South Carolina Deaths, 1915-1965 (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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South Carolina Deaths, 1915-1965 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
South Carolina, United States
South Carolina flag.png
Flag of South Carolina
US Locator South Carolina.png
Location of South Carolina
Record Description
Record Type Death
Collection years 1915-1965
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in the Collection?

The collection consists of a name index and images of South Carolina death records, from 1915-1965, acquired from South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Original records were created by South Carolina Department of Health. Records are arranged by year and alphabetically by locality.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for South Carolina Deaths, 1915-1965.

The trend of keeping state-wide death records throughout the United States expanded in the early 20th century after Congress passed a resolution in 1901 asking each state to gather information about births and deaths on a statewide basis. Because Congress did not fund it, it took several more years before it happened in every state. Death certificates were usually filled out by a mortician or medical professional. They filled in the information concerning the death and then obtained personal information on the deceased from an informant, usually a relative. Then, they sent the information to the county, who sent a copy to the state. 

The South Carolina Division of Vital Records is responsible for maintaining and issuing certified copies of vital records, including death certificates for deaths. 

Death certificates become public records fifty years after the death. Deaths from 1915 to 1957 are available to the public at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History Monday through Saturday.City of Charleston death records from as early as 1821 are on file at the Charleston County Health Department. Florence City deaths for 1895-1914 are available at the Florence County Health Department. Newberry City deaths from the late 1800’s are available at the Newberry County Health Department. The state generally achieved compliance after 1915. 

Death certificates were created to record deaths in South Carolina in compliance with state law and to better serve public health needs. They were also used in connection with the probate of wills and the administration of estates. 

Collection Content

Sample Image

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

Information found in most South Carolina death certificates includes:

  • Name and gender of deceased
  • Date, place and time of death
  • City and county in which death occurred
  • Age of deceased in years, months, days
  • Race, marital status and occupation of deceased
  • Name of surviving spouse
  • Birthplace of deceased
  • Father's name and birthplace
  • Mother's maiden name and birthplace
  • Name of informant, often a family member
  • Burial information

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor.
  • The approximate date of death.
  • The place where the death occurred.

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in the requested information on the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the individuals in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life.
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor’s death record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find or verify their birth records and parents' names.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents (if the deceased is a child) to locate church and land records.
  • Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records.
  • The name of the officiator may be a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county.
  • The name of the undertaker or mortuary could lead you to funeral and cemetery records which often include the names and residences of other family members.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, What Now?

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"South Carolina Deaths, 1915-1965." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing State Board of Health. Department of Archives and History, State Records Center, Columbia.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for South Carolina Deaths, 1915-1965.
Image Citation
The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for South Carolina Deaths, 1915-1965.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

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Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.