How to Find South Carolina Death Records

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Statewide registration of deaths began in 1915 in South Carolina. Counties have copies of these records.

Next Step: When did the death occur? [edit | edit source]

Choose a time period to search for your ancestor's death record:

Learn more about U.S. Death Records

Deaths before 1915[edit | edit source]

Before 1915, no deaths were recorded by the county or state. The cities of Charleston, Georgetown, Spartanburg, and Union City are exceptions. Learn more. In most cases, you must search substitute records to locate your ancestor’s death date and place.

  Records that give death information:
Cemetery Records
Probate (wills, etc)
Church Records
Bible Records
Return to top: Choose another death year

Deaths from 1915 thru the present[edit | edit source]

The state of South Carolina began recording deaths in 1915.

STEP ONE: Find Death Information[edit | edit source]

For deaths that exist during this time period, try the following databases. Try each link.

South Carolina Deaths Databases - Includes Index and Digital Images
Try 1st:
1915-1965 - At Free; coverage data is not provided
Try 2nd:

1821-1969 - At $; free at family history centers.
Try 3rd:

1816-1990 - At Free; coverage data is not provided
Try 4th:

1915-1943 at MyHeritage index & images ($)
Next try:
Includes Index Only

1915-1961 - At SC Dept. of Health Free
1915-1968 - At Free; coverage data is not provided
Next try:
Can't search the index listed above? Go to Step Two listed below and order a search for your ancestor from the South Carolina Department of Health State Office or South Carolina Department of Archives and History.
Can't find your ancestor in the index? Tips for searching indexes
No death record for your ancestor? Other records with death information

STEP TWO: Obtain the Certificate[edit | edit source]

If the image was not included in the index entry above, you can order a copy of the death record for a fee from the following locations:

To Order Death Certificates
From County of Death From SC Dept. of Health State office
Pros Cons Pros Cons
May be less expensive and faster than ordering from the state County websites can be more difficult to use; does not include certificates from 2005 to the present Includes all existing years May be more expensive than ordering from the county

Restrictions for persons who died within the last 50 years:
To obtain a copy of the death certificate for those who died within the last 50 years, you must be:

  • The immediate family member of the person on the certificate (or one of their legal representatives)
  • A person who demonstrates a direct and tangible interest when information is needed to determine a personal or a property right
  • Anyone who has legal interest in the certificate
NOTE: A copy of the death record cannot be obtained by anyone except those listed above until 50 years have passed from the date of the death.

Death certificates from 1915 to 1955 are available on microfilm through the Family History Library: FHL films 1913451 (1st of 654 films).

If you do not want to order the death record, there are other records with death information you can search.

Return to top: Choose another death year

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