South Dakota, State Census, 1915 (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States
South Dakota


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South Dakota State Census, 1915 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
South Dakota, United States
South Dakota flag.png
Flag of South Dakota
US Locator South Dakota.png
Location of South Dakota
Record Description
Record Type State Census
Collection years 1915
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in This Collection?

The collection consists of an index to the census of South Dakota taken by that state in 1915. This 1915 South Dakota State Census is an every-name list of the state's inhabitants as of 1915. The records are handwritten on printed cards and are arranged alphabetically by surname. People enumerated in the census are recorded individually; the census records do not show individuals in family groups. The census was filmed at the South Dakota State Historical Society.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

Information found in these indexed records may include:

  • Name
  • Residence (county and post office)
  • Age
  • Birth year
  • Birth place and ancestry
  • Birth place of parents
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Marital status
  • Number of years in South Dakota
  • Citizenship
  • Religion

The actual images may also include:

  • Occupation
  • Education
  • Literate or illiterate
  • If blind, deaf, idiotic, or insane
  • Military service
  • Maiden name of wife

Collection Contents

Sample Image

In 1885 the South Dakota State Legislature mandated that a census be taken in June of that year and every 10 years thereafter. The last census was taken in 1945. The completed cards were then sent to the Secretary of State. The census covers approximately 90% of the population.

The state census was taken in order to enumerate the population for representation purposes. Censuses are generally reliable, depending on the knowledge of the informant and the care of the census enumerator. Information may have been given to a census taker by any member of the family or by a neighbor. Some information may therefore be incorrect.

For a summary of this information see the wiki article: United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records).

How Do I Search This Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know at least some of the following:

  • The name of your ancestor.
  • The approximate age of your ancestor.
  • The place where your ancestor lived.
  • The names of family members.

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches


How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images.


What Do I Do Next?

  • Whenever possible, view the original records to verify the information and to find additional information that might not be reported. These pieces of information can lead you to additional records and family members.
  • In case you need to find this record again later, copy the citation below in the Citing This Collection section. It's always a good idea to keep your citation on a Research Log. This is an important tool to help keep track of what you have and have not found. Family search wiki has a Example Research Log that you can download and use.
  • Print or download a copy of the record, or extract the genealogical information needed.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Use the age listed to determine an approximate birth date. This date along with the place of birth can help you find a birth record. Birth records often list biographical and marital details about the parents and close relatives other than the immediate family.
  • Use the race information to find records related to that ethnicity such as records of the Freedman’s Bureau or Indian censuses.
  • Use the naturalization information to find their naturalization papers in the county court records. It can also help you locate immigration records such as a passenger list which would usually be kept records at the port of entry into the United States.
  • Birth places can tell you former residences and can help to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • If they are subject to military service they may have military files in the State or National Archives.
  • Occupations listed can lead you to employment records or other types of records such as school records; children’s occupations are often listed as “at school.”
  • A religious preference may lead you to helpful church records.
  • Repeat this process with additional family members found, to find more generations of the family.
  • Church Records often were kept years before government records were required and are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900.

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?

  • Try viewing the original record to see if there were errors in the transcription of the name, age, residence, etc. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • Collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you identify possible relations that can be verified by records.
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby locality in an area search.
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images.
  • Pay special attention to how the name should have been pronounced and try variations on the pronunciation.
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well.
  • Search the indexes and records of South Dakota, United States Genealogy.
  • Search in the South Dakota Archives and Libraries.

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation
"South Dakota State Census, 1915." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Citing Assessor. State Historical Society, Pierre.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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