carton, SD 57013-1732
Phone: 605.987.5661

Register of Deeds has birth and death records from 1905, land and burial records;
County Treasurer has marriage records from 1890;
Clerk Court has probate records from 1890, court and divorce records from 1872[4]

Lincoln 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

  • 1862--Lincoln County was created 5 April 1862 from unorganized territory.
  • County seat: Carton [1]

Populated Places

The following are locations in the county[5]

Unincorporated communites
Census-designated places
  • Brooklyn
  • Canton
  • Dayton
  • Delapre
  • Delaware
  • Eden
  • Grant
  • Fairview
  • Highland
  • La Valley
  • Lincoln
  • Lynn
  • Norway
  • Perry
  • Pleasant
  • Springdale


Bible Records


Business, Commerce, and Occupations


Cemeteries of Lincoln 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.  %±
1870 712
1880 5,896 728.1%
1890 9,148 55.2%
1900 12,161 32.9%
1910 12,712 4.5%
1920 13,893 9.3%
1930 13,918 0.2%
1940 13,171 −5.4%
1950 12,767 −3.1%
1960 12,371 −3.1%
1970 11,761 −4.9%
1980 13,942 18.5%
1990 15,427 10.7%
2000 24,131 56.4%
2010 44,828 85.8%
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.


Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Beresford

  • Records of Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Beresford, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at ($).

Grand Valley Lutheran Church, Canton

  • Records of Grand Valley Lutheran Church, Canton, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at ($).[6]


  • Records of the American Lutheran Church, Lennox, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at ($).

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 Lincoln 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.

  • The History of Lincoln County, South Dakota. 1985. By Lincoln County History Committee (South Dakota). Canton, South Dakota : Lincoln County History Committee. 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 Lincoln 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, Lincoln 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.





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)Lincoln County, South Dakota, p.625
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Lincoln County, South Dakota," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, accessed 6 November 2016.
  6. "Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: An Inventory of Selected Congregational Records of the American Lutheran Church in Minnesota at the Minnesota Historical Society," Collection Finding Aids, Minnesota Historical Society,, accessed 10 June 2013.