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How to Get Started: Sources


  1. Consult the attached genealogy bibliography. 
  2. We have a small number of cataloged family histories in the South Carolina Room.  Check the library online catalog for your family name or the name you are interested in researching to see if a book on the family has already been published. Since the library is constantly adding volumes, please recheck the catalog often.
  3. Check the library online catalog for books about your family's county of origin. County histories often contain information about local families. They are usually located in the SCR 975.7 area in the South Carolina Room. 
  4. Check the Index to the Wills of Charleston County and the Index to the Wills and Miscellaneous Records of Charleston County. These records cover the years 1671 through 1868.  Also, check the Index to County Wills of South Carolina.  These antebellum wills for other counties in South Carolina are available on microfilm.  The index is on top of the microfilm cabinets.
  5. Check the file of death records from the Charleston County Health Department. They cover the years 1819 -1926, but they are not complete, especially for the early years.
  6. Check the indexes to The South Carolina Historical Magazine and South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research for the surnames in which you are interested. Also, check Local and Family History in South Carolina: a Bibliography by Richard Cote for sources of family history information elsewhere in the state.
  7. If you have time, browse through the collection in the South Carolina Room. The following sections may be especially useful: 

    SCR 280--Church histories 

    SCR 920--Collective biographies 

    SCR 929--South Carolina genealogies 

  8. Check the U.S. Census records for South Carolina. Copies of South Carolina censuses, only, are available on microfilm from l790 to l920. Printed indexes to the census from l790 to l870 are on top of the microfilm cabinets. Microfilm indexes (Soundexes) are available for the l880, l900, l9l0, and 1920 censuses in the census microfilm cabinet. (Note: The l890 census was lost in a fire in Washington, D.C. in the l920's.)