Codington County, South Dakota Genealogy

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Online Records

Codington County, South Dakota genealogy and family history research page. Guide to genealogy, history, and courthouse sources including birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, wills, deeds and land records, Civil War records, family histories, cemeteries, churches, tax records, newspapers, and obituaries.

Codington County, South Dakota
Map of South Dakota highlighting Codington County
Location in the state of South Dakota
Map of the U.S. highlighting South Dakota
Location of South Dakota in the U.S.
Founded 15 February, 1877
County Seat Watertown
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County Courthouse

Codington County Courthouse
14 1st Ave SW
Watertown, SD 57201
Phone: 605.882.4850 -5095 

Clerk Courts has birth, death, burial, and divorce from 1905,
marriage records from 1900, probate records from 1893
and court records from 1883[1]


Call or write the courthouse to request a long-distance research look-up.


Parent County

1877--Codington County was created 15 February 1877 from Clark, Grant, and Hamlin Counties, and unorganized territory.
County seat: Watertown [2]

Boundary Changes

Record Loss


Populated Places


South Shore









Indian Reservation

A portion of the Lake Traverse Indian Reservation is in Codington County. The remainder of the reservation is in Marshall, Roberts, and Day Counties in South Dakota and in Richland and Sargent Counties in North Dakota.

Neighboring Counties




1905, 1915, 1925 State Censuses --Unique information could include: Ethnic Background, Maiden Name, Church Affiliation & Military Service

   1905 state census with images can be viewed free at FamilySearch Record Search

   1915 state census with images can be viewed free at FamilySearch Record Search

   1925 state census with images can be viewed free at FamilySearch Record Search

   1935 state census with images can be viewed free at FamilySearch Record Search

   1945 state census with images can be viewed free at FamilySearch Record Search


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.


Grace Lutheran Church, Watertown

  • Records of Grace Lutheran Church, Watertown, in Evangelical Lutheran Church in America database at ($).[3]



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.

Local Histories

Local histories are available for Codington 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.




Additional newspapers abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Codington County, South Dakota Genealogy newspapers in online catalogs like:


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, Codington then click Probate 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.

Vital records were kept by the state beginning in 1905, and delayed registration of earlier births began c.1940's.  Vital records from 1905 onwards (plus delayed registration births) can be requested from the state using forms available at or can be requested from the county courthouse.  Earlier vital records (excluding births registerd via delayed registration) need to be requested from the county.

Societies and Libraries

Codington County Historical Society:

From their website: "For research requests and other business pertaining to the collections, contact Jaclyn Ludowese, the executive director at"

Family History Centers

Web Sites

  • USGenWeb project. May have maps, name indexes, history or other information for this county. Select the state, then the county.
  • Family History Library Catalog


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America, 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002)Codrington County, South Dakota, p.623
  2. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  3. "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.