Old Historical State, County and City Maps of South Dakota
Maps of South Dakota
Maps of South Dakota are an vital element of family history research, especially if you live faraway from where your ancestor lived. Since South Dakota political borders oftentimes changed, historic maps are critical in helping you discover the precise specific location of your ancestor’s home town, what land they owned, just who his or her neighbors happen to be, and more.
Maps can be very useful in conducting South Dakota research, especially in light of the now extinct communities. Several kinds of maps are available which can help in locating land, ghost towns, or farms. Most historical maps of South Dakota were published in atlases.
Several types of maps are useful for genealogists. Tracing the history of early families in South Dakota is much easier if the researcher has an understanding of South Dakota gazetteers and maps.
The Dakota Territory was created from Nebraska and unorganized territories on March 2, 1861 and existed until 1889, when it was admitted to the Union as the State of South Dakota. Yankton (1861–1883) and Bismarck (1883–1889) was the territorial capitals.
The 10 largest cities in South Dakota are are Sioux Falls, 153,888; Rapid City , 67,956; Aberdeen, 26,091; Brookings, 22,056; Watertown, 21,482; Mitchell, 15.254; Yankton, 14,454; Pierre (Capital), 13,646; Huron, 12,592; Vermillion, 10,571.
Any Historical South Dakota Map can indicate who owned specific property in the state and which towns held the county seat at the time. This information is a valuable starting point for your research pointing you to the right location of records.
South Dakota County Map Formations 1812-1979
This Interactive Map of South Dakota Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from 1812 to 1979.
South Dakota Map Abbreviations
- unorg. = unorganized
- g. = gained
- w. = with
- fr. = from
- atmt. = attachment
- exch = exchanged
- nca.= non county area
- ch. = changed
- Au – Aurora
- Bea – Beadle
- Bff – Buffalo
- BH – Bon Homme
- Bnt – Bennett
- Brk – Brookings
- Brl – Brule
- But – Butte
- Bwn – Brown
- Cam – Campbell
- Clk – Clark
- Cly – Clay
- CM – Charles Mix
- Cod – Codington
- Cor – Corson
- Cu – Custer
- Dav – Davison
Old Historical Atlas Maps of South Dakota
This Historical South Dakota Map Collection are from original copies so you can see South Dakota as our ancestors saw them over a hundred years ago.
Some South Dakota map years (not all) have cities, railroads, P.O. locations, township outlines and other features useful to the South Dakota researcher.
External South Dakota Map Links
- 1866 U.S. General Land Office Map of the Dakota Territory. The territory is largely unsurveyed. Surveying has only been completed in a few townships right along the Missouri River. The map shows the treaty line of July 23, 1851.
- 1880 Map of the Dakota Territory. Shows counties, Indian reservations, settlements, railroads, rivers, etc.
- 1901 Map of South Dakota. Shows administrative divisions, cities and towns, railroads, roads, rivers, etc.