General Guides to South Carolina Research
Two online sources cover each state. Throughout this page I will provide links to each of them, but take a moment now to look at the whole of each of them. I don't provide links everything on each of them.
Books you might purchase or use in a library include:
Each of the three reference books listed below has a small section covering each state that includes maps, historical information, vital records coverage and a bibliography of resources for that state. (note: some libraries may have earlier editions; those are usable)
- Handybook for Genealogists ( 11th edition) (find in a library)
- Ancestry's Redbook, 3rd ed, revised. (find in a library) (see above for online copy)
- The Family Tree Resource Book for Genealogical Research (find in a library)
Atlases, Maps & Gazetteers
For more information on finding and using maps,
see Your Guide to Atlases, Maps and Gazetteers.
- Query the American Memory Project Maps Collection for maps containing the word South Carolina
- State Maps
- County Formation maps
of individual counties in the state.
As you work in a county,
you will want to see maps that show where the townships, cities and villages are located within each county.
- 1895 Atlas - South Carolina has a state map, map for each county and index of towns and cities.
- 1914 County maps of South Carolina
- Township Maps
-- i.e. maps that show township boundaries within a county
- These can be the hardest to find, especially online.
- Scroll down on this CensusFinder site page for several links to county maps in South Carolina
- Andriot's Township Atlas of the United States is available only in book form, but it is where you will go to find county maps that show current township boundaries.
- Sometimes the county pages on the U.S. Genweb sites will have maps that show townhips boundaries. Check a South Carolina county you are researching to see if that is the case.
- Sometimes the county pages on Wikipedia will have maps that show township boundaries. Check q South Carolina county you are researching to see if that is the case.
- Online Map Collections
-- I find it difficult to successfully use many of these
maps, but you will want to see if you can find one that fits your needs.
- FamilySearch Wiki: South Carolina Maps and South Carolina Gazetteers
- Ancestry Redbook Wiki: South Carolina Maps
- South Carolina Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps (online digital collection)
- For links to many more maps, see the SCIway site with links to SC State Historical Maps and More SC Historical Maps, which offers maps by county, historical period and related resource
Statewide Genealogy Web sites
Next, see what is available for your counties of interest at at one of these statewide sites. For each, use the county selection list to find out what is available for the various counties. Content will vary, but often you will find the GenWeb site to be the most robust. All are volunteer driven sites; all data free, but as time goes by, the upkeep of many of these sites seems to be falling by the wayside.
And I will have to leave it up to you if it is worth subscribing to this site. I've had no experience with it. It appears to be one of about a half dozen such sites, which you can subscribe to as a group. You will want to explore the site thoroughly before making a decision.
Societies, Libraries and Archives
For more information on using libraries and archives, see genealogy guides to Libraries and Archives
FIRST.. use the catalog at the place name box in the Family History Library catalog to find out what has been filmed covering the state of South Carolina the counties of South Carolina and the cities, villages or townships within the counties.
- As you type South Carolina in the place box, you will see an alphabetical listing of counties in the drop down;
- once in a county, you can click in the place box on the left to see an alphabetical list of the towns, cities and villages within that county.
- This only shows areas for which material is available at the Family History Library.
- An item will likely be in one of the three, perhaps two of the three and almost never in all three of these searches --you need to check each
NEXT... see what South Carolina material records are available online on the FamilySearch.org Records Collection.
AND REMEMBER The Family History Library is not the only place you will find material. A great deal is available online or in libraries and archives, courthouses or other institutions and organizations across the nation.
Below is information on some of the records you will seek; these links are intended to help you educate yourself on the use and value of the records, as well as find them.
Bible: For general information, see Guide to Bible Records, this web site.
Cemetery: For general information, see Guide to Cemetery Records, this web site
Census: For general information, see Guide to Census Records, this web site.
- The FamilySearch Wiki article on South Carolina census records includes charts to help you find the federal census records and identify available state census records
- The Ancestry Redbook page on South Carolina census records provides a quick overview.
- Other guides to free online census records include
Church: For general information, see Guide to Church Records, this web site.
City and County Directories: For general information, see guide to City and County Directories, this web site.
County and Local Histories: For general information, see Guide to County Histories, this web site.
- FamilySearch.org: South Carolina County Histories (look in emigration and immigration)
Court & Legal; For general information, see Guide to Law Libraries and Guide to Courthouse Research on this web site.
Land & Property: For general information, see Guide to Land Records, this web site.
Military; For general information, see Guide to Military Records, this web site.
Naturalizations & Immigration; For general information, see Guide to Naturalizations, this web site.
Newspapers & Obituaries : For general information, see Guide to Newspapers, this web site.
- FamilySearch Wiki: South Carolina Newspapers
- Ancestry Redbook Wiki: South Carolina Periodicals Newspapers & Manuscript Collections
- Find newspapers published in South Carolina at Chronicling America Directory
1690-present (this finds what was published; it is not the portion of the site that searches the digitized newspapers)
- Use the dropdown to select state, county, city.
- click a title to get more information
- Once you know which newspapers were published in the county or city during the time you are researching, you will try to find digitized, microfilm or (less likely) paper copies of that newspaper.
- Remember: you can search any South Carolina newspapers digitized at Chronicling America by using the drop down to limit your search to the state, county or city.
- Not all digitized newspapers are at Chronicling America; some are available on other free sites and some are available on subscription sites.
- South Carolina State Library: Listing of participating SC libraries with obituary resources.
- It may be that the library you need has resources, but is not participating in this project; check the library website.
- South Carolina Obituary Lookup (a volunteer site)
Probate: For general information, see Guide to Probate Records, this web site.
Tax Records; For general information, see Guide to Tax Lists, this web site.
Vital: For general information, see Guide to Vital Records, this web site
Queries & Help
- Post a query on the appropriate Ancestry/Rootsweb South Carolina county message board or on the "county unkown" board if your query is more general.
- Check the South Carolina Genweb county page for look up volunteers; success will vary with each county.
- Genealogy.com Boards