Codington County, South Dakota Genealogy

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United States
South Dakota
Codington County

Guide to Codington 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: Watertown
Organized: 15 February, 1877
Parent County(s): Clark, Grant, and Hamlin [1]
Neighboring Counties
Clark  • Day  • Deuel  • Grant  • Hamlin
See County Maps
Location Map
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County Information


Codington is named for Rev. George S. S. Codington, legislator.[2]It's county seat is Watertown . It was organized 1877. It is located in the eastern area of the state.[3]

County Courthouse

Codington County Courthouse
14 1st Ave SW
Watertown, SD 57201
Phone: 605.882.6278

Register of Deeds has birth, death, burial, and divorce from 1905, marriage records from 1900, probate records from 1893 and court records from 1883[4]

  • All of the order forms for the Register of Deeds are listed at the bottom of the webpage. Fill out the order form and mail it in with the required identification and payment.

Codington 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 1900 1905 1883 1877 1893 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
  • Rauville
Census-designated places
  • Dexter
  • Eden
  • Elmira
  • Fuller
  • Germantown
  • Graceland
  • Henry
  • Kampeska
  • Kranzburg
  • Lake
  • Leola
  • Pelican
  • Phipps
  • Rauville
  • Richland
  • Sheridan
  • Waverly

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.


Bible Records


Business, Commerce, and Occupations


Cemeteries of Codington 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 2,156
1890 7,037 226.4%
1900 8,770 24.6%
1910 14,092 60.7%
1920 16,549 17.4%
1930 17,457 5.5%
1940 17,014 −2.5%
1950 18,944 11.3%
1960 20,220 6.7%
1970 19,140 −5.3%
1980 20,885 9.1%
1990 22,698 8.7%
2000 25,897 14.1%
2010 27,227 5.1%
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 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.

Maps and Gazetteers

Day CountyGrant CountyDeuel CountyHamlin CountyClark CountySD CODINGTON.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, Codington 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.

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





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.




Watertown Genealogical Society
2322 Conifer Road
Watertown, SD 57201

Codington County Historical Society, Inc
27 1st Ave SE
Watertown, SD 57201
Telephone: 605-886-7335
Fax: 605-882-4383
From their website: "For research requests and other business pertaining to the collections, contact Jaclyn Ludowese, the executive director at"


Research Guides


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2.,_South_Dakota accessed 1/30/2017
  3. accessed 1/30/2017
  4. The Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America, 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002)Codrington County, South Dakota, p.623
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Codington 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, "Codington 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.
  10. "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.