South Dakota Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections

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This entry was originally written by Laura Hall Heuermann and Marsha Hoffman Rising, CG, FUGA, FASG for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
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the South Dakota Family History Research series.
History of South Dakota
South Dakota Vital Records
Census Records for South Dakota
Background Sources for South Dakota
South Dakota Maps
South Dakota Land Records
South Dakota Probate Records
South Dakota Court Records
South Dakota Tax Records
South Dakota Cemetery Records
South Dakota Church Records
South Dakota Military Records
South Dakota Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
South Dakota Archives, Libraries, and Societies
South Dakota Naturalizations
Native Americans of South Dakota
South Dakota County Resources
Map of South Dakota


Two periodicals with statewide exposure are South Dakota History, published by the South Dakota State Historical Society and South Dakota Genealogical Society Quarterly, published by that society. Other local societies publish periodicals in their areas.


Approximately 150 weekly and twelve daily South Dakota newspapers (1859'2001) are currently being microfilmed as part of the nearly 1000 titles of South Dakota newspapers located at the state archives. Many can be borrowed by interlibrary loan. No current, reliable published guide exists because the cataloging is continuously updated.


Manuscript sources include both governmental archival material and personal papers held by repositories. The largest collection in the state for both is at the South Dakota State Historical Society, although the published guide is out-of-date. The following may be of interest to genealogists: records of the State Railroad Division of the Milwaukee Railroad, railroad tract maps, Rapid City flood records, secretary of state papers, teacher certification records, and some state supreme court case files.

A number of school records can be found in the archives at the South Dakota State Historical Society. These consist of teachers' term reports, school censuses, and student records. Among them are numerous essays, case studies, and other evidences of students writing a dissertation. The records for the specific counties are Aurora (1912'18), Brown (1891'1942), Butte (1918'70), Day (1891'1969), Edmunds (1905'73), Jackson (1918'81), Jones (1916'71), Lyman (1923'69), McCook (1904'11), Perkins (1916'70), Roberts (1944'59), Forestburg District, Sanborn County (1914'81), Spink (few records, 1887'1904), Tripp (1911'73), Turner (1902'69), and Walworth (1906'72). The Handy Guide to Non-Current South Dakota School Records (1983) is available from the society.

Other records in the South Dakota archives that should be considered by genealogists include coroners' inquests for Deuel (1889'1952), Edmunds (1887'1912), Hand (1921'69), Hughes (1885'1968), Jones (1922'49), Lawrence (1880'1917), and Minnehaha (1883'1929). The archives also holds insanity records for Deuel (1906'20), Hughes (1881'1956), Lawrence (1879'1976), and Walworth (1891'95) as well as estray records for Edmunds (1897'1912); marks and brands for Union (1865'1900); and records of the Tuberculosis Sanatorium of Deuel (1906'39) and Lawrence (1923'62).