Did your ancestors come from South Dakota? Were they drafted to serve in WW2 or did they do their duty on the Home Front? Have a look in the South Dakota State Census for 1945 and see if you can find them. State censuses are a great place to search for your ancestors between the Federal Censuses. Discover how old they were and where they lived, as well as how long they had been in the United States and where they were born.
Each record contains a transcript of original census material. The amount of information may vary but you can generally find out the following about your ancestor:
Years in the United States
City or town
State censuses were used to determine state funding and also to decide how many representatives should be sent to Congress. 1945 saw a change in President, when ailing President Franklin D. Roosevelt was succeeded by Harry S. Truman in April. Roosevelt died months later.
South Dakota is a mainly agricultural state situated in the Great Plains area of the Mid-west. South Dakota became a state in 1889, the same year as North Dakota. Pierre is the state capital and Sioux Falls, the largest city. South Dakota is bordered by North Dakota, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska.
South Dakota has always been sparsely populated. It has the fifth lowest population in all 50 states. For a brief period in the 1940s there were an extra 50,000 people in the city of Sioux Falls, thanks to the Army Radio Technical Training School.
America had entered the Second World War in 1941 but the Draft had been brought back in in 1940, to continue until 1947. South Dakota was home to numerous airfields used by the United States Army Air Force to train pilots and aircrews of USAAF fighters and bombers. Women were also encouraged to do their part, not simply on the Home Front. The “Rosie the Riveter” campaign had begun in 1942 to encourage women into the vital jobs left empty by men fighting on the front.
The Army Radio Technical Training School was also set up in 1942 and was closed in 1945 but left behind it a building and population boom in Sioux Falls that continued into the 1950s. At one point 27,000 men were on-site learning how to send and receive Morse Code, build their own radios and identify aircraft. Many of the military personnel based in South Dakota married local people and stayed on when the war was over. Perhaps your ancestors were among them?