South Carolina Probate Records, Files and Loose Papers (FamilySearch Historical Records)
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South Carolina Probate Records, Files and Loose Papers, 1732-1964
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|South Carolina, United States|
|Flag of South Carolina|
|Location of South Carolina|
- 1 What is in This Collection?
- 2 What Can These Records Tell Me?
- 3 Collection Content
- 4 How Do I Search This Collection?
- 5 What Do I Do Next?
- 6 Citing This Collection
- 7 How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
What is in This Collection?
This collection includes wills, records of estates, and guardianships recorded by the counties of South Carolina. Most of the records fall between the mid-1800s through 1930.
Probate records are court documents and included all documents related to estate settlement, including settlement papers, inventories, receipts, wills, and other records pertaining to the estates, including accounts, administrations, appraisals, minutes, bonds, petitions, guardianships, inventories, and settlements.
Most probate records were created on a county level. The contents of probate records vary greatly depending on the prevailing law and the personality of the record keeper.
Probate records fall into two general categories, wills and estate papers. Most records mention the names of heirs and frequently specify how those heirs are related. Names of children may be given, as well as married names of daughters. Probate records may not give an exact death date, but a death most often occurred within a few months of the date of probate.
Probate records are used to legally dispose of a person’s estate after his or her death. The probate process transfers the legal responsibility for payment of taxes, care and custody of dependent family members, liquidation of debts, and transfer of property title. The transfer is to an executor or executrix if the deceased had made a will, to an administrator or administratrix if the deceased had not made a will, or to a guardian or conservator if the deceased had heirs under the age of twenty-one or if heirs were incompetent due to disease or disability.
The death date, residence, and other facts that were current at the time of the probate proceeding are quite reliable, though there is still a chance of misinformation. The records may omit the names of deceased family members and those who have previously received an inheritance, or the spouse mentioned may not be the parent of the children mentioned.
To Browse This Collection
|You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for South Carolina Probate Records, Files and Loose Papers, 1732-1964.|
What Can These Records Tell Me?
Probate records include petitions, inventories, accounts, decrees, oaths of executors, forms about guardians, and other court documents. Information in entries includes:
- Name of testator or deceased
- Names of heirs such as spouse, children, and other relatives or friends
- Names of witnesses
- Residence of testator
- Lists of belongings, property, and so forth
- Document and recording dates (Sometimes the date of death will be given. Recording dates are also used to approximate event dates, i.e. a letter of administration was usually written shortly after the time of death.)
How Do I Search This Collection?
Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:
- The name of the deceased
- The approximate death or probate date
- The place of residence
Search the Index
View the Images
View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
- Select the County
- Select the Court Name and Record Type
- Select the Date Range
- Select the File Description to view the images.
|More images are available in the FamilySearch Catalog at South Carolina Probate Records, Files and Loose Papers, 1732-1964. Some catalog records link to multiple references. In this case, click on a reference to find a camera icon to see images.|
How Do I Analyze the Results?
Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.
What Do I Do Next?
I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?
- Use probate records to identify heirs and relatives
- Use the document (such as the will) or the recording dates to approximate a death date
- Use the information in the probate record to substitute for civil birth and death records since the probates exist for an earlier time period
- Use the birth date or age along with the residence or place of birth of the deceased to locate census, church, and land records
- Use the occupations listed to find other types of records such as employment or military records
- You may be able to use the probate record to learn about:
- Adoptions or guardianship of any minor children and dependents
- Land transactions
- Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname as the deceased; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual
- Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have died in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct
- Wills are more likely to be found in rural communities than in larger cities and industrial areas
- The information in the records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the deceased or the testator
- Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after 1900
- There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record
I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?
- Check for variant spellings of the surnames
- Check for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume
- Search the indexes and records of nearby counties
Citing This Collection
Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.
- Collection Citation
"South Carolina Probate Records, Files and Loose Papers, 1732-1964." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. County courthouses, South Carolina, and South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia.
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.
How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
| We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records. |
Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.