Pennington County, South Dakota Genealogy

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United States
South Dakota

Pennington County

Guide to Pennington 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: Rapid City
Organized: January 11, 1875
Parent County(s): unorganized territory[1]
Neighboring Counties
Custer  • Haakon  • Jackson  • Lawrence  • Meade  • Shannon  • Weston (WY)  • Ziebach
See County Maps
Pennington County Courthouse, Rapid City, South Dakota.jpg
Location Map
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County Information


The county was named after John L. Pennington, fifth Governor of Dakota Territory, who held office in 1875 when the county was formed.[2] It's county seat is Rapid City. It was organized 1875. It is located in the West corner of the state.[3]

County Courthouse

Pennington County Courthouse
315 S Joseph Street;
Rapid City, SD 57709-0230
Phone: 605.394.2575

Register of Deeds has birth and death records from 1905, land records;
County Treasurer has marriage records from 1887;
Clerk Court has divorce and court records from 1877 and probate records from 1884[4]

Pennington County, South Dakota Record Dates

Beginning Dates for Major County Records
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1887 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[5]

Unincorporated communites
Census-designated places
  • Ash
  • Castle Butte
  • Cedar Butte
  • Conata
  • Crooked Creed
  • Fairview
  • Flat Butte
  • Huron
  • Imlay
  • Lake Creek
  • Lake Flat
  • Lake Hill
  • Owanka
  • Peno
  • Quinn
  • Rainy Creek/Cheyenne
  • Scenic
  • Shyne
  • Sunnyside
  • Wasta
Unorganized territories
  • Central Pennington
  • Dalzell Canyon
  • East Central Pennington
  • Mount Rushmore
  • Northeast Pennington
  • Rapid City East
  • West Pennington
Ghost towns


Bible Records


Business, Commerce, and Occupations


Cemeteries of Pennington 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 2,244
1890 6,540 191.4%
1900 5,610 −14.2%
1910 12,453 122.0%
1920 12,720 2.1%
1930 20,079 57.9%
1940 23,799 18.5%
1950 34,053 43.1%
1960 58,195 70.9%
1970 59,349 2.0%
1980 70,361 18.6%
1990 81,343 15.6%
2000 88,565 8.9%
2010 100,948 14.0%
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.

LDS Ward and Branch Records

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 Pennington 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 Pennington 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, Pennington 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.




Rapid City Society For Genealogical Research
P.O. Box 1495
Rapid City, SD 57709-1495


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 2/1/2017
  3. accessed 2/1/2017
  4. The Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America, 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002)Pennington County, South Dakota, p.627
  5. Wikipedia contributors, "Pennington County, South Dakota," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, accessed 6 November 2016.
Retrieved from ",_South_Dakota_Genealogy&oldid=2791805"