The SVGS Library, located at 200 W. 6th St., in the Old Courthouse Museum 2nd floor, aims to be a friendly, informal place for family & historical research. We hope after reading this, you will decide to visit in person or contact us for more information. The library is open M-F afternoons until 4, with volunteers present to assist you. Additional times are available by prior arrangement. Library access may be affected by Museum activity. If coming from out of town, we suggest you contact us to confirm hours and availability of a volunteer. Contact the librarian through the Old Courthouse Museum at 605-367-4210 or firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no fee for in person use of the library, although there do charge for copies, and for Research Requests submitted remotely.
Available in the SVGS Library by showing your ID and paying a $5 one-time fee. These give you access to records of Births over 100 years, Marriages and Deaths in all South Dakota counties by presenting your ID and the card in person.
Resources in our Library
More than 4,000 various items help make our library one of the largest and best. Our library collection concentrates on Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County & South Dakota, but has items on many other areas. You might be surprised what you find.
Titles vary from beginning research, to researching in various locations, archives, ethnic groups, and heritage societies.
We have resources from many organizations such as: DAR, Mayflower Society, National Society of Sons & Daughters of Pilgrims, and Norwegian Lags.
Areas & States
New England, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Washington.
Countries: Scotland, Ireland, England, Germany, Austria, Russia, Scandinavia, Norway & Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, and Czechoslovakia.
An extensive collection of Sioux Falls City Directories, the earliest is dated 1885. Additional directories of other South Dakota locations. Multiple directories from Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and Nebraska.
Atlases, Plat books, County & Farm Directories, Maps, Misc.
Minnehaha County — 13 large, hard-cover atlases. Earliest year-1903. Each includes symbols showing locations of farm homes, schools, churches & cemeteries.
Atlases & Plat books of 30 additional South Dakota counties, 28 books of other states and counties.
Tax assessment books—8 books, various years of Minnehaha County & Lincoln County.
Farm directories- many SD counties, some counties are covered with multiple years.
Approximately 850 individual family histories are in our library.
Information varies from items in a manila file to multiple books on a family or its branches.
Close to twenty feet of shelving holds the majority of our yearbook collection. Soft cover items are in a vertical file. Majority are middle schools, high schools and colleges in Sioux Falls & South Dakota. Collection includes Sioux Falls High School, the predecessor to Washington High School.
Quarterlies & Newsletters
Almost forty feet of shelving holds our Quarterly & Newsletter collection. Items are received from genealogy organizations in South Dakota and other states. Includes bound copies of our SVGS Pathfinder.
City, county, church and organization history books
Often written or compiled in conjunction with an important milestone, these can be a great source of pictures, names & stories. Check out the many histories on our shelves and in vertical files.
Minnehaha County- WPA records book, Burial permits, Cemetery Records of many locations, including Minnehaha County abandoned cemeteries and the Minnehaha County Poor Farm Cemetery. The Poor Farm Cemetery is also known as Minnehaha Cemetery, one of two with that name in Minnehaha County. Lincoln County cemetery records. Transcribed records, indexes & microfilm.
Over 170,000 entries in this index. View the index at our library or contact the library. Entries are coded for location of the obituary in our files. The obituaries may be purchased for $3 as a printed or digital copy.
Begun by members who went through unindexed books in our library. Almost 108 lateral FEET of filed index cards. Each has a name and code telling where to find that name in our library items. More names added often.
Pioneer Certificate Applications
Seventy, three-inch, 3-ring notebooks holding all of almost 5900 Pioneer Certificate Applications and supporting documents for each application. A Pioneer Certificate name index of all names in these applications is maintained, with each name referenced to a Pioneer Certificate. Apply for a Pioneer Certificate if your ancestor lived in Dakota Territory, prior to statehood Nov 2, 1889.
Both sides of communication with SVGS are kept in notebooks & the names added to our Name Index.
Use our digital film viewer and enhance images for best viewing & better printing. SVGS has microfilm of many church records, 10 rolls of Minnehaha County Vital Records, Funeral home records, 1900 & 1920 SD Federal Census, 8 rolls of Dakota Territory Census & Marriages, Revolutionary Soldiers & Pensions, Minnehaha County Probate Index 1873-1976, Index of Cherokee Roll 1835 (East of the Mississippi), Hawley family history and more. Newspapers include Canton SD Sioux Valley News, Hartford Herald, McPherson County Herald, Evening Huronite, Ipswich Tribune, Leola Northwest Blade. Inquire about using our digital viewer for viewing your own microfilm.
Calvary Episcopal Cathedral Parish Records. These records are as up to date as laws and Church Canons allow. Use of these files was acquired through mutual agreement in February 2020 and will be updated yearly. Other indexes and data files are found on our computers.
This recent purchase allows one scan for both pages of an open book, but saves each page as a separate image. Built-in software removes the skewing/curve often seen in images of book pages scanned with earlier scanner types. We have restarted our project of digitizing almost 6000 Pioneer Certificate applications and their supporting documentation.
Sue Eckert, March 7, 2022