How to Find South Carolina Death Records
Statewide registration of deaths began in 1915 in South Carolina. Counties have copies of these records.
Next Step: When did the death occur?
Deaths before 1915
Before 1915, no deaths were recorded by the county or state. The cities of Charleston, Georgetown, Spartanburg, and Union City are exceptions. Learn more. In most cases, you must search substitute records to locate your ancestor’s death date and place.
|Records that give death information:|
Deaths from 1915 thru the present
The state of South Carolina began recording deaths in 1915.
STEP ONE: Find Death Information
For deaths that exist during this time period, try the following databases. Try each link.
|South Carolina Deaths Databases - Includes Index and Digital Images|
|1915-1943 - At FamilySearch.org||Free; coverage data is not provided|
|Choose one of the following:|
||1821-1960 - use at FamilySearch Centers/Libraries||Free at FamilySearch Centers and Libraries; Find your local FamilySearch Center|
||1821-1960 - use your Ancestry subscription||$, To obtain a subscription to Ancestry; Ancestry is often available through your local public library for free|
|Includes Index Only||
|1944-1955 - At FamilySearch.org||Free; coverage data is not provided|
|1915-1961 - At SC Dept. of Health||Free|
|Choose one of the following:|
||1950-1952 - use at FamilySearch Centers/Libraries||Free at FamilySearch Centers and Libraries; Find your local FamilySearch Center|
||1950-1952 - use your Ancestry subscription||$, To obtain a subscription to Ancestry; Ancestry is often available through your local public library for free|
|Can't search the index listed above?||Go to Step Two listed below and order a search for your ancestor from the South Carolina Department of Health State Office or South Carolina Department of Archives and History.|
|Can't find your ancestor in the index?||Tips for searching indexes|
|No death record for your ancestor?||Other records with death information|
STEP TWO: Obtain the Certificate
If the image was not included in the index entry above, you can order a copy of the death record for a fee from the following locations:
|To Order Death Certificates|
|From County of Death||From SC Dept. of Health State office|
|May be less expensive and faster than ordering from the state||County websites can be more difficult to use; does not include certificates from 2005 to the present||Includes all existing years||May be more expensive than ordering from the county|
Restrictions for persons who died within the last 50 years:
To obtain a copy of the death certificate for those who died within the last 50 years, you must be:
- The immediate family member of the person on the certificate (or one of their legal representatives)
- A person who demonstrates a direct and tangible interest when information is needed to determine a personal or a property right
- Anyone who has legal interest in the certificate
- NOTE: A copy of the death record cannot be obtained by anyone except those listed above until 50 years have passed from the date of the death.
Death certificates from 1915 to 1955 are available on microfilm through the Family History Library: FHL films 1913451 (1st of 654 films).
If you do not want to order the death record, there are other records with death information you can search.