Brown County, South Dakota Genealogy

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Guide to Brown County, South Dakota ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Aberdeen
Organized: October 1, 1879
Parent County(s): Mills, Stone and Beadle[1]
Neighboring Counties
Day  • Dickey (ND)  • Edmunds  • Faulk  • Marshall  • Mcpherson  • Sargent (ND)  • Spink
See County Maps
Location Map
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The county is named after Alfred Brown, of Hutchinson County, South Dakota, a Dakota Territory legislator in 1879. [2] It is located in the northern area of the state.[3]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Brown County Courthouse
101 1st Ave SE
Aberdeen, SD 57401-4203
Phone: 605.622.2266

Clerk Courts has birth, marriage (some as early as 1892)[4], death, burial, probate and court records;
Register of Deeds has land records[5]

Brown County, South Dakota Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major Records[6]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1905 1892 1905 1879 1879 1879 1850
*State birth and death records began in 1905.
Compliance for recording births was 1906 and 1932 for deaths.[7]

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

The following are locations in the county[9]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places
  • Aberdeen
  • Allison
  • Bates
  • Bath
  • Brainard
  • Cambria
  • Carlisle
  • Claremont
  • Columbia
  • East Hanson
  • East Rondell
  • Franklyn
  • Frederick
  • Garden Prairie
  • Garland
  • Gem
  • Greenfield
  • Groton
  • Hecla
  • Henry
  • Highland
  • Lansing
  • Liberty
  • Lincoln
  • Mercier
  • New Hope
  • North Detroit
  • Oneota
  • Ordway
  • Osceola
  • Palmyra
  • Portage
  • Prairiewood
  • Putney
  • Ravinia
  • Richland
  • Riverside
  • Savo
  • Shelby
  • South Detroit
  • Warner
  • West Hanson
  • Westport
  • West Rondell

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Brown County, South Dakota online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See South Dakota Cemeteries for more information

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1880 353
1890 16,855 4674.8%
1900 15,286 −9.3%
1910 25,867 69.2%
1920 29,509 14.1%
1930 31,458 6.6%
1940 29,676 −5.7%
1950 32,617 9.9%
1960 34,106 4.6%
1970 36,920 8.3%
1980 36,962 0.1%
1990 35,580 −3.7%
2000 35,460 −0.3%
2010 36,531 3.0%
Source: "".

Before South Dakota was a state in 1889, parts of South Dakota were included in the 1836 Iowa Territory census (also known as Wisconsin Territory), 1840 Iowa Territory census, 1850 Minnesota Territory census, and the 1860-1880 Dakota Territory censuses.[10] See links listed below.

Territory and State Census Records[edit | edit source]

Federal Census Records[edit | edit source]

Federal Censuses were taken for the state of South Dakota starting in 1890, although only one page survived. The 1900 Census is the next Federal Census available. For links to Federal census indexes, see South Dakota Census.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Church records vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. For general information about South Dakota denominations, view the South Dakota Church Records wiki page.

Online Church Records
Lutheran Church

Presbyterian Church

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts and indexes, mortgages, leases, grants and land patents.

See South Dakota Land and Property for additional information about early South Dakota land grants. After land was transferred to private ownership, subsequent transactions were usually recorded at the county courthouse, where records are currently housed.

Online Land Records

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Local histories are available for Brown County, South Dakota Genealogy. County and town histories may include biographies, church, school and government history, and military information. For more information about local histories, see the wiki page section South Dakota Local Histories.

  • Bath community, 1881-1981 : our first one hundred years. 1981. By Bath Centennial Book Committee (Bath, South Dakota). [North Dakota?] : Dakota North Plains Press. Online at:; At various libraries (WorldCat).
  • Brown County history [South Dakota]. 1980. By History Committee of Brown County Museum and Historical Society. [Aberdeen, South Dakota] : Brown County Museum and Historical Society. Online at:; At various libraries (WorldCat).
  • Early history of Brown County, South Dakota : a literature of the people. 1970. By Brown County Territorial Pioneers Association. Aberdeen, South Dakota : Brown Co. Territorial Pioneers Assoc.. Online at:; At various libraries (WorldCat).
  • History of the Finnish settlement in Brown and Dickey counties of South and North Dakota, 1881-1955. 1960. By Savo Finnish Historical Society. Salt Lake City, Utah : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah. Online at:; At various libraries (WorldCat).

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

McPherson CountyEdmunds CountyFaulk CountySpink CountyClark CountyDay CountyMarshall CountyMcIntosh County, North DakotaDickey County, North DakotaSargent County, North DakotaSD BROWN.JPG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Online Collections[edit | edit source]

These collections are unique to South Dakota. You will find nationwide databases for military records on U.S. Military Online Genealogy Records and South Dakota Military Records.

Civil War

World War I

World War II

For further information see South Dakota Military Records.

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

For more information, see South Dakota Newspapers.

South Dakota Newspapers Online

South Dakota Newspaper Catalogs

  • U.S. Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present on Chronicling America - contains a list of all known newspapers and the dates they cover; once you locate a newspaper name, contact the local library to see if they have copies of the newspaper.

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

In most counties in South Dakota, probate records have been kept by the county judge. They include wills, fee books, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, probate ticklers, and dockets. The records are available at the county courthouse.

The FamilySearch Catalog lists films of probate records. To find the records for this county, use the Place Search for South Dakota, Brown then click Probate records.

Online Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

South Dakota tax records complement land records and can be used to supplement the years between censuses. There may be gaps of several years in the records.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. See the CDC Where to Write website for information on acquiring copies of these records.

Birth[edit | edit source]

— index

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Brown County. For state-wide archival repositories, see South Dakota Archives and Libraries.

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Alexander Mitchell Public Library
519 S. Kline Street
Aberdeen, SD 57401

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Brown County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see South Dakota Societies.

Brown County Historical Society
Dacotah Prairie Museum
PO Box 395
Aberdeen, SD 57401
Telephone: 605-626-7117

Frederick Area Historical Society
412 Main St.
PO Box 523
Frederick, SD 57441-0523

http Aberdeen Area Genealogical Society
PO Box 493
Aberdeen, SD 57402-0493
[Aberdeen Area Genealogical Society Website]

Websites[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  2.,_South_Dakota accessed 1/30/2017
  3. accessed 1/30/2017
  4. South Dakota Department of Health, “Brown County Resources”, accessed 21 June 2017.
  5. The Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America, 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002)Brown County, South Dakota, p.622
  6. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Brown County, South Dakota. Page 622 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 620.
  7. Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Rev. ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 1992), 671; Alice M. Hetzel, U.S. Vital Statistics System: Major Activities and Developments, 1950-95 (Hyattsville, Md.: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, [1997]), 58.
  8. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  9. Wikipedia contributors, "Brown County, South Dakota," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, accessed 2 November 2016.
  10. ’'Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 617. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.