South Dakota, School Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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South Dakota, School Records, 1879-1970 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
South Dakota, United States
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Flag of South Dakota
US Locator South Dakota.png
Location of South Dakota
Record Description
Record Type School
Collection years 1879-1970
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in the Collection?

The collection consists of school records located at the South Dakota State Historical Society in Pierre, for the years 1879 to 1970. The records include:

  • Teacher's term reports
  • School census
  • Attendance

The records are generally arranged by county, year, and school district number. This collection is being published as images become available.

The listing of school-aged children is a common practice throughout the United States. The records are usually compiled on a yearly basis. School records helped local governments determine funding needs for individual schools. The information is usually reliable although the ages are sometimes off by a year and legal guardians may be confused with parents.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for South Dakota, School Records, 1879-1970.

Collection Content

Sample Image

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

School Census Records may include any of the following information:

  • Name of town and county
  • School District Number
  • Names of pupils
  • Ages of pupils
  • Gender of pupils
  • Beginning and ending dates of grading period
  • Beginning and ending dates for school year

How Do I Search the Collection?

School records can be very helpful as they can often be used as a reliable substitute for birth records or they can lead you to birth records.

To begin your search it is helpful to know at least some of the following:

  • The name of the child.
  • The approximate age or birth date of the child.
  • The years the child attended school.
  • The place where the child attended school
  • The names of the child's parents.

Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information in the list to what you already know about your ancestor to determine if it is the correct family or person. You may need to compare several persons in the list before you find your ancestor.

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page.


For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

What Do I Do Next?

Whenever possible, view the original records to verify the information and to find additional information that might not be reported. These pieces of information can lead you to additional records and family members.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • Use the age to calculate a birthdate and to find other records such as birth, christening, census, land and death records.
  • Use the information to find additional family members. Witnesses or bondsmen were usually relatives.
  • Repeat this process with additional family members found, to find more generations of the family.
  • Church Records often were kept years before government records were required and are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900.

I Can’t Find Who I’m Looking for, What Now?

  • Try viewing the original record to see if there were errors in the transcription of the name, age, residence, etc. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • Collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you identify possible relations that can be verified by records.
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby school or town as of boundaries could have changed.
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images.
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well.
  • Search the indexes and records of South Dakota, United States Genealogy.
  • Search in the South Dakota Archives and Libraries.

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.  

Collection citation:

"South Dakota, School Records, 1879-1970." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing State Historical Society, Pierre.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for South Dakota, School Records, 1879-1970.

Image citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for South Dakota, School Records, 1879-1970.


How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.