South Dakota Societies

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South Dakota State Historical Society Find your ancestors with the help of indexes.
South Dakota State Historical Society
900 Governors Drive
Pierre, SD 57501-2294
Phone: (605) 773-3458
Fax: (605) 773-6041

Three divisions of the South Dakota Historical Society include materials of interest to genealogists. The Historical Society Library houses printed materials, while the Archives Division maintains original records of South Dakota government jurisdictions and other historical documents. The Manuscript Division preserves unpublished materials.

South Dakota Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 1101
Pierre, SD 57501
Phone: (605) 224-3670

Genealogical, historical, lineage, veteran, and ethnic societies often collect, transcribe, and publish information that can be helpful to genealogists.

Lineage societies, such as the Daughters of the American Revolution, Colonial Dames, and the Sons of the American Revolution, require members to prove they are descended from people such as colonists or soldiers. The applications for membership in these societies are usually preserved and occasionally published. National lineage societies such as the DAR are described in the United States Societies Wiki article.

Genealogical and historical societies can provide historical information about families in the area or ancestors of society members. An example of this is the French-Canadian Families of the North Central States.

Most genealogical societies focus on local and regional records, while others concentrate on the records and migrations of ethnic groups or minorities.

Societies may guide you to useful sources, suggest avenues of research, put you in touch with other genealogists who are interested in the same families, or perform research for you. The resources of the society may be helpful in determining immigrant origins. Genealogical and historical societies occasionally publish transcriptions of original records. Most publish quarterly periodicals, a few of which are listed in South Dakota Periodicals.

Some genealogical and historical societies hold conferences in which lecturers discuss genealogical research methods, available sources, and other topics of interest to the genealogist. These lectures may include information on records or research helps on a local, regional, or national level. Transcripts, audio tapes, or syllabuses of the class outlines of these conferences are often made available to the public through the sponsoring society.

Many counties and some cities have historical and genealogical societies, most of which will be listed in South Dakota Archives and Libraries. See United States Societies for a national directory of genealogical and ethnic societies.

Family associations and surname societies have been organized to gather information about ancestors or descendants of specific individuals or families. See United States Societies for a directory and more information about these societies.

Clubs or occupational or fraternal organizations may have existed in the area where your ancestor lived. Those societies may have kept records of members or applications that may be of genealogical or biographical value. Though many of the old records have been lost, some have been donated to local, regional, or state archives and libraries. The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) is an example of an organization an ancestor may have joined. See South Dakota Military Records for a discussion of their records.

Public librarians and county clerks may be aware of other local organizations or individuals you can contact for information and services. In many small communities, the elderly are a wonderful resource for history and memories. Some maintain scrapbooks of obituaries and events in the community.

Family History Library Resources[edit | edit source]

Additional information about society records and directories can be found in theFamilySearch Catalog by using a collections search:


Online Resources[edit | edit source]