Charleston County, South Carolina Genealogy

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
United States
South Carolina
Charleston County

Guide to Charleston County, South Carolina Genealogy ancestry, family history and genealogy court records, deeds, maps, immigration, maps, military records, newspapers, obituaries, plantations, probate records, slaves, local archives, libraries, museums, churches, cemeteries, and Civil War records.

  • From 1800 to 1868 this Charleston County was also known by the alias Charleston District.
  • Not to be confused with the overarching Charleston District that existed from 1768 to 1800.
  • Not to be confused with the much smaller Charleston (1785-1791) County abolished in 1791.


Charleston County, South Carolina
Map of South Carolina highlighting Charleston 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 1769
County Seat Charleston
Charleston County Resources

County Information


The County of Charleston is located in the south central area of the state.[1]

Charleston County, South Carolina Record Dates

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[2]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1915 1911 1915 1700 1671 1671 1790
Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1915. General compliance by 1918.

Note: City of Charleston birth and death records begin earlier. See Charleston County, South Carolina Vital Records.

County Courthouse

Charleston County Courthouse HABS 1940

Charleston County Courthouse
4050 Bridgeview Drive
North Charleston, SC 29405
Phone: 843-740-0801

Charleston County Probate Court
100 Broad St., Suite 381
Charleston, SC 29401-5030
Phone: 843-958-4030

Charleston County Register Mesne Conveyance
101 Meeting St.
Charleston, SC 29401-2249
Phone: 843-958-4800

Charleston County Clerk of Court
100 Broad St., Suite 106
Charleston, SC 29401-2258
Phone: 843-958-5000

Historical Facts

King Charles II of England (1630-1685)
Charleston District/County was first established in 1769 as Judicial District. Charleston County is the home to the city of Charleston (originally Charles Towne) which was first settled in 1670 by British and Africans from the Caribbean island of Barbados. Charleston was originally named in honor of King Charles II of England (1630-1685).[3]

Charleston County of 1785 was small and it was abolished in 1791. The current Charleston County was created in 1800 when the Charleston County/District name was used again for a much larger county/district. This "version" was altered in 1878, by carving out the new Berkeley County. In 1897 Dorchester County was carved out, leaving the current boundaries of Charleston County.[4]

Learn more about the history of Charleston County from the South Carolina State Library or from

Parent County/Boundary Changes

  • 1769 - Charleston District created as one of seven original districts.
  • 1785 - Charleston divided into Berkeley, Bartholomews, Charleston, Colleton, Marion, and Washington Counties, which never became functional.
  • 1800 - Non-functional counties of Berkeley, Barhtolomews, Charleston, Colleton, Marion, and Washington were abolished and Charleston returned to its status as a district. Colleton District created from Charleston (covering different boundaries than the non-functional Colleton County).
    Charleston County
  • 1868 - Charleston and all other districts became counties.
  • 1882 - Berkeley created from Charleston County.
  • 1893 - Charleston gained from Berkeley County.
  • 1911 - Charleston gained from Colleton County.
  • 1921 - Charleston gained from Berkeley and Dorchester Counties.
  • 1975 - Colleton gained from Charleston County.
  • 1987 - Colleton gained from Charleston County.

Even though Charleston's jurisdictional names have changed many times over the years, for the Colonial Period (1670-1776), the changes really did not affect record keeping. Most of the colony's public records were kept in the City of Charleston up through the year 1785.[5]

For more information as well as maps of Charleston County through time, see the South Carolina State Archives or For animated maps illustrating South Carolina county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation South Carolina County Boundary Maps" (1682-1987) may be viewed for free at the website.


Georgetown CountyBerkeley CountyDorchester CountyColleton CountySC CHARLESTON.PNG
About this image
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Record Loss

Official negligence in the 1830s destroyed a large quantity of loose records of the court of general sessions. Northern "tourists," many of whom were members of Rev. Henry Ward Beecher's congregation from Brooklyn, New York, looted other material from both public and private repositories in Charleston  in April 1865. Loose probate papers were apparently destroyed in Columbia in February 1865.


For further information (and links) on these populated places, please go to Populated Places, Charleston County, South Carolina



Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county Family History Library
SCGenWeb WorldCat Billion Graves
SCGenWeb Archives
Tombstone Project
Billion Graves
See South Carolina Cemeteries for more information.

Family History Centers

Family history centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See family history center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.


  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Charleston County, South Carolina" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, ",_South_Carolina." accessed on the 3/27/2019
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Charleston County, South Carolina. Page 611-615 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 607-608.
  3. "List of counties in South Carolina," Wikipedia.
  4. A History of Charleston County, South Carolina in Carolana.
  5. Mike Becknell, "Overview of South Carolina Genealogical Research," Group Tour of South Carolina Department of Archives and History, 10 May 2011.