Lancaster County, South Carolina Genealogy

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

Guide to Lancaster 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.


Lancaster County, South Carolina
Map of South Carolina highlighting Lancaster 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 1798
County Seat Lancaster

County Information

Lancaster County, South Carolina Record Dates

Lancaster County's civil records start the following years:

Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
  1915 1898  1915   1790 1787   1821

County Courthouse

Lancaster County Courthouse

Lancaster County Courthouse
104 N. Main St.
Lancaster, SC 29721

Clerk of Court
3888 Chester Highway
Lancaster, SC 29720
Phone: 803-285-1581
Court records

Probate Court
101 North Main St., Room 121
Lancaster, SC 29720
Phone: 803-283-3379
Probate and marriage records

Register of Deeds
101 North Main Street
Lancaster, SC 29720
Phone: 803-416-9440
Land records

8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday


The county is named after Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.[1]

Parent County

1798--Lancaster County was created in 1798 from Camden District.
County seat:  Lancaster [2]

County Pronunciation

  1. Hear it spoken[3]

Boundary Changes

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. They rely on AniMap 3.0 software.

Record Loss

Although marauding federal soldiers attempted to set fire to the courthouse, many records were saved; loose equity papers, however, seem to have perished. Moreover, most of Lancaster's probate records were destroyed when Union cavalry intercepted in open country local officials who were attempting to remove the records to safety .


The preceding list of places includes incorporated cities and towns, unincorporated towns and communities, and place names that may have been used in family histories. Some have well-organized records and even have web sites. Some are simply social communities with no official records, but which may be referenced in small-town newspapers. The list is provided to help researchers identify localities within the county. As records or histories of these localities are identified, a page will be added for each of these place names.



Research Guides

African Americans

United States African Americans Gotoarrow.png South Carolina African Americans

Known plantations South Carolina Plantations:

  • Adam Ivy
  • Clyburn - Kershaw - also called Uriah
  • Fort Jackson
  • McIllwayne
  • McPherson's
  • Rose Hill
  • Uriah - Kershaw - also called Clyburn


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.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1790 6,302
1800 6,012 −4.6%
1810 6,318 5.1%
1820 8,716 38.0%
1830 10,361 18.9%
1840 9,907 −4.4%
1850 10,988 10.9%
1860 11,797 7.4%
1870 12,087 2.5%
1880 16,903 39.8%
1890 20,761 22.8%
1900 24,311 17.1%
1910 26,650 9.6%
1920 28,628 7.4%
1930 27,980 −2.3%
1940 33,542 19.9%
1950 37,071 10.5%
1960 39,352 6.2%
1970 43,328 10.1%
1980 53,361 23.2%
1990 54,516 2.2%
2000 61,351 12.5%
Source: "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau.

1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 federal population schedules of Lancaster County are available online. For tips on accessing census records online, see South Carolina Census. If you're having trouble finding your ancestors in online indexes, try checking printed indexes. Created by local experts familiar with the area's families, these indexes are often transcribed more accurately than online nationwide indexes.

See South Carolina Population Schedule Indexes: Fiche, Film, or Book for more information about statewide printed indexes.

See Lancaster County, SC census assignments, including links to transcribed files The USGenWeb Census Project®


1790 Census Index, Lancaster County, courtesy USGenWeb Archives.


1800 Census Index, Lancaster County, courtesy USGenWeb Archives.

  • 1820 Lancaster County, South Carolina Census. FHL Collection 975.745 X2L 1820
1820 Manufactures

The original manufactures schedules for South Carolina are kept at the NARA, Washington, D.C. FHL copies: FHL Collection 1024517 - 1024518.

Published abstract:

  • National Archives. Indexes to Manufactures Census of 1820. 1920; reprint, Knightstown, Ind.: Bookmark, 1977. FHL Collection 973 X2m 1820; digital version at Lineages. Includes this county.
1840 Revolutionary War Pensioners
  • A Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services: With their Names, Ages, and Places of Residence, as Returned by the Marshalls of the Several Judicial Districts, Under the Act for Taking the Sixth Census. Washington, D.C.: Blair and Rives, 1841. FHL Collection 973 X2pc 1840; FHL Collection 2321; digital version at Google Books. See South Carolina, Lancaster District on page 144.
  • Jeffcoat, Frances Reeves. Lancaster District, 1850 Census from the Seventh Census of the United States: Original Return of the Assistant Marshal, First Series, White and Colored Population, 30 June 1850, Ended 10 November 1850, K.G. Billings, Assistant Marshal. Columbia, S.C.: F.R. Jeffcoat, 1984. FHL Collection 975.745 X2j 1850
  • 1840 Census Index, Lancaster County, courtesy USGenWeb Archives.
  • Small, Otha Burris. 1860 Census of Lancaster County, South Carolina. FHL Collection 975.745 X2s 1860
  • Small, Otha Burris. 1870 Census of Lancaster County, South Carolina. Monroe, N.C.: O.B. Small, 1991. FHL Collection 975.745 X2s 1870
  • Small, Otha Burris. 1880 Census, Lancaster County, South Carolina. FHL Collection 975.745 X2s 1880


The Inventory of (SC) Church Archives 1937-1939 is available for free online, courtesy: South Caroliniana Library. Lancaster County's W.P.A. reports are included.


Lancaster County has court records from 1800 that are held in the office of the Clerk of Court. Lancaster County was a part of the Camden District from 1785 - 1800. The records of Camden District courts are housed in Kershaw County with the Clerk of Court.

The South Carolina Archives and History Center has court records available on microfilm for Lancaster County.

The Family History Library collection includes books and microfilm regarding court records for Lancaster County.


Template:DNA DNA has been collected from men claiming descent from the following Lancaster County residents. FamilySearch has not independently verified the lineages of those tested.


More than 10 genealogies have been published about Lancaster County families. To view a list, visit Lancaster County, South Carolina Genealogy.


Because of South Carolina’s history as an agricultural state many residents owned land. For more information about types of land records see South Carolina Land and Property.

Tracing records through South Carolina county and district changes can be difficult. In general, for earliest records begin by searching the Charleston District, then your ancestor’s residential district, then neighboring districts, then the residential county, then neighboring counties. Not all districts and counties kept records. The following chart show where you may best expect to find land records for Lancaster County:

Tracing Land Currently in Lancaster County with Parent Counties and Districts [4]
Date Government Office  
1868-present Lancaster County (new)
1800-1868 Lancaster District
1785-1791 Lancaster County (old)
1769-1785 Camden District *
1719-1769 Charleston District
1710-1719 Proprietary Land Grants

* Some Camden District records are included with Kershaw County records

 ** Some early records may be found in North Carolina

Plats For State Land Grants 1784-1868

This series consists of recorded copies of plats for state land grants for the Charleston and the Columbia Series with their certificates of admeasurement or certification.  All personal names and geographic features on these plats are included in the repository's On-line Index to Plats for State Land Grants

The South Carolina Constitution of 1790 required the surveyor general to maintain offices in both the new capital at Columbia and in Charleston. The surveyor general began to use separate volumes for recording plats in his Columbia office in 1796. Before that, all plats were recorded in the set of volumes begun in Charleston in 1784. After 1796, most plats for land grants in the Upper Division of the state were recorded and filed in Columbia. The surveyor general chose to make the Columbia volumes a continuation of the state plat volumes begun in Charleston and gave the initial Columbia volume the number thirty-six to correspond with the number of the volume that had then been reached in the Charleston series. As a result, there are volumes numbered thirty-six through forty-three from each office, but the records in them are not duplicative.

Also included are the Plan Books containing Plats and Plans.

Local Histories

  • Gardner, Miles. Further Tales of Murder and Mayhem : in Lancaster, Kershaw, and Chesterfield Counties  (Spartanburg, South Carolina : Reprint Company Publishers, c2006), 296 pages. Book at FHL 975.7 H2gm and Other Libraries.



Early migration routes to and from Lancaster County for European settlers included:[5]


  • "Gay Street Pres. church cem. veteran burials," Catawba-Wateree Messenger, September 2002, Volume 15, Issue 8. Catawba Wateree Genealogical Society: St. Camden, SC.
  • "Veterans buried, Old Presbyterian cemetery," Lancaster County Society of Historical Preservation Newsletter, November 1987. Lancaster County Society of Historical Preservation: Lancaster, SC.
Revolutionary War
  • "Massacre at Waxhaws, 1780," St. Lucie River Whig, Winter 2004, Volume 13, Issue 1. St. Lucie River Chapter : St. Lucie, Florida.
  • "Revolutionary War Pensioners, 1841," Carolinas Genealogical Society Bulletin, November 1965, Volume 2, Issue 3. Carolinas Genealogical Society: Monroe, NC.FHL Collection Book 975 B2c.
War of 1812
  • List of Pensioners on the Roll, January 1, 1883; Giving the Name of Each Pensioner, the Cause for Why Pensioned, the Post-Office Address, the Rate of Pension Per Month, and the Date of Original Allowance... Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1883. FHL Collection 973 M2Lp v. 5; digital versions at Google Books and Internet Archive. [See Vol. 5, South Carolina, Lancaster County, p. 186. Identifies War of 1812 veterans living in this county in 1883.]
Civil War

Online Records

Regiments. Civil War service men from Lancaster County served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were formed in Lancaster County or from many of its men.

- 1st Regiment, South Carolina Artillery, Company K
- 1st Regiment, South Carolina Infantry (Butler's) (1st Regulars), Company A - (also called Company B and Beauregard Artillery)
- 1st Regiment, South Carolina Infantry (Hagood's), 2nd Company D - ( also known as the Waxhaw Guards)
- 2nd Regiment, South Carolina Cavalry, Company F (also known as the Easley's Cavalry)
- 2nd Regiment, South Carolina Infantry (2nd Palmetto Regiment), Company H (also known as Lancaster Invincibles)
- 4th Regiment, South Carolina State Troops, Company B
- 4th Regiment, South Carolina Cavalry (Rutledge's), Company A (may have been known as Charleston Light Dragoons) and Company H (also known as the Catawba Rangers)
- 5th Battalion, South Carolina Reserves (Brown's), Company E
- 5th Regiment, South Carolina Infantry, Company A and Company B
- 7th Battalion, South Carolina Infantry (Nelson's) (Enfield Rifles), Company A, Company E, and Company G
- 8th Regiment, South Carolina Reserves
- 9th Regiment, South Carolina Infantry, Company A
- 10th Battalion, South Carolina Cavalry, Company D
Before Reorganization the 10th Battalion, South Carolina Cavalry had the following companies: Company A
- 12th Regiment, South Carolina Infantry, Company E and Company I
- 17th Regiment, South Carolina Infantry, Company I

Other Resources

  • Jeffcoat, Frances Reeves. South Carolina. Dept. of Archives and History.. Confederate Records, Lancaster District, South Carolina: Gleaned from South Carolina Department of Archives and History and the Lancaster Ledger (Columbia, S.C.: F.R. Jeffcoat, ©1986.), 232 pages. "The base of the whole collection is taken from the "Lancaster Ledger," the newspaper serving the Lancaster District during the war. The rolls were taken from the "Confederate Rolls" in the archives in Columbia, S.C, old newspapers and a manuscript.... . The manuscript is believed to be those Confederate War Records of Lancaster District compiled by Mrs. Lottie B. Foster in 1902"--Pref., 3rd prelim. Book found at FHL 975.745 M2j and Other Libraries.
  • South Carolina. County Court (Lancaster County). Confederate Veteran Enrollment Book. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1956). Arranged by surname in alphabetical order. Microfilm copy at FHL 24069



The Library of Congress has identified the following historic newspapers for Lancaster County, South Carolina on their Chronicling America website. For publication details, including dates of publication, frequency, preceding and succeeding titles, and to find out which libraries have holdings, click on the newspaper title.



Tap into the minds of local experts. Editors of genealogical periodicals publish unique sources that researchers new to their area may not encounter. Periodicals at various levels (county, region, and state) may carry articles useful to research in this area. For this county, see:

  • Carolinas Genealogical Society Bulletin
  • Catawba-Wateree Messenger  (Family History Library book 975.761 D25c .)


Probate is the “court procedure by which a will is proved to be valid or invalid” and encompasses “all matters and proceedings pertaining to the administration of estates, guardianships, etc.”[6] Various types of records are created throughout the probate process. These may include, wills, bonds, petitions, accounts, inventories, administrations, orders, decrees, and distributions. For further information see probate records in South Carolina.

The South Carolina Department of Archives and History has microfilms or typescripts of wills, inventories, bills of sale, power of attorneys, bonds, notes, administrations, judgments, and sales records. They have placed Will Transcriptions for 1782 to 1855 online. Index searchable by name and the image is available.

Probate records of Lancaster County exist in the county probate court, the court of ordinary, and the court of equity. Court of equity records include testimonial evidence relative to last wills and testaments. Estate records of the probate court for Lancaster County, 1865-1950, have been microfilmed.

Online Probate Records


Tax-related records are kept by the offices of the county Assessor, Auditor, Sheriff, and Treasurer. Taxes were levied on real and personal property and can help establish ages, residences, relationships, and the year an individual died or left the area. They can be used as substitutes for missing or destroyed land and census records.

Vital Records

Birth, marriage, and death records were not recorded by South Carolina until the 1900s, thus leaving a lack of vital records. Substitute records, when available, are used to obtain this information. These substitute records including newspapers, court records have been added to this section, when applicable.


State-wide birth registration began in 1915.  For a copy of a birth from 1915 or later, contact the South Carolina Department of Health.  The Lancaster County Health Department also has copies but they provide only an abbreviated form with limited information.  For more information, see the South Carolina Vital Records page.


In South Carolina, marriage licenses were not required by local governments until 1 July 1911. However, in the 1700s, the Church of England parish churches were required to record all marriages - even if the couple were not members of the denomination. Not all churches recorded these marriages and some have not survived. See South Carolina Vital Records for more information.

The Lancaster County Probate Court holds marriage licenses issued from 1 July 1911 to the present. Statewide registration of marriages began in July 1950 and the South Carolina Division of Vital Records has copies of licenses issued after 1 July 1950 through November 2009.

Newspapers are used as a substitute to locate marriage information.  See South Carolina Newspapers.

Marriages and Marriage Substitutes - Indexes and Records

  • 1852-1894 - Items of Interest from the Lancaster Ledger, Lancaster, South Carolina by Catherine Fussell Wells [7] FHL Collection WorldCat - index
  • 1898-1951 - Lancaster County, South Carolina Marriage Registers, ca. 1898-1951 [8] FHL Collection - records
  • 1898-1955 - Lancaster County, South Carolina Marriage Licenses, 1911-1950; Proofs of Marriage, 1898-1955; Unused Marriage License Affidavits (with names), 1911-1921 [9] FHL Collection - index and records
  • 1913-1920 - Kershaw, South Carolina and Surrounding Area: Abstracts from the Kershaw Era and the Camden Chronicle, 1913-1920 by Carol P. McNaughton [10] FHL Collection WorldCat - index
  • There are several online marriage indexes containing miscellaneous marriage records found in  some counties of South Carolina listed on the South Carolina Vital Records page.

State-wide death registration began in 1915.  For a copy of the death certificates from 1915 or later, contact the South Carolina Department of Health. The Lancaster County Health Department only has copies for deaths occurring in the last 5 years.  For more information, see the South Carolina Vital Records page.

Deaths and Death Substitutes - Indexes and Records

Archives, Libraries, and Museums

Societies - Genealogical, Historical, Lineage 

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.


Wikipedia has more about this subject: Lancaster County, South Carolina


  1. "List of counties in South Carolina," Wikipedia.
  2. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  3. Voice of Phillip Stalvey, resident of Myrtle Beach, S.C. (2011).
  4. Schweitzer, George K. , South Carolina Genealogical Research (Knoxville, Tennessee: s.p. 1985), 39-42, FHL book 975.7 D27s
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 847-61. (FHL Book 973 D27e 2002) WorldCat entry., and William E. Myer, Indian Trails of the Southeast. (Nashville, Tenn.: Blue and Gray Press, 1971), 12-14, and the book's pocket map "The Trail System of the Southeastern United States in the early Colonial Period" (1923). (FHL Book 970.1 M992i) WorldCat entry.
  6. Henry Campbell Black, Black's Law Dictionary, 5th ed. (St. Paul, Minnesota: West Publishing Co., 1979), 1081, "probate."
  7. Wells, Catherine Fussell, Items of Interest from the Lancaster Ledger, Lancaster, South Carolina, Valdosta, GA: Wells Gen-Search, c2004.
  8. South Carolina. Probate Court (Lancaster County), Lancaster County, South Carolina Marriage Registers, ca. 1898-1951, Salt Lake City, UT: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 2000.
  9. South Carolina. Probate Court (Lancaster County),Lancaster County, South Carolina Marriage Licenses, 1911-1950; Proofs of Marriage, 1898-1955; Unused Marriage License Affidavits (With Names), 1911-1921Salt Lake City, UT: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1999.
  10. McNaughton, Carol P., Kershaw, South Carolina and Surrounding Area: Abstracts from the Kershaw Era and the Camden Chronicle, 1913-1920, Kershaw, SC: C.P. McNaughton, 2001.
  11. Wells, Catherine Fussell, Items of Interest from the Lancaster Ledger, Lancaster, South Carolina, Valdosta, GA: Wells Gen-Search, c2004.
  12. McNaughton, Carol P., Kershaw, South Carolina and Surrounding Area: Abstracts from the Kershaw Era and the Camden Chronicle, 1913-1920, Kershaw, SC: C.P. McNaughton, 2001.