Researchers Guide to McPherson County, South Dakota Cemeteries

Researched by Selma Job Lapp and Keenan L. Stoecker

Edited and Compiled by Duane E. Stabler

Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, North Dakota State University Libraries, Fargo, North Dakota, 2005, 485 pages, and Supplement Index of 48 pages, softcover.

Published in 2005, this book summarizes information from over 100 family plots, grave sites and cemeteries throughout McPherson County, South Dakota. McPherson County was a key destination for many immigrants from South Russia. Here they homesteaded, built churches & towns, lived and often died on the land that became their home. In other cases, these immigrants sold the land they had homesteaded and moved elsewhere. This book serves as a guide to those researching the families that lived in McPherson County, South Dakota.

The Index Supplement of 48 pages is also included with the book. The Index Supplement publication is available, in part, through the generous financial contribution of the Glückstal Colonies Research Association. This includes: 1) Index of Names with Cemeteries; 2) Index of Cemeteries - Alphabetical by Cemetery and Alphabetical by Township; 3) Additions and Corrections listing.

The book contents includes:

  • A Historical Overview
  • Photo Postcards
  • Names of Cemeteries
  • Locations of Cemeteries
  • Data of Individuals Buried
  • Maps to the Cemetery or Gravesite
Family Plots such as this one are located throughout McPherson County. This photo shows a fence but many do not have standing fences. Other cemeteries have high grasses making identification of graves difficult.
Photo Postcards offer us a way of viewing what our families saw as they came to town to do their trading, visiting on Saturday.
Unique Headstones of iron or of hand-made stone are found in many cemeteries.
An example of the listings showing the name, birth & death date, family members if known and any comments that the researcher found worthy of capturing.
An example of indexes that provide a guide to the location of each cemetery and the family plot or burial site. Listed by township and alphabetical for the readers convenience.

This book provides the reader a guide to all the cemeteries that the researchers of the data could locate. Sources of the data include church records, newspaper obituaries, family histories and oral information.

Although the researchers did much of the work, there were many other volunteers that offered to help locate the cemeteries, took photos, drove to the research sites etc.

The photo postcards, from a private collection, offer the reader a way to see what the three major towns of McPherson County looked like at the turn of the 20th century when postcards were the means of communicating with friends and family.

The indexes shown offer the reader a way of identifying where individuals are buried and the maps offer a way of guiding the reader to the burial site even if the reader has never been to McPherson County.

The photos offer the reader a way of seeing the cemetery or burial site should a personal visit be impractical.

Selma Job Lapp, Keenan L. Stoecker and Duane E. Stabler at the Germans from Russia Heritage Society Convention, Pierre, South Dakota, July, 2005.

Related Articles:

Krueger, Gerald "Jerry." "Remembering Past Enhjances Present, Future." Aberdeen American News, 26 June 2006.

"McPherson County Cemeteries Book Published." Northwest Blade, 20 July 2005, 1.

"Others Need Credit too." Aberdeen American News, July 2005.

Book review by Edna Boardman

Book review by Carol Just

McPherson County, South Dakota Cemeteries Book

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