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Genealogical Overview

Guidelines and Suggestions for Genealogical Research at CCPL 
This guide is designed to aid genealogical researchers using the Charleston County Library. A bibliography of some of the most frequently used sources on Low Country genealogy in our South Carolina Room is attached; also included is data on other family history collections
in Charleston, sources for miscellaneous records, and a list of local fee-based researchers.
Please Note: None of the materials in the South Carolina Room may be taken out of the room. A photocopier and several microfilm reader-printers are available.  Please ask staff and fill out appropriate forms to use vertical files.

How to Compile a Genealogy
Time, patience, and an inquiring mind are basic equipment for anyone who wishes to compile a genealogy. This history of a family frequently resembles a jigsaw puzzle which must be put together piece by piece. It may take months or even years to complete a single line of descent, and evidence must be considered and clues followed until each piece is fitted into the whole. 
Note-taking: To avoid repetition in your search, try to keep an accurate and careful record of all information and its source. For data obtained through correspondence or personal interviews, note the name and address of the informant. If found in a book, note the author, title, volume, page, and call number for library books. If you work in more than one library, it is wise to designate each by some abbreviation. 

Organizing Your Information 
To simplify and clarify your research, a chart of some form is advisable. A pedigree chart is commonly used; examples may be found in many books about genealogical research. You can ask at the desk for charts that may be photocopied.


  1. Fill in as much of the chart as you can, noting full names, places of residence, dates, and any other information which may be useful. 
  2. Search family Bibles, diaries, family papers. 
  3. Give a copy of your chart to older relatives for additions and corrections. 
  4. When your chart is complete to at least several generations, you will be ready to use the printed sources in the library. 

To the Beginner
If you have never done genealogy or wish to improve your knowledge and skills, we strongly recommend you read one of the basic how-to books for beginners. Many may be found in the 929.1 area in both the SCR's genealogy and in the circulating nonfiction collections. Look under GENEALOGY in the catalog for a complete listing.