Clark County, South Dakota Genealogy

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United States
South Dakota
Clark County

Guide to Clark 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: Clark
Organized: January 8, 1873
Parent County(s): Hanson [1]
Neighboring Counties
Beadle  • Codington  • Day  • Hamlin  • Kingsbury  • Spink
See County Maps
Location Map
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County Information


It was named for Newton Clark, a South Dakota legislator in 1873.[2] It's county seat is Clark. It was organized 1873. It is located in the eastern area of the state.[3]

County Courthouse

Clark County Courthouse
PO Box 294
Clark, SD 57225
Phone: 605.532.5363

Register of Deeds has marriage records from 1884, birth and death records from 1905, burial records from 1941, military discharge from 1919 and land records;
Clerk of Courts has divorce, probate and court records[4]

Clark County, South Dakota Record Dates

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major Records[5]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1905 1884 1905 1885 1881 1882 1850
*State birth and death records began in 1905.
Compliance for recording births was 1906 and 1932 for deaths.[6]

Record Loss

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes

Populated Places

The following are locations in the county[8]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places
  • Ash
  • Blaine
  • Collins
  • Cottonwood
  • Darlington
  • Day
  • Eden
  • Elrod
  • Fordham
  • Foxton
  • Garfield
  • Hague
  • Lake
  • Lincoln
  • Logan
  • Maydell
  • Merton
  • Mount Pleasant
  • Pleasant
  • Raymond
  • Richland
  • Rosedale
  • Spring Valley
  • Thorp
  • Warren
  • Washington
  • Woodland


Bible Records


Business, Commerce, and Occupations


Cemeteries of Clark 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 114
1890 6,728 5801.8%
1900 6,942 3.2%
1910 10,901 57.0%
1920 11,136 2.2%
1930 11,022 −1.0%
1940 8,955 −18.8%
1950 8,369 −6.5%
1960 7,134 −14.8%
1970 5,515 −22.7%
1980 4,894 −11.3%
1990 4,403 −10.0%
2000 4,143 −5.9%
2010 3,691 −10.9%
Source: "".

Before South Dakota was a state in 1889, parts of South Dakota were included in the 1836 Iowa Territory census (also known as Wisconsin Territory), 1840 Iowa Territory census, 1850 Minnesota Territory census, and the 1860-1880 Dakota Territory censuses.[9] See links listed below.

Territory and State Census Records

Federal Census Records

Federal Censuses were taken for the state of South Dakota starting in 1890, although only one page survived. The 1900 Census is the next Federal Census available. 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.

Online Church Records
Lutheran Church

Presbyterian Church

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 Clark 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.

  • A history of southern Clark County and Spirit Lake. 2015. Salt Lake City : Digitized by the Genealogical Society of Utah. Online at: FamilySearch Books Online.
  • A history of the city of Clark and of the men who made it and now possess it. 2013. By S.J. Conklin. Salt Lake City : Digitized by the Genealogical Society of Utah. Online at: FamilySearch Books Online.
  • Southern Clark County, South Dakota, history 1976. 1976. Online at:; At various libraries (WorldCat).
  • Sparks from many camp fires. 1989. By Earle R. Hubbard. New Haven, Connecticut : Microfilmed by Yale University Library. Online at:; At various libraries (WorldCat).

Maps and Gazetteers

Spink CountyDay CountyCodington CountyHamlin CountyKingsbury CountyBeadle CountySD CLARK.JPG
About this image
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Military Records

Online Collections

These collections are unique to South Dakota. You will find nationwide databases for military records on U.S. Military Online Genealogy Records and South Dakota Military Records.

Civil War

World War I

World War II

For further information see South Dakota Military Records.

Naturalization and Citizenship


For more information, see South Dakota Newspapers.

South Dakota Newspapers Online

South Dakota Newspaper Catalogs

  • U.S. Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present on Chronicling America - contains a list of all known newspapers and the dates they cover; once you locate a newspaper name, contact the local library to see if they have copies of the newspaper.


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, Clark 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.




Clark County Historical Society
208 N Idaho
Clark, SD 57225
Telephone: 605-532-3769


Research Guides


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Clark, South Dakota," in accessed 8/30/2018
  3. accessed 1/30/2017
  4. The Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America, 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002)Clark County, South Dakota, p.623
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Clark County, South Dakota. Page 623 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 620.
  6. Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Rev. ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 1992), 671; Alice M. Hetzel, U.S. Vital Statistics System: Major Activities and Developments, 1950-95 (Hyattsville, Md.: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, [1997]), 58.
  7. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  8. Wikipedia contributors, "Clark County, South Dakota," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, accessed 2 November 2016.
  9. ’'Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 617. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.