Search Public Records
Where can I search for free public records?
Many vital records in South Dakota are freely and readily available to the public but can demand personal time and effort. After 100 years, South Dakota birth certificates become accessible to the public. You can browse through the South Dakota birth, marriage, and divorce record archives, but be prepared to dedicate a significant amount of time reviewing records.
Are South Dakota Vital Records Open to the Public?
Access to South Dakota vital records will depend on the record type and the year the birth, death, or marriage occurred. Third-party websites can make it easier to research specific types of vital records as they are not limited to a particular geographic location. While they can be a helpful reference point when researching records, the data on third-party sites may differ from official government records.
To find a record on a third-party website, you must provide the following information:
- The location of the record you’re looking for, including the city, county, or state where it was recorded.
- The name of the person on record, if it is not a minor.
How to Verify if Your Vital Record is Official
Each state, county, and municipality creates and issues unique vital records. To confirm whether your certificate is a certified or informational copy, you can compare your birth, death, or marriage certificate with official certified copies. The appearance of certificates can vary depending on the county in which they were issued. Informational copies of vital records can be recognized by a stamp or large print across the face of the document that reads “Informational, Not a Valid Document to Establish Identity” or something similar.
What Are the Differences between Authorized Copies Versus Informational Copies?
Unlike informational copies, authorized (certified) copies of vital records can be used for identification purposes. These legal documents are only issued to people with a direct and tangible interest in the document.
Informational copies of birth, death, or marriage certificates are unofficial and not intended for official purposes like establishing identity or obtaining a passport. Instead, they are typically used for personal record-keeping, genealogical research, or display purposes. These copies may also be referred to as short-form, unofficial (non-certified), “heirloom,” or “commemorative” certificates. To request an uncertified informational copy of a birth, marriage, or death certificate in South Dakota, you must provide the fee, an accepted form of identification, and a completed application form. However, you do not need to provide a sworn statement.
Find more references regarding birth, death, and marriage certificates in the resources section.