South Carolina Archives and Libraries

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These repositories preserve sources, maintain indexes, and provide services to help genealogists document their ancestors who lived in South Carolina.

For manuscript collections and compiled genealogies, the South Caroliniana Library in Columbia, and the South Carolina Historical Society in Charleston are excellent places to start. Both are discussed in this footnote article.[1]

Wiki Articles on Major Repositories in South Carolina[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Links to online databases and indexes that may include vital records, biographies, cemeteries, censuses, histories, immigration records, land records, maps, military records, naturalizations, newspapers, obituaries, or probate records.

Also visit the State Library Obituary Resources Portal for a listing of SC public libraries that assist with family history searches.

SC Dept of Archives & History in Columbia

Statewide Repositories[edit | edit source]

South Carolina Dept of Archives and History[edit | edit source]

South Carolina Department of Archives and History
8301 Parklane Road
Columbia, SC 29229
Telephone: 803-896-6100
Fax: 803-896-6198
SCDAH Resources
Hours: Tuesday thru Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The archives has colonial records, original county records, and the best manuscript collection in the state. It is a good place to start.[2] 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).

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.

South Carolina State Library[edit | edit source]

1500 Senate St
Columbia, SC 29201
Telephone: 803-734-8666
Fax: 803-734-8676
Internet: South Carolina State Library

Book collection is the largest in the state. They also have newspapers, biographies, and reference works.[2]

South Carolina Digital Library provides free access to historic materials.

South Carolina Historical Society[edit | edit source]

South Carolina Historical Society in Charleston
100 Meeting Street
Charleston, SC 29401-2299 
Telephone: 803-723-3225
Fax: 803-723-8584
Internet: South Carolina Historical Society
One of their strengths is colonial immigrant records. They also have biographies, genealogies, and early newspapers.[2] 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[edit | edit source]

Diocesan House
126 Coming Street
Charleston, SC 29403
Telephone: 843-722-4075
Fax: 843-723-7628
E-mail: 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.[3] For a descriptive inventory of surviving colonial and more recent parish records, see:
  • Margaretta Childs, and Isabella G. Leland, "South Carolina Episcopal Church Records," South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine 84 (October 1983): 250-63. WorldCat 49042081; digital version at JSTOR ($); FHL Book 975.7 B2s v. 84.

Regional Repositories[edit | edit source]

Camden Archives and Museum[edit | edit source]

1314 Broad Street
Camden, SC 29020
Telephone: 803-425-6050
Fax: 803-424-4053
Internet: Camden Archives and Museum

Their collection covers the whole state with many indexes, bibliographies, books, and periodicals.[2]

Charleston County Public Library[edit | edit source]

Charleston County Public Library
68 Calhoun Street
Charleston, South Carolina 29401
Telephone: 843-805-6930
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.[4] 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.[5] 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.[6]

Charleston Library Society[edit | edit source]

Charleston Library Society
164 King Street
Charleston, SC 29401
Telephone: 803-723-9912
Internet: Charleston Library Society
This is one of the finest genealogical facilities in the South with a very large collection of family folders, and genealogies.[2]

Darlington County Historical Commission[edit | edit source]

204 Hewitt St
Darlington, SC 29532
Telephone: 843-398-4710
Internet: Darlington County Historical Commission

South Carolina reference materials with good indexes.[2]

Greenville Co Libr System Hughes Main Libr[edit | edit source]

Greenville County Library System Hughes Main Library
25 Heritage Green Pl
Greenville, SC 29601
Telephone: 864-242-5000
E-mail: Ask a Question - South Carolina Room
Internet: Genealogy and Local History

This excellent book library has a good genealogy collection of South Carolina's former residents including family folders, biographies, and histories.[2]

Orangeburg County Historical Society Library[edit | edit source]

Salley Archives
1421 Middleton Street
PO Box 1881
Orangeburg, SC 29116-1881
Telephone: 803-535-0022
Internet: OCHS Library Holdings

Holdings include court records, family records, deeds, mortgages, surname folders, church records, cemetery transcripts, books and documents of local families.[2]

South Carolina Genealogical Society[edit | edit source]

Tompkins Memorial Library
104 Courthouse Square
Edgefield, SC 29824-1335
Telephone: 803-637-4010
Fax: 803-637-2116
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.[7]

South Caroliniana Library[edit | edit source]

South Caroliniana Library in Columbia
910 Sumter St.
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208-0103
Telephone: 803-777-3142
Fax: 803-777-4661
Internet: South Caroliniana Library
This is and outstanding collection for South Carolian and the South, including manuscripts, genealogies, histories, atlases, and gazeteers.[2] 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

Sumter County Genealogical Center[edit | edit source]

122 North Washington Street
P.O. Box 2543
Sumter, SC 29151
Telephone: 803-774-3901
Internet: Sumter County Genealogical Center

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.[2]

Outside South Carolina Repositories[edit | edit source]

Chattanooga Public Library, Tennessee

Chattanooga Public Library Downtown[edit | edit source]

1001 Broad Street
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37402
Telephone: 423-757-5317
Internet: Local History and Genealogy Department

Includes the Upper South's largest family folder collection which is heavy on Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina.[8] Internet genealogy databases, census, newspapers, obituary index, county records, 30,000 books, manuscripts, and genealogical periodicals.[9]

Dallas Public Central Library[edit | edit source]

Dallas Public Central Library, Texas
1515 Young St.
Dallas, Texas 75201-9987 USA
Telephone: 214-670-1433
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.[10]

National Archives at Atlanta[edit | edit source]

National Archives at Atlanta (Morrow, Georgia)
5780 Jonesboro Road
Morrow, Georgia 30260 USA
Phone: 770-968-2100
Fax: 770-968-2547
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.[11]

Santa Cruz Public Library Downtown[edit | edit source]

224 Church Street
Santa Cruz, California 95060
Telephone: 831-427-7707 ext. 5794
E-mail: E-mail reference service form
Internet: Locations and Hours-SC Genealogical Society Library

Holds the Genealogical 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.[12] [13]

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

  • 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.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Mike Becknell, "Overview of South Carolina Genealogical Research," Group Tour of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, 10 May 2011.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 William Dollarhide and Ronald A. Bremer. America's Best Genealogy Resource Centers (Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Quest, 1998), 101. WorldCat 39493985; FHL Ref Book 973 J54d.
  3. Alice Eichholz, ed., Redbook: American State, County, and Town Sources, 3rd ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 600. (FHL Book 973 D27rb). WorldCat entry.
  4. South Carolina History & Genealogy in Charleston County Public Library (accessed 9 November 2016).
  5. South Carolina Room in Charleston County Public Library (accessed 9 November 2016).
  6. The Charleston Archive in Charleston County Public Library (accessed 9 November 2016).
  7. Old Edgefield District Genealogical Society at (accessed 17 May 2011).
  8. Dollarhide Bremer, 85.
  9. Genealogy Resources in Chattanooga Public Library (accessed 6 April 2021).
  10. Dollarhide and Bremer, 107.
  11. Dollarhide and Bremer, 127-28.
  12. Dollarhide and Bremer, 113.
  13. The Tina Brayton Collection in Genealogical Society of Santa Cruz County (accessed 3 January 2014).