South Dakota, State Census, 1945 (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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South Dakota, State Census, 1945 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
South Dakota, United States
South Dakota flag.png
Flag of South Dakota
US Locator South Dakota.png
Location of South Dakota
Record Description
Record Type State Census
Collection years 1945
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in the Collection?

The collection consists of an index to the census of South Dakota taken by that state in 1945. This 1945 South Dakota State Census is an every-name list of the state's inhabitants as of 1945. The records are handwritten on printed cards and are arranged alphabetically by surname. People enumerated in the census are recorded individually; the census records do not show individuals in family groups. The census was filmed at the South Dakota State Historical Society.

Collection Content

Sample Image

In 1885 the South Dakota State Legislature mandated that a census be taken in June of that year and every 10 years thereafter. The last census was taken in 1945. The completed cards were then sent to the Secretary of State. The census covers approximately 90% of the population.

The state census was taken in order to enumerate the population for representation purposes. Censuses are generally reliable, depending on the knowledge of the informant and the care of the census enumerator. Information may have been given to a census taker by any member of the family or by a neighbor. Some information may therefore be incorrect.

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

Records found in the 1945 census may contain any of the following:

  • Name, age, and gender of individual
  • County and town of residence or city and ward
  • Occupation, race, and marital status
  • Birthplace and ancestry
  • Parents' birthplace(s)
  • Spouse's maiden name if married and year married
  • Military service in Spanish War or World War I or World War II
  • State, company, regiment and division of service
  • Literate or illiterate
  • Extent of education
  • Physical impairments (blind, deaf, insane)
  • A naturalized citizen?
  • Number of years in U.S.
  • Number of years in South Dakota
  • Church affiliation

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor.
  • The birthplace of your ancestor.
  • The place where your ancestor lived.

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.

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page then select the Film category.


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 listed to determine an approximate birth date. This date along with the place of birth can help you find a birth record. Birth records often list biographical and marital details about the parents and close relatives other than the immediate family.
  • Use the race information to find records related to that ethnicity such as records of the Freedman’s Bureau or Indian censuses.
  • Use the naturalization information to find their naturalization papers in the county court records. It can also help you locate immigration records such as a passenger list which would usually be kept records at the port of entry into the United States.
  • Birth places can tell you former residences and can help to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • If they are subject to military service they may have military files in the State or National Archives.
  • Occupations listed can lead you to employment records or other types of records such as school records; children’s occupations are often listed as “at school.”
  • 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 locality in an area search.
  • 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.

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, State Census, 1945." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing Assessor. State Historical Society, Pierre.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for South Dakota, State Census, 1945.

Image Citation:

When looking at an image, the citation is found 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, State Census, 1945.

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