Oconee County, South Carolina Genealogy

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Oconee County, South Carolina
Map of South Carolina highlighting Oconee 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 January 29, 1868
County Seat Walhalla

United States Gotoarrow.png South Carolina Gotoarrow.png Oconee County

Quick Dates

Oconee County's civil records start the following years:

Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1915 1911 1915 1870 1868 1868

County Courthouse


Oconee County Courthouse
415 South Pine Street
Walhalla, SC 29691

Clerk of Court
P.O. Box 678
Walhalla, SC 29691
Phone: 864-638-4280
Court records

Register of Deeds
415 South Pine Street
Walhalla, SC 29691
Phone: 864-638-4285
Land records

Probate Court
P.O. Box 471
Walhalla, SC 29691
Phone: 864-638-4275
Probate and marriage records

Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday

Quick Facts

The county is named after the Oconee tribe of Native Americans.[1]

Parent County

29 January 1868 - Oconee County was created from Pickens County. [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. The maps rely on AniMap 3.0 software.

Record Loss


Populated Places

Battle Creek Cross Roads Johns Mill Retreat
Boones Creek Dixon Crossroads Keowee Return
Bounty Land Earles Grove Kulsetsiyi (hist.) Richland
Brasstown Ebenezer Long Bottom Ford Russell (hist.)
Brock Ensenaka (hist.) Longcreek Salem
Burns Mill Fair Play Madison Seneca
Camp Oak Fairview Moody Cove Shiloh
Chagee (hist.) Five Points Newry South Union
Chauga Heights Flat Shoals Oakway Tamassee
Cheohee Harbin (hist.) Oconee (hist.) Utica
Clearmont Hicks Store Old Madison Walhalla
Clemson Holly Springs Old Pickens West Union
Conneross(hist.) Horse Shoe (hist.) Percival Crossroads Westminster
Corinth Jason Phinney Whetstone
Courtenay Jocassee Picket Post

Neighboring Counties


=Archives and Libraries

note: Public libraries, public county and college archives

Research Guides

African Americans

United States African Americans Gotoarrow.png South Carolina African Americans

  • Megginson, W.J. Black Soldiers in World War I: Anderson, Pickens and Oconee Counties, South Carolina; with a Discussion of Pensions for Civil War Slave Labor. Seneca, S.C.: Oconee County Historical Society, 1994. FHL Book 975.72 M2m


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



Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1870 10,536
1880 16,256 54.3%
1890 18,687 15.0%
1900 23,634 26.5%
1910 27,337 15.7%
1920 30,117 10.2%
1930 33,368 10.8%
1940 36,512 9.4%
1950 39,050 7.0%
1960 40,204 3.0%
1970 40,728 1.3%
1980 48,611 19.4%
1990 57,494 18.3%
2000 66,215 15.2%
Source: "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau.

1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 federal population schedules of Oconee 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.

See Oconee County, SC census assignments, including links to transcribed files [The USGenWeb Census Project®]

Church Hisory and Records


  • The Old Stone Church, Oconee County, South Carolina. Columbia, S.C.?: Old Stone Church and Cemetery Association with cooperation of the Andrew Pickens and Cateechee Chapters, D.A.R., 1905. Digital version at Ancestry ($).

Court Records


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


More than 10 genealogies have been published about Oconee County families. To view a list, visit Oconee County, South Carolina Genealogy.


Land and Property

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.



Early migration routes to and from Oconee County for European settlers included:Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag, and William E. Myer, Indian Trails of the Southeast, 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 1523234.</ref>

Military History and Recods

French and Indian War

  • "Garrison at Ft. Prince George, 1756, Keowee," Tulsa Annals, January 1973, Volume 8, Issue 1. Tulsa Genealogical Society: Tulsa, OK. FHL 40544

War of 1812

  • List of Pensioners on the Roll, January 1, 1883; Giving the Name of Each Pensioner, the Cause for Why Pensioned, the Post-Office Address, the Rate of Pension Per Month, and the Date of Original Allowance... Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1883. FHL Book 973 M2Lp v. 5; digital versions at Google Books and Internet Archive. [See Vol. 5, South Carolina, Oconee County, p. 187. Identifies War of 1812 veterans living in this county in 1883.]

Civil War

Oconee County was created in 1868, three years after the Civil War ended. During the Civil War, the area of Oconee County was part of Pickens District (later Pickens County). Men living in the area of what is now Oconee County may have served in regiments from Pickens District/County.

-1st Regiment, South Carolina Rifles (Orr's)
-Company A (also known as Kowee Riflemen)
-Company C (also known as Mountain Boys)
-Company E (also known as Oconee Riflemen)
-Company F (also known as Blue Ridge Rifles)
  • Bell, Louise Matheson. Rebels in Grey : Soldiers from Pickens District, 1861-1865 ( Seneca, S.C. : Greys of Oconee Chapter No. 1783, United Daughters of the Confederacy, ©1984), 172 pages. Concerns Pickens and Oconee Counties. Book atWorldCat.


  • Holder, Frederick C.; South Carolina (State) Militia, 2nd Regiment; South Carolina (State) Militia, 5th Regiment; Oconee County Historical Society (Oconee County, South Carolina). The Bailey A. Barton Muster Roll Book of Pickens District, South Carolina [1858]. Seneca, S.C.: Oconee County Historical Society, 1990. FHL Collection Book 975.723 M2b; Film 1697757 item 12. Reviewed in The South Carolina Historical Magazine, Vol. 91, No. 4 (Oct. 1990):280-281. Digital version of review at JSTOR ($). [Covers present Pickens and Oconee counties.]

Native American

  • Seaborn, Margaret Mills. From 1730 through 1776, Cherokee Indian Towns of Oconee County, South Carolina: With Principal Paths. n.p.: n.p., 1974. Map. FHL 975.721 E7sm



The Library of Congress has identified the following historic newspapers for Oconee 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:

  • Old Pendleton District Newsletter


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.


Published abstracts

  • [1864] Internal Revenue Assessment, 1864, Old Pendleton District Newsletter, Vol. 23, No. 3 (Mar. 2009).

To see how the Civil War financially impacted residents of Oconee County, South Carolina, compare values of real and personal estates on the 1860 Census, with 1866-1867 tax records:

  • [1866-1867] Rich, Peggy Burton and Margarette Gibbs Ogle. Pickens District, South Carolina 1866 Tax List, January 1, 1866- January 1, 1867. n.p.: South Carolina Genealogical Society. Old Pendleton Chapter, 1991. FHL Book 975.72 R4r

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 Oconee 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.

Birth Substitutes - Indexes

1849-1949 - Keowee Courier Newspaper by Oconee County, South Carolina USGenWeb - index, incomplete


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 Oconee 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 and Marriage Substitutes - Indexes and Records

  • 1826-1848; 1857-1871 - Abstract of Marriages and Deaths from the Pendleton Messenger, 1826- 1848, the Keowee Courier, 1857-1871 [6] FHL Collection WorldCat - index
  • 1849-1868 - The Keowee Courier, 1849-1851, 1857-1861 and 1865-1868 by Colleen M. Elliot [7]  FHL Collection WorldCat - missing years, index
  • 1849-1949 - Keowee Courier Newspaper by Oconee County, South Carolina USGenWeb - index, incomplete
  • 1911-1950 - Marriage Licenses, 1911-1950 [8] 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 Oconee 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 and Death Substitutes - Indexes and Records

  • 1826-1848; 1857-1871 - Abstract of Marriages and Deaths from the Pendleton Messenger, 1826- 1848, the Keowee Courier, 1857-1871 [9] FHL Collection WorldCat 54474080 - index
  • 1849-1868 - The Keowee Courier, 1849-1851, 1857-1861 and 1865-1868 by Colleen M. Elliot [10] FHL Collection WorldCat 6421580 - missing years, index
  • 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.

Societies, Libraries and Museums

note: the societies with their own memberships, libraries, museums and collections.

  • Oconee County Genealogical Society
    247 Cross Hill Road
    Easley SC 29640
    source: Society Hill

Family History Centers

Seneca South Carolina
5003 Wells Highway
Seneca, Oconee, South Carolina, United States
Phone: 864-886-9345
Hours: T,Th 10 a.m to 5 p.m Wed. 6;30 p.m. to 8;30 p.m.
Closed: Closed Major Holidays


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


  1. List of counties in South Carolina
  2. WorldCat 50140092 FHL Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed.] (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002)
  3. Voice of Phillip Stalvey, resident of Myrtle Beach, S.C. (2011).
  4. William E. Myer, Indian Trails of the Southeast. (Nashville, Tenn.: Blue and Gray Press, 1971). (FHL Book 970.1 M992i) ▲ WorldCat 1523234.
  5. Henry Campbell Black, Black's Law Dictionary, 5th ed. (St. Paul, Minnesota: West Publishing Co., 1979), 1081, "probate."
  6. Revill, Janie, Abstract of Marriages and Deaths from the Pendleton Messenger, 1826- 1848, the Keowee Courier, 1857-1871, [S.I.]: [s.n.], 1933-1936.
  7. Elliot, Colleen M., The Keowee Courier, 1849-1851, 1857-1861 and 1865-1868, Easley, SC: Southern Historical Press, c1979.
  8. South Carolina. Probate Court (Oconee County), Marriage Licenses, 1911-1950, Salt Lake City, UT: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 2004.
  9. Revill, Janie, Abstract of Marriages and Deaths from the Pendleton Messenger, 1826- 1848, the Keowee Courier, 1857-1871, [S.I.]: [s.n.], 1933-1936.
  10. Elliot, Colleen M., The Keowee Courier, 1849-1851, 1857-1861 and 1865-1868, Easley, SC: Southern Historical Press, c1979.