South Carolina Archives and Libraries
The following archives, libraries, and societies have collections or services to assist South Carolina genealogical researchers. For manuscript collections and compiled genealogies, the South Caroliniana Library in Columbia and the Charleston Historical Society in Charleston are excellent places to start (both are discussed in this article).
Also visit the State Library Obituary Resources Portal for a listing of SC public libraries that assist with family history searches.
The archives has an online search engine for indexes to State land plats 1784 to 1868 and to Will Transcripts 1782 to 1855 as well as other records. It also has a list of county records available at the Archives: Selected Bibliography of County, City, and Town Histories at the SC Archives Reference Library.
The staff will check a few indexes for a specific name and send a photocopy order for records in which that name appears. A useful guide to the collection is Marion C. Chandler and Earl W. Wade, The South Carolina Archives: A Temporary Summary Guide, 2d ed. (Columbia, South Carolina: South Carolina Department of Archives and History, 1976; Family History Library book 975.7 A5c). Free online history of the archive.
South Caroliniana Library
910 North Sumter Street
Columbia, SC 29208-0001
8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Saturday
University of South Carolina
Columbia, SC 29208-0103
A useful guide to the manuscript collection of this library is Allen H. Stokes, A Guide to the Manuscript Collection of the South Caroliniana Library (Columbia, South Carolina: The Library, 1982; Family History Library book 975.7 A3s; fiche 6101065).
164 King Street
Charleston, SC 29401
The Charleston County Public Library possesses a large number of books, maps, manuscripts, and images covering a wide variety of local history and genealogical topics. These resources are divided into two separate departments. The South Carolina Room houses local and regional history and genealogy materials, focusing on the history and genealogy of South Carolina, with special emphasis on Charleston and the Lowcountry. The Special Collections Department is an archive of historic manuscripts, books and visual materials representing Charleston and the surrounding Lowcountry. Access to the original materials in Special Collections is by appointment only, but much of the unique manuscript material is available on microfilm or photocopies in the South Carolina Room.
National Archives Southeast Region (Atlanta)
5780 Jonesboro Road
Morrow, GA 30260
A helpful guide to the manuscript collection of this society is David Moltke-Hansen and Sallie Doscher, “South Carolina Historical Society Manuscript Guide,” South Carolina Historical Magazine, July 1979 (Charleston: South Carolina Historical Society, 1979; Family History Library book 975.7 B2s, vol. 80, no. 3, supp.; film 1697883 item 13).
For Further Reading
A helpful guide to research institutions in South Carolina is John Hammond Moore, Research Materials in South Carolina . . . (Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, 1967; Family History Library book 975.7 A5m).
To learn more about the history and record-keeping systems of South Carolina counties, use the 14 inventories of the county archives published by the Historical Records Survey around 1940. The Family History Library has all of the inventories.
South Carolina Libraries (Government, Public, Academic)
A resource for locating archives in Appalachia is:
- Archives in Appalachia: A Directory. Boone, North Carolina: Appalachian Consortium Press, 1985. (Family History Library book 975 A3a.) The record covers the states of Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The record is arranged alphabetically by state, then by the name of the repository. Each entry lists the archive, its address, phone number, inclusive dates of the collection, the records of the collection, what subjects are covered by the collection, and the size of the collection. There are two indexes: Record type, and Subject, with reference numbers corresponding to the repository. Also included is a list, under “Coming Attractions,” of agencies that do not currently collect manuscript materials but plan to do so in the future.
- The SC SHRAB South Carolina Historical Repository Directory online county-by-county directory.
- Mike Becknell, "Overview of South Carolina Genealogical Research," Group Tour of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, 10 May 2011.