South Carolina Archives and Libraries
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The following archives, libraries, and societies have collections or services to assist South Carolina genealogical researchers. For manuscript collections and compiled genealogies, the South Caroliniana Library in Columbia and the Charleston Historical Society in Charleston are excellent places to start (both are discussed in this article).
Also visit the State Library Obituary Resources Portal for a listing of SC public libraries that assist with family history searches.
Wiki Articles on Major Repositories in South Carolina
South Carolina Dept. of Archives and History · South Carolina Historical Society · Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina Archives · Charleston Library Society · South Carolina Genealogical Society · South Caroliniana Library · Dallas Public Central Library · Chattanooga Public Library Downtown · National Archives at Atlanta · Santa Cruz Public Library Downtown
South Carolina Online Records
Outside South Carolina Repositories
| Chattanooga Public Library Downtown |
1001 Broad Street
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37402
Internet: Local History and Genealogy Department
1515 Young St.
Dallas, TX 75201-9987 USA
Internet: Dallas Public Library Genealogy
- Outstanding genealogical collection with records for more than Texas, including South Carolina, Oklahoma, the South, Mid-Atlantic, and New England states.
5780 Jonesboro Road
Morrow, Georgia 30260 USA
Internet: National Archives at Atlanta
- Records from over 100 federal agencies and courts in South Carolina. Also includes Vice Admiralty Courts of SC, evolution of federal courts, Constitutional rights, Revolutionary War, Civil War, reconstruction, World Wars I and II, and space exploration. Microfilms for censuses, diplomatic missions, military service records, bounty-land applications, passenger arrival lists, naturalizations, American Indians, and African Americans.
Santa Cruz Public Library Downtown
224 Church Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Telephone: 831-427-7707 ext. 5794
E-mail: E-mail reference service form
Internet: Locations and Hours-SC Genealogical Society Library
- Holds the Genealogial Society of Santa Cruz County's library, including the Tina Brayton Collection which is equivalent to the Draper Manuscript Collection but larger and with a better index, and many compiled genealogies of Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia families. 
Statewide RepositoriesSouth Carolina Department of Archives and History
8301 Parklane Road
Columbia, SC 29229
Internet: Online Records Index
Internet: SC Dept. of Archives and History
Hours: Tuesday thru Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- They have colonial records, original county records, and the best manuscript collection in the state. It is a good place to start. The archives has an online search engine for indexes to Confederate Pension Applications, 1919-1926, Criminal Journals, 1769-1776, Plats for State Land Grants, 1784 to 1868, and Will Transcripts 1782 to 1855 as well as other records. It also has a list of county records available at the Archives: Selected Bibliography of County, City, and Town Histories at the SC Archives Reference Library.
- The staff will check a few indexes for a specific name and send a photocopy order for records in which that name appears. A useful guide to the collection is Marion C. Chandler and Earl W. Wade, The South Carolina Archives: A Temporary Summary Guide, 2d ed. (Columbia, South Carolina: South Carolina Department of Archives and History, 1976; At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL book 975.7 A5c).
- Book collection is the largest in the state. They also have newspapers, biographies, and reference works.
- One of their strengths is colonial immigrant records. They also have biographies, genealogies, and early newspapers. A helpful guide to the manuscript collection of this society is David Moltke-Hansen and Sallie Doscher, “South Carolina Historical Society Manuscript Guide,” South Carolina Historical Magazine, July 1979 (Charleston: South Carolina Historical Society, 1979) At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL book 975.7 B2s, vol. 80, no. 3, supp.; film 1697883 item 13
Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina Archives
126 Coming Street
Charleston, SC 29403
E-mail: email@example.com Mrs. Beth Snyder
Internet: Diocese of South Carolina
- Many original Church of England (Episcopal Church) records dating from South Carolina's colonial period (1706-1778) are kept at this facility. The colonial government until 1785 requested the help of local Episcopal parishes in certain functions including record keeping. All surviving colonial parish registers have been published in South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine WorldCat 49042081; FHL Book 975.7 B2s, or in book form. For a descriptive inventory of surviving colonial and more recent parish records, see:
- Their collection covers the whole state with many indexes, bibliographies, books, and periodicals.
Charleston County Public Library
68 Calhoun Street
Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Charleston County Public Library
- The Charleston County Public Library possesses a large number of books, maps, manuscripts, and images covering a wide variety of local history and genealogical topics. These resources are divided into two separate departments. The South Carolina Room houses local and regional history and genealogy materials, focusing on the history and genealogy of South Carolina, with special emphasis on Charleston and the Lowcountry. The Special Collections Department is an archive of historic manuscripts, books and visual materials representing Charleston and the surrounding Lowcountry. Access to the original materials in Special Collections is by appointment only, but much of the unique manuscript material is available on microfilm or photocopies in the South Carolina Room.
- This is one of the finest genealogical facilities in the South with a very large collection of family folders, and genealogies.
Darlington County Historical Commission
204 Hewitt St
Darlington, SC 29532
Internet: Darlington County Historical Commission
- South Carolina reference materials with good indexes.
- This excellent book library has a good genealogy collection of South Carolina's former residents including family folders, biographies, and histories.
- Holdings include court records, family records, deeds, mortgages, surname folders, church records, cemetery transcripts, books and documents of local families.
South Carolina Genealogical Society
Tompkins Memorial Library
104 Courthouse Square
Edgefield, SC 29824-1335
Internet: South Carolina Genealogical Society
- The South Carolina Genealogical Society, and the Old Edgefield District Genealogical Society, at the Tompkins Memorial Library have newspapers, old Edgefield County records such as probate wills and deeds, censuses and mortality tables. There is also an extensive collection of family histories, and over 2,000 surname files available to researchers, which contain Bible records, newspaper clippings, letters, lineage charts, and diary excerpts. The collection includes subject files which include church histories, and cemetery surveys. The old Ninety-Six District is emphasized.
- This is and outstanding collection for South Carolian and the South, including manuscripts, genealogies, histories, atlases, and gazeteers. A useful guide to the manuscript collection of this library is Allen H. Stokes, A Guide to the Manuscript Collection of the South Caroliniana Library (Columbia, South Carolina: The Library, 1982); WorldCat 8956047; FHL book 975.7 A3s; fiche 6101065
- This is a premier genealogy collection for South Carolina. The outstanding Janie Reville Collection is well indexed. You can find references to nearly all South Carolina families here.
For Further Reading
- A helpful guide to research institutions in South Carolina is John Hammond Moore, Research Materials in South Carolina . . . (Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, 1967) At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL book 975.7 A5m
- To learn more about the history and record-keeping systems of South Carolina counties, use the 14 inventories of the county archives published by the Historical Records Survey around 1940. The Family History Library has all of the inventories South Carolina Archives and Libraries - Inventories, Registers and Catalogs
- South Carolina Libraries (Government, Public, Academic)
- Archives in Appalachia: A Directory. Boone, North Carolina: Appalachian Consortium Press, 1985. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL book 975 A3a. The record covers the states of Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The record is arranged alphabetically by state, then by the name of the repository. Each entry lists the archive, its address, phone number, inclusive dates of the collection, the records of the collection, what subjects are covered by the collection, and the size of the collection. There are two indexes: Record type, and Subject, with reference numbers corresponding to the repository. Also included is a list, under “Coming Attractions,” of agencies that do not currently collect manuscript materials but plan to do so in the future.
- The SC SHRAB South Carolina Historical Repository Directory online county-by-county directory.
- Mike Becknell, "Overview of South Carolina Genealogical Research," Group Tour of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, 10 May 2011.
- Dollarhide Bremer, 85.
- Local History and Genealogy Department in Chattanooga Public Library (accessed 11 February 2014).
- William Dollarhide and Ronald A. Bremer. America's Best Genealogy Resource Centers (Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Quest, 1998), 107. WorldCat 39493985; FHL Ref Book 973 J54d.
- Dollarhide and Bremer, 127-28.
- Dollarhide and Bremer, 113.
- The Tina Brayton Collection in Genealogical Society of Santa Cruz County (accessed 3 January 2014).
- Dollarhide and Bremer, 101.
- Alice Eichholz, ed., Redbook: American State, County, and Town Sources, 3rd ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 600. (FHL Book 973 D27rb). WorldCat entry.
- Old Edgefield District Genealogical Society at http://oedgs.org/ (accessed 17 May 2011).