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Genealogy Resources at the South Carolina State Library: An Introduction

The South Carolina State Library may not have the genealogy resources you need for family research, but it has important resources for guiding you on to other places, including state and federal agencies and your own county public library

Resources at the State Library

1.  Census reports The State Library has the public volumes of the decennial Censuses taken by the U.S. government since 1790.  Most of these do not contain names of individuals. Rather, they represent numbers of various populations in the state. Currently, the Library has reports for all states, as issued by the Government Printing Office. Locations in the Federal Documents Collection for various editions will change for each census. Early census reports are in the Department of the Interior; later editions are in the Bureau of the Census.

2.  Print Resources The Library has selected resources to assist individuals in beginning genealogical research and to guide libraries and librarians in developing a genealogy collection and in assisting patrons in research. There are some resources detailing genealogy in South Carolina specifically, particularly in historic church histories. The Library may have some historic information on some of the long-standing families of South Carolina, but, for the most part, our collection reflects the history of counties and cities, and of the state government. Use the online catalog (restrict to State Library collection) to find resources or view the Print Resources tab.

3.  Military Records. The Library has several print or microform resources containing military records of South Carolinians, including published records of battles and names, The Roll of the Dead by the SC Dept of Archives, Official Rosters of WWI and WWII by the SC Adjutant General, and others.

4. Newspapers and Obituary Resources.  For the State Library cardholders we offer a collection of historical South Carolina newspapers through NewsBank. This collection is selected newspapers from 1783-1997, primarily short runs of newspapers from Charleston or Columbia. It includes scanned pages of The State (Columbia) 1891-1987.  The current NewsBank database picks up The State, 1987-current. See also a list of obituary resources in public libraries around the state on our website.  For more information on how to use NewsBank for family history research, check out our webinar, Learn how to search the South Carolina Collection Historical Archives.  We also have a short screencast on using NewsBank to find obituaries in The State newspaper.

5. State Agency and Federal Government Resources. Librarians at the State Library are knowledgeable of resources at South Carolina agencies and at Federal agencies, and can assist in locating online access and/or contact information. See also the part of this online guide.