South Dakota, United States Genealogy

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Welcome to South Dakota,
the Mount Rushmore State
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When the United States acquired South Dakota, most of the land became part of the public domain. The federal government surveyed available land into townships and transferred it to private ownership through local land offices. The first land office was established at Vermillion in 1861. See the United States Land and Property article for more information about the land entry process. To locate the land-entry or homestead case file for your ancestor, you will need to know either the patent number or the legal description (range, township, section) of the land. The county recorder of deeds may be able to tell you the legal description of the land, or you may be able to pinpoint the exact location by searching the entries in the tract book covering the approximate area concerned.


Extinct or Renamed Counties:
Armstrong | Ashmore | Big Sioux | Boreman | Bramble | Bruguier | Burchard | Burdick | Cheyenne | Choteau | Cole | Cragin | Delano | Ewing | Forsythe | Greely | Jayne | Lugenbeel | Mandan | Martin | Meyer | Midway | Mills | Nowlin | Pratt | Presho | Pyatt | Rinehart | Rusk | Schnasse | Scobey | Sterling | Stone | Thompson | Wagner | Washabaugh | Washington | Wetmore | White River | Wood

Genealogy courses: Learn how to research from an expert in United States of America Research.

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