Clay County, South Dakota Genealogy

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United States
South Dakota
Clay County

Guide to Clay County, South Dakota ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

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County Facts
County seat: Vermillion
Organized: April 10, 1862
Parent County(s): unorganized territory[1]
Neighboring Counties
Cedar (NE)  • Dixon (NE)  • Lincoln  • Turner  • Union  • Yankton
See County Maps
Courthouse
SouthDakotaClayCourthouse.jpg
Location Map
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County Information

Description

The county is named in honor of Henry Clay, American statesman, member of the United States Senate from Kentucky and United States Secretary of State in the 19th century.[2]It's county seat is Vermillion. It was organized 1862. It is located in the southeastern area of the state.[3]

County Courthouse

Clay County Courthouse
211 W Main Street PO Box 403
Vermillion, SD 57069
Phone: 605.677.2871

Register of Deeds has birth and death records from 1905, marriage records from 1880, land records from 1863 and burial records from 1962;
Clerk Court has probate records from 1875, court records from 1866 and divorce records from 1889[4]

Clay 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 1880 1905 1866 1863 1875 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]

Cities
Towns
Unincorporated communites
Census-designated places
Townships
  • Bethel
  • Fairview
  • Garfield
  • Glenwood
  • Meckling
  • Norway
  • Pleasant Valley
  • Prairie Center
  • Riverside
  • Spirit Mound
  • Star
  • Vermillion


Resources

Bible Records

Biographies

Business, Commerce, and Occupations

Cemeteries

Cemeteries of Clay 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.  %±
1870 2,621
1880 5,001 90.8%
1890 7,509 50.1%
1900 9,316 24.1%
1910 8,711 −6.5%
1920 9,654 10.8%
1930 10,088 4.5%
1940 9,592 −4.9%
1950 10,993 14.6%
1960 10,810 −1.7%
1970 12,923 19.5%
1980 13,689 5.9%
1990 13,186 −3.7%
2000 13,537 2.7%
2010 13,864 2.4%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

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

Directories

Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups

Funeral Homes

Genealogies

Guardianship

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

  • History of Clay County, South Dakota. 1976. By Herbert S. Schell. Vermillion, South Dakota : Clay County Historical Society. Online at:; At various libraries (WorldCat).
  • Wakonda, S.D. centennial, 1885-1985. 1985. By Warren G Kuhler. Wakonda, South Dakota : Wakonda History Committee. Online at:; At various libraries (WorldCat).

Maps and Gazetteers

Turner CountyLincoln CountyUnion CountyYankton CountyKnox County, NebraskaCedar County, NebraskaDixon County, NebraskaIowaSD CLAY.JPG
About this image
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Migration

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

Newspapers

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.

Obituaries

Other Records

Periodicals

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, Clay 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.

Birth

Marriage

Death

Divorce

Research Facilities

Archives

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.

Libraries

Museums

Societies

Clay County Historical Society Inc.
15 Austin St.
Vermillion, SD 57069
E-mail: claycohistory@yahoo.com
Website

Czech Heritage Preservation Society, Inc.
Board of Directors and Officers
Box 87
Tabor, SD 57063
Telephone: 605-589-3494
Website
We have various old books, including a translation of a history book from the Czech language to English by our society. We have the first local newspaper on microfilm from the time it was started in 1905 until 1950. We also maintain several old log buildings in a park.

Tea Area Historical Society
27371-467th Ave.
Lennox, SD 57039
Telephone :605-368-2455
Website
Hours: By appointment
Finding Aids:Card catalog, typewritten registers/inventories

Timber Lake and Area Historical Society
Timber Lake and Area Museum
PO Box 181
Timber Lake, SD 57656
Telephone: 605-865-3553
Fax:605-865-3787
E-mail: tlmuseum@sd.value.net
Website
Holdings:Agriculture, genealogy, local history, Native Americans, religion

Websites

Research Guides

References

  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clay_County,_South_Dakota accessed 1/30/2017
  3. http://genealogytrails.com/sdak/clay/ accessed 1/30/2017
  4. The Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America, 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002)Clay County, South Dakota, p.623
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Clay 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, "Clay County, South Dakota," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clay_County%2C_South_Dakota 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.