South Carolina Newspapers

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Select a time period for which your ancestor lived. Search the microfilmed record of The Palmetto Leader or local newspaper covering the lifespan of your ancestor. Look for birth marriage and death notices. Read all the articles which were generated in the county where your ancestor lived. Read the articles which give information about the church and schools your ancestor attended.

The Palmetto Leader on microfilm covers more years than are actually indexed. It is a valuable source for those who had ancestors who attended Allen University, Benedict, and those who had ancestors who were active in AME, AME Zion, or Baptist churches. Even information about social engagements and relatives visiting from the North was documented.

Online Resources

Early South Carolina Newspapers Database

Eighteenth-century South Carolina newspapers contain a wealth of information about residents. The Early South Carolina Newspapers Database (ESCN Database) has created an every-name index to the three largest newspapers for the years 1732 to 1780:

  1. South Carolina Gazette (1732-1775)
  2. Gazette of South Carolina (1777-1780)
  3. South Carolina & American General Gazette (1764-1774)

Using ESCN's free online Surname Database, researchers may order a list of specific newspaper references from the organization for a very reasonable rate. These references will enable researchers to obtain microfilm copies of these newspapers through interlibrary loan to access the articles of interest.

South Carolina Digital Newspaper Program

The South Caroliniana Library has begun to digitize its microfilm collection in a project known as the South Carolina Digital Newspaper Program. The images are stored at the Chronicling America website. To chart this project's progress, visit the South Carolina Digital Newspaper Project blog.

Obituary Index

This database contains obituary and death notice information from the Columbia, SC newspapers:

1. The State (1892-1928, 1940,1950-1955,1958-1979)
2. The Palmetto Leader (1925-1928, 1930, January-April 1931); Columbia's foremost African-American paper
3. Obituary Index to The State for World War II servicemen killed in action (1941-1949)

Click here to access the index: Obituary Index

How to Find Obituaries in The State, Columbia Record and Palmetto Leader

Additional online resources

Southern Christian Advocate Obituary Index

Family History Library Collection

The Family History Library has acquired very few copies of South Carolina newspapers. The best collections are at the University of South Carolina, the South Carolina Historical Society, and the Charleston Library Society.

The library has copies of published indexes and abstracts of genealogical information for the following newspapers:

  • Baptist Church papers, 1835 to 1865
  • Charleston Courier, 1803 to 1808
  • Charleston Gazette, 1732 to 1775
  • Charleston Observer, 1827 to 1845
  • Charleston Times, 1800 to 1821
  • Columbia newspapers, 1792 to 1839
  • Georgetown papers, 1791 to 1861
  • Greenville papers, 1826 to 1863
  • South Carolina Gazette, 1732 to 1801
  • Southern Patriot, 1815 to 1830
  • York County papers, 1823 to 1865