Now that I have tracked great great grandpa John back to his childhood with federal census records, I can see if any state census records are available. I went to FamilySearch.org (https://beta.familysearch.org/) and found three South Dakota state census records for him, 1925, 1915, and 1905. The writing is a bit faded on the 1925 enumeration sheet:
But I can make out that he was 64 years old, lived in Mayfield township, Yankton County. His occupation was “agriculture.” I guess he got fancy in his old age. His parents were both born in Ireland, and his wife’s maiden name is Theresa Burns. That will come in handy later. It shows that they were married in 1886. Well, that narrows down my search for their marriage certificate … and shortens the time that they were married before Katie was born in November 1886. It also tells me that he is Catholic. Perhaps church records can tell me about their marriage if I can’t find it at the county level, since South Dakota didn’t start keeping marriage records as a state until 1905.
On the 1915 enumeration sheet, we find even more information:
We see that yes, John is a farmer and he owns his farm. We also see that he was born inWisconsin (which we already knew from the federal census, but always good to confirm). We also know now that John was never in the military. Down in the lower left corner, it shows that he has lived his entire 54 years in the U.S., but only 43 years in South Dakota. Aha! We now know that he arrived in South Dakota at age 11!
The 1905 enumeration sheet confirms the information from the other two years:
John is living in Mayfield township, Yankton County, is married, can read and write, was born in Wisconsin, and has lived in South Dakota for 33 years.
I know that South Dakota conducted a state cenuses in 1895 and a special Dakota Territory census was conducted 1885 (thanks to a handy-dandy little book called The Family Tree Resource Book for Genealogists which can be found at Family Tree Magazine’s store: www.familytreemagazine.com/store), but I haven’t had any luck finding either. It appears that the 1895 census only included 6 counties, not Yankton. The 1885 census appears to not include most of the southern part of the territory (which, of course, includes Yankton County). Looks like I’m going to have to find another way.
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