South Dakota, Minnehaha County, Probate Case Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Minnehaha County
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South Dakota, Minnehaha County, Probate Case Records, 1873-1935 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Minnehaha, South Dakota, United States
South Dakota flag.png
Flag of South Dakota
US Locator Map South Dakota Minnehaha.png
Location of Minnehaha County, South Dakota
US Locator South Dakota.png
Location of South Dakota
Record Description
Record Type Probate
Collection years 1873-1935
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in the Collection?

The collection consists of probate case records located at the South Dakota State Historical Society in Pierre. The files are arranged by box, folder, and file numbers. This collection is being published as images become available. The records cover the years 1873 to 1935.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for South Dakota, Minnehaha County, Probate Case Records, 1873-1935.

Collection Content

Sample Image

Prior to statehood, probate records were kept by the Territorial Probate Court. Contact the Archives Division of the South Dakota Historical Society for copies of territorial probate records.

Probate records are presently kept by the district county courts. South Dakota probate records include probate proceedings, petitions, affidavits, orders for sales, reports of sales, administrators' and executors' bonds, guardianship papers, wills, and letters of administration. 

Probate records are used to legally dispose of a person’s estate after his or her death. The probate process transfers the legal responsibility for payment of taxes, care and custody of dependent family members, liquidation of debts, and transfer of property title. The transfer is to an executor or executrix if the deceased had made a will, to an administrator or administratrix if the deceased had not made a will, or to a guardian or conservator if the deceased had heirs under the age of twenty-one or if heirs were incompetent due to disease or disability.

The death date, residence, and other facts that were current at the time of the probate proceeding are quite reliable, though there is still a chance of misinformation. The records may omit the names of deceased family members and those who have previously received an inheritance, or the spouse mentioned may not be the parent of the children mentioned.

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

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

Probate records usually include the following facts:

  • Name of testator or deceased
  • Names of heirs such as spouse, children, and other relatives or friends
  • Names of witnesses
  • Residence of testator
  • Lists of belongings, property, and so forth
  • Document and recording dates (Sometimes the date of death will be given. Recording dates are also used to approximate event dates, i.e. a letter of administration was usually written shortly after the time of death.)

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search you will need to know at least some of the following:

  • The name of the deceased.
  • The approximate date of death or probate.
  • The names of other family members who may be mentioned in the probate case.

Compare the information on the image to what you already know about your ancestor to determine if it is the correct family or person. You may need to compare several images before you find your ancestor.

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page then:
⇒Select the "County"
⇒Select the "Record Type, Box and File Number, Year Range"


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.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • Use a Probate record to identify adoptions, guardians, heirs and relatives.
  • Use a will to approximate a death date, then find a death certificate.
  • Use the information in the probate record to substitute for civil birth and death records for earlier years.
  • Use the information to locate census, christenings, marriage and land records.
  • Use the occupations to find employment or military 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 Who 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.
  • 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.

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, Minnehaha County, Probate Case Records, 1873-1935." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Citing Probate Court. 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. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for South Dakota, Minnehaha County, Probate Case Records, 1873-1935.

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How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.