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.

This is a free event, however, seating is limited. Please click here to register online and reserve your space. For more information, please contact Ashley Till, Statewide Services Manager, atill@statelibrary.sc.gov or call 803-734-8625.

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.


Saturday, July 1, 2017

South Carolina WWI research: a selection of new and old resources.

As the world honors the sacrifices of World War I Richland Library has recently finished indexing a new World War I resource so this is a good time to look at other valuable WWI resources for SC research. 

1. The 19th regiment was an all-black unit formed on July 28, 1918 at Camp Jackson in Columbia, SC. The unit disbanded December 3, 1918 following the Armistice.  History of the 19th regiment Field Artillery Replacement Depot Camp Jackson, S.C. by its officers and men, 1918, includes a roster of about 3000 men and officers.  The roster includes name, rank and hometown of most of the enlistees.  Some of the enlistees do not have their hometown listed and some do not have their rank listed. It’s kind of potluck! Most of the enlistees who do have a hometown listed are from the southeast including Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina but there were some from as far away as Indiana.  We were not able to digitize the complete history as the only copy is in a library in Fort Sill, OK.  The Fort Sill librarian was not willing to loan the book to us for digitization. However, thanks to the Fort Jackson Basic Training Museum we were able to obtain a photocopy that we used to transcribe the names of the men who served in the 19th regiment. It is located in our Indexes of Local History and Genealogy collection.

2. Another important resource for researching South Carolina World War I soldiers is The official roster of South Carolina soldiers, sailors and marines in the World War,1917-18. This resource provides an alphabetical listing of South Carolinians who served in WWI. Volume 1 covers white soldiers and volume 2 documents black soldiers. The published information includes birthdate, hometown, enlistment date, discharge date and rank. Even better, this resource is now available online.  Don’t count on the search field for hits just go directly into the resource and search with your eyes!   

3. Because the service records of WWI soldiers were destroyed in a 1973 fire the Final Payment Vouchers record group has become an important tool for reconstructing those lost files. While researching a southern WWI black serviceman I requested his final statement voucher from the St. Louis regional archive. The file provided me the information that led me to the 19th regiment, info above. It also included the soldiers rank and his hometown, in this case, Florida. This record group is not indexed or digitized but it was a well spent $25.00 for the information I received. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

More digital content: Palmetto Leader newspaper

In 2008 I wrote a post about the Palmetto Leader, Columbia’s African American newspaper. At the time we were just starting to index the published obituaries.  Not only is that project completed but we have also indexed all the marriages and births in the Palmetto Leader.

Just as we completed that project the University of South Carolina digitized the entire run of the newspaper.  Our index, however, is still a valuable tool.  It will identify if a marriage, birth or death record exists.  With the exact citation, a researcher can then go to the digital content and find the record without viewing multiple articles.

We are excited that the Palmetto Leader is digitized and searchable because of the valuable historic information it published about Columbia’s black community.  Let the discovery begin!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Richland County indexes and more

We are currently undergoing renovations at Richland Library-Main and the Walker Local and Family History Center has been without a home for over a year.  While 90% of our print collection is in storage we have been focusing all our librarian energies on indexing, transcribing and digitizing new resources.

Some of our efforts are now available for your research.  In addition to our previous collections these new collections are available on the Richland Library digital collection homepage and include:

1. Yearbooks from Richland County High Schools (50 years old or older).

2. Books and Pamphlets:  these are items not digitized at other institutions including the store ledger for Eastover's S.W. McKenzie. The collection also includes our list of Richland County public domain books and pamphlets available at Internet Archive, Hathitrust, SC State Library, etc. with links.

3. Indexes-local history and genealogy: Includes the State Hospital cemetery survey, the complete Randolph cemetery listing with images and the 1868 voter registration index for Richland County.  Keep checking because more indexing is coming up!