South Carolina, United States Genealogy

From FamilySearch Wiki
Revision as of 22:55, 2 December 2012 by Evancol (talk | contribs) (added prof genealogist badge)

Jump to: navigation, search
South Carolina Wiki Topics
Beginning Research
Record Types
South Carolina Background
Local Research Resources
The FamilySearch moderator for South Carolina is SavingStories
United States  go to  South Carolina

Welcome to the South Carolina page,
the Palmetto State

Live oaks over E. Bay Street in Georgetown, SC.
Most unique genealogical features:
  • Earliest colonists were from Barbados
  • Marriage registration began in 1911
  • Before 1785, most South Carolina records were kept in Charleston
  • Old districts affect research
  • From 1800 to 1868 Counties were called Districts
  • Admiralty Courts played a notable role
link= Carolina_Online_Genealogy_Records South Carolina
Online Records

South Carolina Counties

Click on the map below to go to a county page. Hover over a county to see its name. To see a larger version of the map, click here.
Horry CountyDillon CountyMarion CountyGeorgetown CountyWilliamsburg CountyFlorence CountyDarlington CountyBerkeley CountyClarendon CountyDorchester CountyColleton CountyBeaufort CountyCharleston CountyHampton CountyBamberg CountyAllendale CountyJasper CountyBarnwell CountyAiken CountyEdgefield CountySaluda CountyGreenwood CountyMcCormick CountyAbbeville CountyOconee CountyPickens CountyAnderson CountyLaurens CountyMarlboro CountyChesterfield CountyKershaw CountyLancaster CountyYork CountyCherokee CountyUnion CountySpartanburg CountyGreenville CountyNewberry CountyLexington CountyRichland CountyCalhoun CountyOrangeburg CountyLee CountySumter CountyFairfield CountyChester CountySouth-carolina-county-map.gif

Counties or Districts

To find South Carolina records, it helps to understanding the history of their counties and districts. [1]
Early. Until the 1760s the predominant court was in Charleston. Parish and township records were kept, but records at counties not so much. Early counties were used more to describe locations than as record keeping jurisdictions.
1769. Seven circuit court districts were established. Record keeping in district seats became more important. Parishes continued. All counties were abolished. 1785. The seven overarching districts were sub-divided into three to six counties each. Provisional counties in several older southern districts never built courthouses, never functioned, and were counties in name only.
The other newer northern districts were often settled by people accustomed to county government who eventually erected courthouses, and fully functioning counties. Some of the county names (or similar names) from this period were used for later counties with different county boundaries.
1791. The 14 provisional counties within Charleston, Beaufort, and Orangeburg districts and several others were dissolved for failure to thrive. Two new districts with six counties inside those new districts were reorganized from parts of previous districts and counties in the far north.
1800. All overarching districts were abolished. Three of the previous counties were abolished. Seven new counties were created and added to the other remaining counties. However, all South Carolina counties were also called districts until 1868.
1868. Any remaining so-called districts were officially changed to counties.

Extinct Counties: Bartholomew · Berkeley (1682-1768) · Berkeley (1785-1791) · Carteret · Charleston (1785-1791) · Claremont · Clarendon (1785-1800) · Colleton (1682-1768) · Colleton (1785-1791) · Craven · Granville (1708-1768) · Granville (1785-1791) · Hilton · Kingston · Lewisburg · Lexington (1785-1791) · Liberty · Lincoln · Marion (1785-1791) · Orange · Pendleton · Salem · Shrewsbury · Waccamaw · Washington · Winton · Winyah

Overarching Districts:Beaufort District · Camden District · Charleston District · Cheraw District · Georgetown District · Ninety-Six District · Orangeburgh District · Pendleton District · Pinckney District · Washington District
Districts that became Counties 1800–1868: Abbeville District · Anderson District · Barnwell District · Beaufort (1800-1868) District · Charleston (1800-1868) District · Chester District · Chesterfield District · Clarendon District · Colleton District · Darlington District · Edgefield District · Fairfield District · Georgetown (1800-1868) District · Greenville District · Horry District · Lancaster District · Laurens District · Lexington District · Marion District · Marlboro District · Orangeburg (1800-1868) District · Newberry District · Pendleton (1800-1826) District · Pickens District · Richland District · Spartanburg District · Sumter District · Williamsburg District · York District

For more regarding South Carolina county formation and boundary changes, see the following:

Colonial Parishes

All Saints · Christ Church · Prince Frederick · Prince George · Prince William · St. Andrew's · St. Bartholomew's · St. David's · St. George Dorchester · St. Helena's · St. James Goose Creek · St. James Santee · St. John's Berkeley · St. John's Colleton · St. Luke's · St. Mark's · St. Matthew's · St. Michael's · St. Paul's · St. Peter's · St. Philip's · St. Stephen's · St. Thomas and St. Denis

Colonial Townships

Amelia · Congaree · Edisto · Fredericksburg · Hillsborough · Kingston · Kings Town · Londonborough · New Windsor · Orangeburgh · Purrysburg · Queensboro · Queensborough · Saxe-Gotha · The Welsh Tract · Williamsburg

Major Repositories

South Carolina Dept. of Archives and History · South Carolina Historical Society · South Caroliniana Library · Charleston Library Society · South Carolina Genealogical Society · Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina Archives · National Archives Southeast Region (Atlanta) · Dallas Public Central Library

Migration Routes

Savannah River · Augusta and Cherokee Trail · Augusta-Savannah Trail · Augusta-St. Augustine Trail · Camden-Charleston Path · Catawba and Northern Trail · Catawba Trail · Charleston-Ft. Charlotte Trail · Charleston-Savannah Trail · Cisca and St. Augustine Trail (or Nickajack Trail) · Coosa-Tugaloo Indian Warpath · Fall Line Road (or Southern Road) · Fort Charlotte and Cherokee Old Path · Fort Moore-Charleston Trail · Great Valley Road · King's Highway · Lower Cherokee Traders' Path · Lower Creek Trading Path · Middle Creek Trading Path · Occaneechi Path · Old Cherokee Path · Old South Carolina State Road · Savannah-Jacksonville Trail · Secondary Coast Road · Tugaloo-Apalachee Bay Trail · Unicoi Trail · Upper Road · Ports:  Beaufort · Charleston · Georgetown


About 80 percent of the settlers of colonial South Carolina were of English origin. Many of them came by way of Barbados and other colonies rather than directly from England. A group of Dutch settlers from New York came to South Carolina in 1671. Another smaller group was of French origin, mostly descendants of Huguenots, who came to the area beginning in 1680. More numerous were the Scottish dissenters, who were brought in beginning in 1682, and the Germans, who arrived during the eighteenth century. Blacks constituted a majority of the population from early colonial times until 1930. Indian wars drove most of the native Americans from the state, but there are still a few Catawba Indians in York County.

Research Tools

{{Forum badge | layout = vertical | forum link = | forum name = Southern States Research forum }}


{{Online course badge | layout = vertical | course link = course name = The Most Overlooked Record-Types in South Carolina}}

Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:

Things you can do
South Carolina flag.png

In order to make this wiki a better research tool, we need your help! Many tasks need to be done. You can help by:


  1. "The Counties from 1664 to Present - In Alphabetical Order" in South Carolina - The Counties at (accessed 28 April 2011).