Lee County, South Carolina Genealogy

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Guide to Lee 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.

Lee County, South Carolina
Map of South Carolina highlighting Lee 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 February 25, 1902
County Seat Bishopville

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County was named for Confederate General Robert E. Lee. A previous incarnation of Lee County. The County is located in the north central location of the state.[1]

Lee County, South Carolina Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[2]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1915 1902 1902 1902 1902 1902 1790
*Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1915. General compliance by 1918.

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Lee County Courthouse

Lee County Courthouse
123 Main Street
Bishopville, SC 29010

Probate Judge
123 Main Street
P.O. Box 24
Bishopville, SC 29010
Probate and marriage records

Clerk of Court
11 Court House Square
Bishopville, SC 29010-1616
Court and land records

9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday

History[edit | edit source]

Confederate General Robert E. Lee (1807-1870)
The county is named after Confederate General Robert E. Lee (1807-1870).[3]

A brief history of Lee County online

Parent County[edit | edit source]

1902--Lee County was created 25 February 1902 from Darlington, Sumter and Kershaw Counties.
County seat: Bishopville [4]

County Pronunciation[edit | edit source]

  1. Hear it spoken[5]

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

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 MapofUS.org website.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Places/Localities[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[6]

Unincorporated communities
  • Lucknow
  • Manville
  • St. Charles
  • Spring Hill
  • Una
  • Wisacky

Resources[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

African Americans[edit | edit source]

Known plantations South Carolina Plantations:

  • Black - also called Josey
  • Josey - also called Black
  • Plain Hill
  • Rose Hill
  • Smith's Grove - Lynchburg - also called Tanglewood
  • Stirrup Branch - Bishopville
  • Tall Oaks - Bishopville - also called S. McLendon House
  • Tanglewood - Lynchburg - also called Smith's Grove

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

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

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1910 25,318
1920 26,827 6.0%
1930 24,096 −10.2%
1940 24,908 3.4%
1950 23,173 −7.0%
1960 21,832 −5.8%
1970 18,323 −16.1%
1980 18,929 3.3%
1990 18,437 −2.6%
2000 20,119 9.1%
2010 19,220 −4.5%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

1910, 1920, and 1930 federal population schedules of Lee 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.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court[edit | edit source]

Lee County has court records from 1902 that are held in the office of the Clerk of Court. Lee County was formed from Darlington, Kershaw and Sumter Counties so these also may need to be searched for records.

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

DNA[edit | edit source]

DNA Double Helix.png
DNA has been collected from men claiming descent from the following Lee County residents. FamilySearch has not independently verified the lineages of those tested.

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

This bibliography will eventually identify all known family histories published about residents of this county. Use this list to:

  • Locate publications about direct ancestors
  • Find the most updated accounts of an ancestor's family
  • Identify publications, to quote Elizabeth Shown Mills, about an ancestor's "FAN Club" (Friends, Associates, and Neighbors)


As of August 2010, a query for persons born in Lee, South Carolina at World Connect, produces more than 1,500 results.

Surname indexes to Leonardo Andrea's Files | Folders | Resources are available online, courtesy: The Andrea Files: South Carolina Genealogical Research. Gotoarrow.png Learn more.

Message Boards


  • The Darlington Flag (Lydia, SC) 1851-1852
  • Locklair - Brown, Gerald D. A Genealogy of a Locklair Family Mainly of the Old Sumter District of South Carolina - Present Day Sumter and Lee Counties. Hemingway, S.C.: Three Rivers Historical Society, 1995. FHL 929.273 L812b
  • Smith - Smith, Jared M. The Legacy of J. Manly Smith, Sr.: First Sheriff of Lee County, South Carolina. Bishopville, S.C.: J.M. Smith, 1994. FHL 929.273 Sm61sjm; digital version at FamilySearch Digital Library

Land[edit | edit source]

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 Lee County:

Tracing Land Currently in Lee County with Parent Counties and Districts with property originating in Kershaw County [7]
Date Government Office  
1902-present Lee County
1869-1902 Kershaw County (new)
1800-1868 Kershaw District
1791-1800 Kershaw County (old)
1785-1791 Richland County
1785-1791 Lancaster County
1785-1791 Fairfield County
1769-1785 Camden District *
1719-1769 Charleston District
1710-1719 Proprietary Land Grants

* Some Camden District records are included with Kershaw County records

Tracing Land Currently in Lee County with Parent Counties and Districts with property originating in Sumter County [8]
Date Government Office  
1902-present Lee County
1868-1902 Sumter County
1801-1868 Sumter District
1800-1801 Sumter District Records Lost *
1792-1800 Salem County Records Lost *
1785-1800 Claremont County Records Lost * 
1785-1800 Claredon County Records Lost *
1769-1785 Camden District
1719-1769 Charleston District
1710-1719 Proprietary Land Grants

*Sumter District records destroyed by fire 27 Nov 1801

Tracing Land Currently in Lee County with Parent Counties and Districts with property originating in Darlington County [9]
Date Government Office  
1902-present Lee County
1868-1902 Darlington County
1806-1868 Darlington Distict
1800-1806 Darlington District Records Burned
1785-1800 Darlington County Records Burned
1769-1785 Cheraws District
1719-1769 Charleston District
1710-1719 Proprietary Land Grants

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[edit | edit source]

Maps[edit | edit source]

Chesterfield CountyDarlington CountyFlorence CountySumter CountyKershaw CountySC LEE.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Military[edit | edit source]

Civil War[edit | edit source]

Online Records

Regiments. Lee County did not exist during the Civil War. Present day Lee County was created 25 February 1902 from Darlington, Sumter and Kershaw Counties. During the Civil War, men from the area of Lee County mostly would have served in various regiments recruited in the counties of Darlington, Sumter and Kershaw . Counties were called districts during the Civil War.

Newspapers[edit | edit source]


The Library of Congress has identified the following historic newspapers for Lee 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.

University of South Carolina Library Catalog

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

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:

Probate[edit | edit source]

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.”[10] 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.

Early probate records of Lee County may be found in records of Camden and Cheraws District, which are both extinct. They may also be found in the now-defunct Craven County. See James C. Pigg's compilation of Cheraw[s]/Chesterfield District wills, 1750-1865 & Abstracts from the Court of Common Pleas, 1823-1869 for some Lee County probate records, formerly recorded in Cheraws District. FHL Book 975.763 P2pj

Online Probate Indexes and Records

Taxation[edit | edit source]

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.

  • South Carolina Department of Archives and History tax lists for Lee County.

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

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.

Birth[edit | edit source]

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 Lee 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.

Marriage[edit | edit source]

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 [hhttp://leecountysc.org/directory/departments/ Lee 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 - Indexes and Records

  • 1911-1950 - Lee County, South Carolina Marriage Registers, 1911-1950 [11] FHL Collection - records
  • 1911-1950 - Lee County, South Carolina Marriage Licenses, 1911-1950 [12] FHL Collection - index and records
  • 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.
Death[edit | edit source]

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 Lee 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 - Indexes and Records

Archives, Libraries, and Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies - Genealogical, Historical, Lineage [edit | edit source]

  • Lee County South Carolina Historical Society
    208 North Dennis Avenue
    Bishopville, SC 29010

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Websites[edit | edit source]

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

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Lee County, South Carolina" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, "https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Lee_County,_South_Carolina_Genealogy." accessed 27/06/2019
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Lee 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. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  5. Voice of Phillip Stalvey, resident of Myrtle Beach, S.C. (2011).
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Lee County, South Carolina," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_County,_South_Carolina, accessed 27 December 2019.
  7. Schweitzer, George K. , South Carolina Genealogical Research (Knoxville, Tennessee: s.p. 1985), 39-42, FHL book 975.7 D27s
  8. Schweitzer, George K. , South Carolina Genealogical Research (Knoxville, Tennessee: s.p. 1985), 39-42, FHL book 975.7 D27s
  9. Schweitzer, George K. , South Carolina Genealogical Research (Knoxville, Tennessee: s.p. 1985), 39-42, FHL book 975.7 D27s
  10. Henry Campbell Black, Black's Law Dictionary, 5th ed. (St. Paul, Minnesota: West Publishing Co., 1979), 1081, "probate."
  11. Lee County, South Carolina Marriage Registers, 1911-1950, Salt Lake City, UT: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 2002.
  12. South Carolina. Probate Court (Lee County), Lee County, South Carolina Marriage Licenses, 1911-1950, Salt Lake City, UT: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 2001.