Grant County, South Dakota Genealogy

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United States
South Dakota
Grant County

Guide to Grant 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: Milbank
Organized: January 8, 1873
Parent County(s): Deuel, and Hanson [1]
Neighboring Counties
Codington  • Day  • Deuel  • Roberts  • Big Stone (MN)  • Lac qui Parle (MN)
See County Maps
Location Map
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County Information


It is named for Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President of the United States.[2] It's county seat is Milbank. It was organized 1878. It is located in the eastern area of the state.[3]

County Courthouse

Grant County Courthouse
210 E 5th Ave; PO Box 509
Milbank, SD 57252-2433
Phone: 605.432.5482

Clerk Court has birth and death records from 1905, marriage records from 1890, divorce, probate, and court records from 1897 and newspapers from 1880;
Register of Deeds has land records [4]

Grant 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 1890 1905 1897 1879 1897 1850
*State birth and death records began in 1905.
Compliance for recording births was 1906 and 1932 for deaths.[6]

Record Loss

1881 Courthouse was destroyed by fire.

Boundary Changes

  • Parent County: Grant County was created 8 January 1873 from Deuel, and Hanson Counties. [7]
  • 17 June 1878: Government functions began after months of inactivity, after a petition to the Governor asking for the organization. Seat was at Inkpa City.
  • 1881: County seat was moved to Milbank after November 1881 election, the case was appealed to court. Milbank won over 2 other towns.
  • County seat: Milbank
  • Interactive Formation Boundary Map of North Dakota - shows boundary changes for South Dakota Counties
  • South Dakota Historical Boundary Changes - list of all boundary changes by county provided by Newberry Library

Populated Places

The following are locations in the county[8]

Unincorporated communities
  • Adams
  • Alban
  • Big Stone
  • Blooming Valley
  • Farmington
  • Georgia
  • Grant Center
  • Kilborn
  • Lura
  • Madison
  • Mazeppa
  • Melrose
  • Osceola
  • Stockholm
  • Troy
  • Twin Brooks
  • Vernon


Bible Records


Business, Commerce, and Occupations


Cemeteries of Grant 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 3,010
1890 6,814 126.4%
1900 9,103 33.6%
1910 10,303 13.2%
1920 10,880 5.6%
1930 10,729 −1.4%
1940 10,552 −1.6%
1950 10,233 −3.0%
1960 9,913 −3.1%
1970 9,005 −9.2%
1980 9,013 0.1%
1990 8,372 −7.1%
2000 7,847 −6.3%
2010 7,356 −6.3%
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 Grant 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.

  • 100 years in Grant County, South Dakota 1878-1978. 1979. By Grant County Historical Society. South Dakota : Grant County Historical Society (South Dakota). Online at: ; At various libraries (WorldCat).

Maps and Gazetteers

Day CountyRoberts CountyBig Stone, IowaLacquiparle County, IowaDeuel CountyCodington CountyHamlin CountySD GRANT.JPG
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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, Grant 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.


Grant County Library
207 East Park Ave
Milbank, SD



Grant County History Society
211 S. 3rd St
PO Box 201
Milbank, SD 57252
Telephone: 605-432-2351


Research Guides


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2.,_South_Dakota accessed 1/31/2017
  3. accessed 1/31/2017
  4. The Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America, 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002)Grant County, South Dakota, p.624
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Grant County, South Dakota. Page 624 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002
  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, "Grant County, South Dakota," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, accessed 4 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.