South Dakota Cemeteries
Cemetery records, such as tombstone and sexton’s records, may give birth and death dates, age at death, name of spouse and children, and the maiden names. Sometimes they include birthplace. Tombstones may have symbols or insignias indicating military service and social or religious affiliations. Family members may also be buried nearby.
Locating Cemeteries and Cemetery Records
To find tombstone or sexton records, you need to know where an individual was buried. The person may have been buried in a community, church, private, military, or family cemetery, usually near the place where he lived or died or where other family members were buried. You can find clues to burial places in funeral notices, obituaries, church records, funeral home records, and death certificates.
You can find the addresses of many cemeteries in:
- Burek, Deborah M., editor. Cemeteries of the U.S.: A Guide to Contact Information for U.S. Cemeteries and Their Records.1st ed. Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research, 1994. FHL book 973 V34ce. Lists over 22,000 operating and inactive cemeteries. Alphabetical by state, county, and cemetery name.
Entries may list physical location or mailing address, phone or fax numbers, contact information for cemetery record keepers (also known as Sextons), years of operation, religious and other affiliations.
- Kot, Elizabeth Gorrell. United States Cemetery Address Book, 1994-1995.Vallejo, California: Indices Publishing, 1994 (Family History Library book FHL book 973 V34k. Lists over 25,000 cemetery addresses and locations. Alphabetical by state, town, and cemetery name.
Other sources of cemetery records include:
South Dakota Cemeteries, a searchable data base, pre 1940, includes records that were cataloged as part of the WPA Cemetery Project. It is not a complete listing of all burials.
- The present cemetery recorder or sexton, funeral home, or minister who may have the burial registers and the records of the burial plots.
- A local library, historical society, or local historian, who may have the records or can help you locate obscure family plots or relocated cemeteries. Cemetery associations sometimes publish inventories or transcripts for their areas.
- Sexton Records and transcripts of tombstone information that have been published, often in local genealogical periodicals (See the periodical indexes listed in South Dakota Periodicals.)
- Lists of soldier's graves, described in United States Military Records.
See the article on United States Cemeteries for more information on how to find cemeteries and cemetery records.
- Campbell, McPherson, Meade, and other counties in South Dakota: Cemetery Transcriptions
Additional Resources at the Family History Library
The Family History Library has copies of many sexton and tombstone records and several important statewide indexes. Many of these are listed in the Locality Search
of the Family History Library Catalog under one of the following:
SOUTH DAKOTA - CEMETERIES
SOUTH DAKOTA, [COUNTY] - CEMETERIES
SOUTH DAKOTA, [COUNTY], [TOWN] - CEMETERIES
SOUTH DAKOTA - VITAL RECORDS
SOUTH DAKOTA, [COUNTY] - VITAL RECORDS
SOUTH DAKOTA, [COUNTY], [TOWN] - VITAL RECORDS
You can find further information about cemeteries in wiki articles available for each state.
A card index that lists transcripts of cemetery records available at the Family History Library as of 1988 is:
- Index to United States Cemeteries.Salt Lake City, UT: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1988. FHL films 1206468-94 Alphabetical by state, county, and cemetery name. May list locations, transcripts, buried individuals, and sources.
The call numbers of many cemetery records at the Family History Library and references to cemetery records published in periodicals are in:
- Stemmons, John D. The Cemetery Record Compendium. Logan, Utah: Everton Publishers, 1979. FHL book 973 V34s