South Carolina Genealogy

In the United States, generally speaking, each state has jurisdiction over the government records that are kept regarding their inhabitants' births, marriages, deaths, divorces, land transactions, probates, health, disease, education etc. They were not responsible for private record-keeping efforts such as those done by churches, cemeteries, community groups, companies, businesses etc. Certain cities also participated in early record-keeping efforts even prior to their state's commencement of such things. And then there are numerous other entities involved with keeping records; these include shipping lines, publication companies (city and county directories, and phone books), orphanages, hospitals and military organizations.

If you are researching your genealogy in South Carolina, then this article is for you. We will look specifically at websites that offer free online data for your South Carolina genealogy. One of these sites is This site services all fifty states in the United States but this link will take you to South Carolina for the purposes of this article. Not only will they do free research for you and provide research tools, but they link you through to other (free and subscription) websites.

Another good site is When you access this website, you will find a number of topics that they make available for free online research of your South Carolina genealogy. These include African Americans, cemeteries, censuses, a census map, parishes, general lookups, history, military records, Native Americans, and vital records. As you have no doubt noticed by now, you may be linked to other genealogy websites when you click on certain items. Please be careful when doing this. Most reputable sites will let you sign up for a free trial but make sure they have records that include your ancestors before you pay for membership. Their trial periods are usually not very long so look at your calendar and determine how much time you have to spend on any given website before signing up for a free trial.

This site,, is another useful site although they do not provide original sources of genealogy in South Carolina. Their function, rather, is to give background, history, links and indexes so you can search for your name before subscribing or writing for more information. The Newspapers link, for example, tells us "ESCN Database offers Index Books, Surname Searches, Ship Name Searches, and Slave Name Searches of the early South Carolina newspapers, published in Charleston from 1732 thru 1782. This site will be of interest to persons researching Genealogy and History subjects." Their online listing of slave names "currently contains over 700 unique slave names, as found in the South Carolina Gazette for publication years 1732 through 1775, the Gazette of South Carolina for publication years 1777 thru 1780, and the South Carolina & American General Gazette for publication years 1764 thru 1774." They give us a hint about spelling - both the original and those with typographical errors - as you can see by the number of different ways names are spelled on slave names page. This is, in fact, a good hint to remember wherever you are searching and not only for South Carolina genealogy.

If you are looking for minorities in your South Carolina genealogy, then may be of interest to you. The Ethnic research link on the Essays and Special Research Topics page contains papers that have been written about African American research, Native Americans and gypsy descendants in South Carolina.

All in all, there are a number of websites that will assist you in your search for your genealogy in South Carolina. Sometimes there are so many links that you may forget where you are and what you were originally searching for!

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