The Episcopal Church was started in South Dakota in the 1880’s, and the Diocese of South Dakota welcomes inquiries from genealogical researchers.

The Episcopal Church does not maintain central membership lists. Information on families or individual members of a church, church registers, and church directories can best be found by contacting the church directly.

The Diocesan Office can help with that contact information.


Vital Records Inquiries

Church registers containing records of baptisms, burials, and marriages are kept by the church where the event took place. Contact the priest-in-charge of the church.

Some mission church registers older than 1970, and registers of closed churches, are kept in the Diocesan Archives. Contact the Diocesan Office.

Church registers may reveal full names, names of parents, dates and places of birth, dates of baptism, dates of marriage, dates of funerals, places of burial. Extremely rarely is further information noted.

Please note: A few old records and registers have been lost or destroyed, and the oldest are often fragile and partly illegible.


Clergy Biography

The Church does not collect biographical data on most of its clergy, but directories can frequently provide a rough outline of ministerial service and sometimes provide vital information. This outline can be fleshed out by contacting the churches where the priest served or by locating an obituary in the local newspapers.

Information the Diocese may be able to provide: date & place of birth, parents’ names, education, ordination dates, spouse’s name, number of children, and dates & locations of places served.

Please note: there will be much less personal information for priests who lived prior to 1920. We do not maintain contact information for the children and/or descendants of Episcopal clergy.



Keep your inquiry brief, giving only the essential information and requesting only the information you need. Your chances of receiving a reply are better if you do not ask broad or vague questions or provide unnecessary details of your family history.

The Vital Records information is kept in chronological order, so exact or approximate dates are critical. Few clergy have staff members, and they rarely have the time to search un-indexed records when priority must be given to pastoral concerns, church administration, and worship. Please have patience while awaiting a reply.

If possible, an offer to visit the church to perform the research yourself may be preferable. Additionally, donations to the church for its time is always appreciated.



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