South Dakota, School Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.
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Collection Time Period

The records cover the years 1884 to 1938.

Record Description

The collection consists of school records located at the South Dakota State Historical Society in Pierre. The records include:

  • teacher's term reports
  • school census
  • attendence

The records are generally arranged by county, year, and school district number. This collection is being published as images become available.

Record Content

The key genealogical facts found in the School Census Records may include the following:

  • Name of County
  • Name of Town
  • School District
  • Names of parents or guardians
  • Name of child
  • Age of Child
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Home Address

How to Use the Record

School records can be very helpful as they can often be used as a reliable substitute for birth records or they can lead you to birth records. To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:

  • Name of the child
  • Age or approximate birth date
  • Parents' names
  • Residence

Compare the information in the school record to what you already know about your ancestor to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information about them. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestor.

For example:

  • Use the age to calculate an approximate birth date.
  • Use the age or birth date along with the parents’ names and residence to find the family in census records.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.

It is often helpful to extract the information on all children with the same parents. If the surname is unusual, you may want to compile the entries for every person of the same surname and sort them into families based on the names of the parents. Continue to search the birth records to identify other relatives such as cousins who attended the same school or other nearby schools.

Keep in mind:

  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after 1885.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from record to record.

Record History

The listing of school-aged children is a common practice throught the United States. The records are usually compiled on a yearly basis.

Why the Record Was Created

School records helped local governments determine funding needs for individual schools.

Record Reliability

The information is usually reliable although the ages are sometimes off by a year and legal guardians may be confused with parents.

Related Websites

South Dakota Free Pulic Records Directory 

Related Wiki Articles

South Dakota Vital Records

Contributions to This Article

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.


Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection

  • “Delaware Marriage Records,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org: accessed 4 March 2011), entry for William Anderson and Elizabeth Baynard Henry, married 23 November 1913; citing marriage certificate no. 859; FHL microfilm 2,025,063; Delaware Bureau of Archives and Records Management, Dover.
  • “El Salvador Civil Registration,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org: accessed 21 March 2011), entry for Jose Maria Antonio del Carmen, born 9 April 1880; citing La Libertad, San Juan Opico, Nacimientos 1879-1893, image 50; Ministerio Archivo Civil de la Alcaldia Municipal de San Salvador.

Sources of information for This Collection

"South Dakota, School Records, 1884-1938." FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org). South Dakota State Historical Society, Pierre, South Dakota. FHL digital images, 212 digital folders. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

The suggested format for citing FamilySearch Historical Collections is found in the following article: How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections