South Dakota State Historical Society

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1885 Civil War Veterans Census

After the Civil War, veterans of both the Union and Confederate armies moved to Dakota Territory. This index consists of census record sheets for a special census of Civil War veterans living in Dakota Territory (South Dakota) in 1885.

Confederate Veterans can be searched for by county and by last name.

Union Veterans can be searched by county. It consists of 421 census sheets listing 5.875 soldiers from 45 counties in South Dakota.

American Indian Research

The Guide to American Indian Research in South Dakota is available here. It includes maps of Indian Reservations in South Dakota in 1889 and 2000.

Biographical Files

The Biographical File Index is a list of individual for which various information has been collected. The file folders themselves are available only at the State Archives.

Biographical Index of South Dakota

This index is a guide to written biographies on prominent South Dakotan's from roughly 1897 to 1930. The index lists the names in alphabetical order giving the book number and page number in which the biography is found.

The 12 biographical books are held in the library of the South Dakota State Archives. Various libraries throughout South Dakota have copies of the books listed. There are 7,139 names listed in the index.

To order pages from the Biographical Index, please contact the SD State Archives and include Biographical Name, Book Number, and Page Number.

Cemetery Records

This searchable database includes records that were cataloged as part of the WPA Cemetery Project (pre-1940s) plus any cemetery updates that their office has received. It is not a complete listing of all the burials in South Dakota.

County Guides

County Guides are available for some of the counties in South Dakota. They are a listing of the governmental records available and include Naturalization Records, Probate Records Grave Registrations, and Manuscript Collections.

General Federation of Womens's Clubs - Pioneer Daughters

Beginning in the 1940s, Marie Drew, chair of the Pioneer Daughters Collection, began the work of gathering biographies of female pioneers of South Dakota. Her efforts, garnered a collection of some 6,000 stories of the Great Plains.

The collected biographies include women of various social standing and ethnic background who lived in South Dakota during the first half of the twentieth century. A small portion of the entries also include photographs. Some of the collections only contain an obituary.

County List

Married Name List

Maiden Name List

Manuscript Collections

"Manuscript" collections in the State Archives refer to all unpublished materials received from non-government sources. These materials include letters, diaries, and scrapbooks of individual’s, family papers, and minutes, reports, and correspondence files of businesses and organizations. Photographs, sound and video recordings, and other media are found in many collections.

Specifically, there is the Doane Robinson Collection, Marry Collins Collection, Joseph M. Hanson Collection, Robert Floyd Kerr Collection, Charles E Deland Collection, and Steve Cihak, WWII Letters.

Naturalization Records

The South Dakota Naturalization Records Index is divided into two sets, First Papers and Second Papers. Searches are made by entering the last name.

Newspaper Database

This database is not online at this time. Search for available newspapers by City, County, Date, Paper Title, or Roll Number.

Newspaper Surname Index

This database in not online at this time.

Photocopies will be made and mailed to you.

  • Research Fees: $10.60 for one entry/ $21.20 for an hour of research time
  • Email
  • Phone: (605) 773-3804

Norwegian Language Newspapers

The state archives has a large collection of historic South Dakota newspapers, among which are seven Norwegian-language newspapers:

  • Almueven (Pierre) 1880
  • Fremad (Sioux Falls) 1903-1935 (partial)
  • Posten (Sioux Falls) 1908-1916
  • Posten (Sisseton) 1902-1912 (partial)
  • Syd Dakota Ekko (Brookings) 1889
  • Vesterheim (Sioux Falls) 1888-1889
  • Viserguten (Canton) 1926-1944 (partial)

South Dakota Sons of American Revolution

The South Dakota Society of the Sons of the American Revolution application for membership forms date from 1911 to 1974. There are 230 applicants listed in the database.

Information on the membership forms include: applicant name, descendant name, applicant acceptance date, birth town, county, and state, birth date, occupation, residence, family genealogy and descendant war record. Date of birth has been removed from the database.

Searches can be made by Applicant Name and Descendent Name.

Photocopy request for forms can be made by contacting the South Dakota State Archives. H74-049, box 3571A

Return to Norwegian American page