Statewide Census Records that exist for South Dakota are 1860 (as Dakota Territory), 1870 (as Dakota Territory), 18801890(fragment, see below), 1900191019201930 and 1940. There are Industry and Agriculture Schedules 1870 and 1880; the Mortality Schedules for the years 1870 and 1880; and the Union Veterans Schedules for 1890.

The 1850 Minnesota Territory census did include some information about residents of the area now known as South Dakota. However, only those in Pembina County, which is now part of North Dakota, were included. As far as the 1890 federal census goes, only the records for Union County’s Jefferson Township are still extant today. The South Dakota State Historical Society holds the records for each of those census on microfilm. Although most of those records are available via inter-library loan, the Soundexes for 1880 and 1900 are not.

AISI has indexed the mortality schedules, which have been microfilmed. The South Dakota State Historical Society, which is located in Pierre, and other repositories across the state have those records on file.

The federal population schedules for Dakota Territory from 1860, 1870, and 1880 are on file at the Sioux Falls Public Library, along with the state schedules. A fire destroyed the state’s census records from 1890. However, the South Dakota State Archives does have some county school censuses from around that time period on file.

The South Dakota State Historical Society has many different Dakota Territory and South Dakota state census records available to researchers. Twenty of South Dakota’s present day counties are mentioned in the existing records from the Dakota Territory Special Federal 1885 Census, which was taken right before South Dakota became a state. The counties listed in those records are: Beadle, Butte, Charles, Mix, Edmunds, Fall River, Faulk, Hand, Hanson, Hutchinson, Hyde, Lake, Lincoln, Marshall, McPherson, Moody, Roberts, Sanborn, Spink, Stanley,


Those records are available via inter-library loan, along with the veterans’ census, which was taken as part of that 1885 census.

1895 state census records with index ledgers are available for the following counties: Beadle, Brule, Pratt (now Jones), Presho (now Lyman), Campbell, Charles Mix

The South Dakota State Historical Society has those records available on microfilm. Although not on microfilm, the census records for the years of 1905, 1915, 1925, 1935, and 1945 are also located at the South Dakota State Historical Society. The 1905 through 1945 censuses also have alphabetical card files.

Land descriptions are listed in the 1905 census. So, those census records can be quite valuable to researchers, especially since they can be used to find federal records for particular plots of land. Those records also lust how long the resident was in the United States and how long they were in South Dakota at the time that the census was taken.

The Salt Lake City Family History Library (FHL) has several microfilmed census records for South Dakota’s Indian reservations. Those records are also available via inter-library loan from the South Dakota State Historical Society.

Searchable South Dakota Census Databases and other Helpful Links