Saturday, December 29, 2018

Civilian Conservation Corps

Saturday mornings can be very quiet in the library but it gives me the chance to catch up on some online learning opportunities. Consuming my early morning learning time today is the National Archive 2018 Virtual Genealogy Fair. It is a luxury to be able to listen to the nearly 6 hours of instruction about National Archive resources and record groups while working on a mindless inventory project.

My favorite session this year navigated through records held in the Still Picture unit that document Civilian Conservation Corp camps and activities. The online session provided a list of series that contain CCC photographs and included handouts. They also directed me to a 2015 session about the CCC Personnel Records.

The Civilian Conservation Corps created 16 SC State Parks. Before the CCC came to South Carolina there were no SC state parks! How’s that for a bit of trivia? According to the SC Encyclopedia the SC CCC employed 49,000 between 1933-1942. While this is a federal project and the records are at the National Archive in Washington, DC there are some records worth looking at in South Carolina.

The catalogs at USC Caroliniana Library and the South Carolina Historical Society both show SC CCC camp newspapers from around the state…lots of them! I shared a few below but there are really too many to share, check their catalogs.

The South Carolina State Archive has a treasure trove of records from the State Forestry Commission and the SC Dept. of Social Services pertaining to the CCC in South Carolina Below I’ve listed a few series that should be valuable to family historians.

National Archives

· NARA Virtual Genealogy Fairs

2018: How to search for photographs that document CC camps and activities.

2015: Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Personnel Records

University of South Carolina Caroliniana Library/SCHS

· The Civilian Conservation Corps as a social resource in South Carolina by Edna Kennerly, 1940 (Thesis).
· Sample of CCC camp newspapers at Caroliniana:

Civilian Conservation, CCC Co.4475 (Chester, SC)

The bugle, CCC Co. 4468 (Barnwell, SC)

Indian speaks, CCC Co. 4469 (Richland County, SC)

The Oconee mountaineer (Walhalla, SC)

The terrace builder, CCC Co. 3451 (Laurens, SC)

Ambassador and The General, CCC Co. 4471 (Lee County, SC)

Hi-de-hi-de-ho, CCC Co.4487 (Anderson, SC)

Hill side news, CCC Co. 4470 (Montmorenci, SC)

See also:

· William Lee Davis papers. Includes CCC photo album from Abbeville, SC.

South Carolina State Archives

· State Commission of Forestry

Series: “S 162004” includes job applications.

“S 162005” includes photographs.

· South Carolina Dept. of Social Services

Series: “S 214006” includes personnel data cards.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Richland County Tax Duplicate records

One way to make historic records more accessible is to index the information. An index is a list of names and/or subjects that leads the user to the full text. The most common index is found in the back of a book leading the searcher to a page with more detailed information.

We recently indexed the Richland County Tax Duplicate books. The index contains only the taxpayer name  but provides a page number to the microfilmed record for more information.  The series begins in 1876. We have indexed 1876 and 1877 (1878 is missing and we are working on 1879).  These are great years because they fall during the Reconstruction Government when records are scarce.  

The tax duplicate records are a schedule of all taxable real and personal property in Richland County.  Information generally includes the name, number, and residence/post office address of the taxpayer; date of tax payment; number of acres, lots, buildings, and value of all taxable real property; value of all taxable personal property; total value of all taxable property; total tax; poll tax; capitation road tax; dog tax, showing number of dogs; total for collection; total tax and penalty; execution turned over to the sheriff; date paid; nulla bona executions and remarks. Recorded information varies from year to year.

Unfortunately the years indexed so far do not include addresses but they are still a valuable resource for identifying county and city residents. While race was not recorded we know that African American were paying taxes during this time period and, therefore, listed in the series.

The complete series on microfilm is available at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History (series number L 40082). At Richland Library we have  microfilm for the years we are indexing.  

You can search all of our indexes from the Indexes of Local History and Genealogy landing page.

If you are interested in learning more about our indexing projects check the book Genealogy and the Librarian edited by Carol Smallwood.  A chapter about our documentary editing projects is included.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Accounts Audited of Claims growing out of the Revolutionary War.

The South Carolina State Archives has recently added new digital content to a major collection in their online index. Accounts audited of claims growing out of the Revolution in South Carolina, 1775-1856 (S 108092) was an index only collection but the digital images are now available in the online index.  The series is organized by last name, first name and includes documents presented by Americans who served in the Revolutionary War to support their pension claims. See the record description link above for specific details.

The documents are also abstracted in the classic Roster of South Carolina Patriots in the American Revolution by Bobby Gilmer Ross.  However, the original documents contain genealogical information not abstracted in Dr. Moss’s book because the abstracts were intended as an accounting of South Carolina’s Revolutionary soldiers, not a genealogical tool.  This leaves lots genealogical material to be uncovered in the original documents!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

SC Birth certificates update

Looks like 1916 birth certificates are finally up!  I haven't tested it yet but it is posted.

South Carolina Genealogy: exploring online resources

The SC State Library is pleased to offer a workshop titled “South Carolina Genealogy: exploring online resources” taught by Debbie Bloom, Manager of the Walker Local and Family History Center at the Richland Library on May 9, 2018, from 10:00 am to 11:30 am at the SC State Library.  Attendees will explore databases, indexes, and digital content that South Carolina libraries and other public institutions are offering researchers.  All are welcome to attend.

Update: Here is a link to this webinar.

Monday, October 30, 2017

South Carolina online resources: an update.

There is lots of info to share with you about new online resources for South Carolina history and genealogy.
1.  Abstract of Voter Registrations Reported to the Military Government, 1868: statewide survey of white and black men conducted by the U.S. Army under the umbrella of the Freedmen’s Bureau. Organized by precinct and then alphabetical by race.  They are not difficult to read but each county has multiple voter precincts. Be sure that you have checked every precinct. Below are existing online and print indexes but the link to the primary resource is above.
 1868 voter registration, Richland County, SC: Online. These abstracts record the name and race of each voter in each precinct. The index has been sorted by both surname and location.
1868 voter registrations, Georgetown, Charleston and Beaufort, SC: Online. It looks like only certain precincts were transcribed so please compare to the digitized original resource.

2. Sandlapper: The magazine of the South published from January 1968 to Spring 2012.  In its heyday, the premier magazine promoting South Carolina’s history, nature, and people.  Thanks to the South Carolina State Library, it is now digitized and keyword searchable.

3. South Carolina Birth Certificates: There have been several questions about the availability of the 1916 SC birth certificates.  There is 100 year delay on the release of SC birth certificates to the public.  The 1915 certificates are available online and the 1916 should have been released months ago.  The owner of the records is the South Caroline Dept of Health & Env’t Control and they finally released the records to the South Carolina Archive (scdah) so look for them to available online soon.  Here is the link to the 1915.

The SCDAH is also expanding their online index to include more digital images.  The first records to go live will be the state plats and the Revolutionary War Audited Account records.   

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

South Carolina church and cemetery surveys

Sometimes you have to dust, just a bit, to rediscover a vase for fresh Trader Joe flowers or a cool bottle that would be perfect to hold loose pens. In our case you might find some little used microfiche that would make a fine new-to-you resource. Yes, I said microfiche as only a geeky genealogist would.  Microfiche, as it turns out, is an excellent resource for long-term preservation of archival materials.  Similar to reels of microfilm it is flat and about 4 x 5, not a reel. We have several collections on fiche in our collection.

As we were packing, and then unpacking, our print collection for our new digs at Richland Library. We came across a collection of SC cemetery surveys and South Carolina Church surveys.  Both collections, created by the WPA in the 1930’s, are available on microfiche. If you never heard of them don’t feel alone, they get very little use. They didn’t even have a catalog record so we dusted them off and added records. Then we explored them a bit and considered how to make them more accessible.

First, it turns out that the church inventory is digitized and available through University of South Carolina. Here is a bit of information about the inventory from the homepage:

“The Inventory of Church Archives survey sheets are available for forty-two of South Carolina’s forty-six counties. Surveys for Chester, Edgefield, Fairfield, and Georgetown are not extant. The questionnaires provided the means by which information was systematically gathered on African-American and white churches in both rural and urban areas, including address, date organized, building description, construction date, and, of primary importance, listings of any known church records.
An index to churches included in the Inventory of Church Archives is available in Richard N. Côté’s Local and Family History in South Carolina: A Bibliography (1981).”

Next, many of the cemeteries in the WPA cemetery surveys are likely available in other publications; however, these surveys are special because they were completed in the 1930’s. Many of the tombstone transcriptions are not available today through either damage or weather. For example, several WPA transcriptions for Columbia’s St. Peter’s Cemetery do not exist today. The only indication we have that they existed is through the WPA cemetery surveys. 

Here is description of the surveys from the South Carolina Department of Archive and History:

In the late 1930s, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) recorded names, birth dates, and death dates from gravestones in some cemeteries across the state. The volumes containing the transcriptions are at the South Caroliniana Library at the University of South Carolina. In 1981, these inscriptions were transcribed, organized by last name, and microfilmed by the South Carolina Historical Society in cooperation with the South Carolina Genealogical Society.”

Have a look for yourself! Below are links to our catalog record. Here you will find the link to the digitized Inventory of Church Archives and a digital list of cemeteries found in the WPA survey.

Inventory of Church Archives

W.P.A. transcripts of tombstone inscriptions in South Carolina

The cemetery survey is organized by last name not by cemetery (although the cemetery is listed on the record).  The way the material was filmed it will be difficult for the computer to read, or OCR, the records so there would be limited cross-referencing.  Would you still find it valuable as a digitized resource if we digitized the collection?  Let me know.  We are considering the possibility of digitizing the collection.