Find your ancestors in South Dakota State Census 1935

Did your ancestor endure the Dirty Thirties in South Dakota? Find out if they left the Dust Bowl Great Plains during the depression years or whether they stayed. These state census records are a great way to track your family in the years between the US censuses.

What can these records tell me?

Each record contains a transcript of the original census forms. The amount of information contained can vary but you can find out the following about your ancestor:

  • Name
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Birth year
  • Marital status
  • Spouse’s name if married
  • Birth place
  • Race
  • Residence
  • City or township
  • County
  • Post office district
  • Father’s birth place
  • Mother’s birth place

  • Discover more about South Dakota State Census 1935

    State censuses were used to determine how state funds needed to be allocated and also to determine how many representatives could be sent to Congress. State Censuses are every bit as useful for family research as National Censuses and they are a great way of tracking your ancestors’ movements between the Federal censuses. At the time of the 1935 census Franklin Roosevelt had been president for two years and America was in the grip of the Great Depression.

    South Dakota is in the American Mid-West and is part of the Great Plains region. The state is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux Native American tribes. South Dakota became a state in 1889, at the same time as North Dakota. Pierre is the state capital and Sioux Falls is the largest city. South Dakota is bordered by North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana and is bisected by the Missouri River. The state is largely agricultural, with ranching being a major livelihood in the west of the state. South Dakota currently has the fifth lowest population in all 50 member states.

    In the 1930s severe drought, accompanied by aggressive farming methods, destroyed the native grasses that had preserved the natural environmental equilibrium of the Great Plains. The drought lasted for eight years and had a catastrophic effect on the states caught in the so called Dust Bowl. Dust storms, where the loose surface soil would be whipped into “Black blizzards”, could strip the paint from cars and bury houses. The air would become so charged that static shocks could short out cars and shaking hands became dangerous. The dirt got everywhere, it even caused red snow in New England in the winter of 1934.

    On Palm Sunday, 14 April 1935 the worst black blizzard of the so-called Dirty Thirties started in South Dakota. On Black Sunday, as it would become known, Sunday drivers and picnickers, enjoying a clear sunny day, were suddenly in mid-afternoon engulfed in darkness. The air was so thick with dust that it was impossible to see your hand in front of your face. People couldn’t find their way from the front yard to the front door. Incredibly no one was killed but the memories of the storm never left those who experienced it.