Dorchester County, South Carolina Genealogy

From FamilySearch Wiki
Revision as of 04:29, 20 April 2011 by HardestyPN (talk | contribs) (stub)

Jump to: navigation, search

United States Gotoarrow.png South Carolina Gotoarrow.png |Dorchester County

Dorchester County, South Carolina
Map of South Carolina highlighting Dorchester County
Location in the state of South Carolina
Map of the U.S. highlighting South Carolina
Location of South Carolina in the U.S.
Founded February 25, 1897
County Seat Saint George

Quick Dates

Dorchester County's civil records start the following years:

Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1915    1911  1915  1900  1897 1897 

County Courthouse


Dorchester County Courthouse101 Ridge Street
St. George, SC 29477

Dorchester County Register of Deeds
201 Johnston Street
Saint George, SC 29477
Phone: 843-563-0181
Land records on line index

Dorchester County Probate Court
5200 East Jim Bilton Blvd.
St. George, SC 29477
Phone: 843-563-0105
Probate and marriage records

Dorchester County Clerk of Court
5200 East Jim Bilton Blvd.
St. George, SC 29477
Phone: 843-563-0178


[[Image:Dorchestermassachusetts.jpg|thumb|right|250px|Neopanset River at Lower Mills, Dorchester, Mass. Dorchester County, South Carolina takes its name from the Massachusetts town of Dorchester.

[[]] The county is named after the town of Dorchester, Massachusetts.[1]

Parent County

1897--Dorchester County was created 25 February 1897 from Berkeley and Colleton Counties.
County seat: St. George [2]

County Pronunciation

  1. Hear it spoken[3]

Boundary Changes

"Rotating Formation South Carolina County Boundary Maps" (1682-1987) may be viewed for free at the My South Carolina Genealogy website. They rely on AniMap 3.0 software.

Record Loss


Populated Places

Badham Cow Tail (hist.) Inabinetts (hist.) Rosinville
Brownsville Dorange Jedburg Saint George
Byrd Dorchester Knightsville Slandsville
Canaan Gettysville Laurence (hist.) Stallsville
Cattle Creek (hist.) Giant Lotts Crossroads Summerville
Centerville Givhans Pregnall Waringville (hist.)
Clubhouse Crossroads Grover Reevesville Winwright (hist.)
Coachmans Corners Harleyville Ridgeville
Cooke Crossroads

Neighboring Counties


Research Guides

African Americans

United States African Americans Gotoarrow.png South Carolina African Americans


There are more than # burial grounds in the county. To view a list, see Dorchester County, South Carolina Cemeteries.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1900 16,294
1910 17,891 9.8%
1920 19,459 8.8%
1930 18,956 −2.6%
1940 19,928 5.1%
1950 22,601 13.4%
1960 24,383 7.9%
1970 32,276 32.4%
1980 58,761 82.1%
1990 83,060 41.4%
2000 96,413 16.1%
Source: "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau.
1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 federal population schedules of Dorchester County are available online. For tips on accessing census records online, see South Carolina Census. If you're having trouble finding your ancestors in online indexes, try checking printed indexes. Created by local experts familiar with the area's families, these indexes are often transcribed more accurately than online nationwide indexes.

See South Carolina Population Schedule Indexes: Fiche, Film, or Book for more information about statewide printed indexes.


Church of England

Gotoarrow.png See also St. George Dorchester Parish



DNA Double Helix.png
DNA has been collected from men claiming descent from the following Dorchester County residents. FamilySearch has not independently verified the lineages of those tested.

Family Histories

It is anticipated that this bibliography will eventually identify all known family histories published about residents of this county. Use this list to:

  • Locate publications about direct ancestors
  • Find the most updated accounts of an ancestor's family
  • Identify publications, to quote Elizabeth Shown Mills, about an ancestor's "FAN Club" [Friends, Associates, and Neighbors]


As of August 2010, a query for persons born in Dorchester, South Carolina at World Connect, results in more than 2,000 entries.

Surname indexes to Leonardo Andrea's Files | Folders | Resources are available online, courtesy: The Andrea Files: South Carolina Genealogical Research. Gotoarrow.png Learn more.

Message Boards



Plats For State Land Grants 1784-1868

This series consists of recorded copies of plats for state land grants for the Charleston and the Columbia Series with their certificates of admeasurement or certification.  All personal names and geographic features on these plats are included in the repository's On-line Index to Plats for State Land Grants

The South Carolina Constitution of 1790 required the surveyor general to maintain offices in both the new capital at Columbia and in Charleston. The surveyor general began to use separate volumes for recording plats in his Columbia office in 1796. Before that, all plats were recorded in the set of volumes begun in Charleston in 1784. After 1796, most plats for land grants in the Upper Division of the state were recorded and filed in Columbia. The surveyor general chose to make the Columbia volumes a continuation of the state plat volumes begun in Charleston and gave the initial Columbia volume the number thirty-six to correspond with the number of the volume that had then been reached in the Charleston series. As a result, there are volumes numbered thirty-six through forty-three from each office, but the records in them are not duplicative.

Also included are the Plan Books containing Plats and Plans.

Local Histories

  • Smith, Henry A.M. "The Town of Dorchester, in South Carolina: A Sketch of Its History," The South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Vol. 6, No. 2 (Apr., 1905), pp. 62-95. Digital version at JSTOR ($).



Early migration routes to and from Dorchester County for European settlers included:[4]


Revolutionary War
  • "Dorchester Its Mystery Fort," Americana, April 1933, Volume 27, Issue 2. American Historical Magazine : Somerville, NJ. FHL Collection Book. 973 B2a.

Civil War, 1861-1865

Civil War service men from Dorchester County served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were formed in Dorchester County or from many of its men.

- 5th Regiment, South Carolina Reserves (90 days 1862-63), Company I



The Library of Congress has identified the following historic newspapers for Dorchester County, South Carolina on their Chronicling America website. For publication details, including dates of publication, frequency, preceding and succeeding titles, and to find out which libraries have holdings, click on the newspaper title.



Tap into the minds of local experts. Editors of genealogical periodicals publish unique sources that researchers new to their area may not encounter. Periodicals at various levels (county, region, and state) may carry articles useful to research in this area. For this county, see:


Probate is the “court procedure by which a will is proved to be valid or invalid” and encompasses “all matters and proceedings pertaining to the administration of estates, guardianships, etc.”[5] Various types of records are created throughout the probate process. These may include, wills, bonds, petitions, accounts, inventories, administrations, orders, decrees, and distributions. For further information see probate records in South Carolina.

Dorchester County, South Carolina estate records, ca. 1896-1950. Microreproduction of originial manuscripts at the South Carolina Dept. of Archives and History, Columbia, South Carolina FHL Film 2231531

Abstraacts of wills of Charleston District, South Carolina and other will recorded in the districts, 1783-1800. Compiled by Caroline T. Moore. FHL Book 975.79 S2m


Vital Records

Birth, marriage, and death records were not recorded by South Carolina until the 1900s, thus leaving a lack of vital records. Substitute records, when available, are used to obtain this information. These substitute records including newspapers, court records have been added to this section, when applicable.


State-wide birth registration began in 1915.  For a copy of a birth from 1915 or later, contact the South Carolina Department of Health.  The Dorchester County Health Department also has copies but they provide only an abbreviated form with limited information.  For more information, see the South Carolina Vital Records page.


In South Carolina, marriage licenses were not required by local governments until 1 July 1911. However, in the 1700s, the Church of England parish churches were required to record all marriages - even if the couple were not members of the denomination. Not all churches recorded these marriages and some have not survived. See South Carolina Vital Records for more information.

The Dorchester County probate court holds marriage licenses issued from 1 July 1911 to the present. Statewide registration of marriages began in July 1950 and the South Carolina Division of Vital Records has copies of licenses issued after 1 July 1950 through November 2009.

Newspapers are used as a substitute to locate marriage information.  See South Carolina Newspapers.

Marriages - Indexes and Records

  • 1911-1957 - Dorchester County, South Carolina Marriage Registers, ca. 1911-1957 [6] FHL Collection - records
  • 1918-1950 - Dorchester County, South Carolina Marriage Licenses, ca. 1918-1950 [7] FHL Collection - records
  • There are several online marriage indexes containing miscellaneous marriage records found in some counties of South Carolina listed on the South Carolina Vital Records page.

State-wide death registration began in 1915.  For a copy of the death certificates from 1915 or later, contact the South Carolina Department of Health. The Dorchester County Health Department only has copies for deaths occurring in the last 5 years.  For more information, see the South Carolina Vital Records page.

Deaths - Indexes and Records

  • 1914-1960 - State-wide South Carolina Death Indexes. There are several online death indexes covering all of South Carolina listed on the South Carolina Vital Records page.

 Archives, Libraries, and Museums

The Dorchester County Library provides services through two libraries and a bookmobile. Its catalog os powered by SClends which searches the libraries of multiple counties.

Jennie Johnston McMahan Library, St.George
506 North Parler Avenue
St. George, SC 29477
Telephone: (843) 832-0159
Fax: (843) 563-7823
Hours: Mon-Thursday 9:30am - 8:00pm, Friday 9:30am - 4:30pm, Saturday 9:30am - 5:00pm, Sunday 1:00pm - 5:00pm

George H. Seago, Jr. Library, Summerville

76 Old Trolley Road
Summerville, SC 29485
Telephone: (843) 871-5075
Fax: (843) 875-4811
Hours: Mon-Thu 10:00am - 8:30pm, Friday 10:00am - 6:00pm, Saturday 9:30am - 5:00pm, Sunday 1:00pm - 5:00pm

Societies - Genealogical, Historical, Lineage 

Family History Centers

Family History Centers in South Carolina

Web Sites

Wikipedia has more about this subject: Dorchester County, South Carolina


  1. "List of counties in South Carolina," Wikipedia.
  2. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  3. Voice of Phillip Stalvey, resident of Myrtle Beach, S.C. (2011).
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 847-61. (FHL Book 973 D27e 2002) WorldCat entry., and William E. Myer, Indian Trails of the Southeast. (Nashville, Tenn.: Blue and Gray Press, 1971), 12-14, and the book's pocket map "The Trail System of the Southeastern United States in the Early Colonial Period" (1923). (FHL Book 970.1 M992i) WorldCat entry.
  5. Henry Campbell Black, Black's Law Dictionary, 5th ed. (St. Paul, Minnesota: West Publishing Co., 1979), 1081, "probate."
  6. Dorchester County, South Carolina Marriage Registers, ca. 1911-1957, Salt Lake City, UT: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 2002.
  7. South Carolina, Probate Court (Dorchester County), Dorchester County, South Carolina marriage licenses: (1 license each noted for the years 1880 and 1927), ca. 1918-1950, Salt Lake City, UT: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 2001.