Friday, August 29, 2014

Looking for the dead

This morning I woke up thinking that it is a good day for another review of publicly available SC vital statistics.  Let's get down to work.

Divorces:  Not legal in South Carolina between 1879-1948.  See individual county probate courts for records.  Current divorces (from about 2000-present) may be listed in local newspapers.

Marriages: Statewide records begin in 1911.  Individuals counties may have earlier records.  See online listings on this page.  Also, check the Richland Library obit index. We have been adding marriages. Currently covers the Columbia Daily Register from 1875 - 1891 and the Palmetto Leader 1925-1952.

Births:  SC statewide birth certificate records begin in 1915. They are not a public document.  There is a 100 year delay before the first birth certificate becomes public. That will be in 2016.

Deaths: SC statewide death certificates began in 1915.  There is a 50 year delay so we currently have 1915-1963 publicly available. Spartanburg and Charleston County have earlier county death indexes. Charleston County is available in Ancestry. Spartanburg's are available on the Spartanburg County Library website (see the link to the right). Searching SC statewide death certificates can be a challenge.  Here are the ins and outs.

1. Ancestry has digitized SC death certificates from 1915-1960.  They are indexed by the name of the deceased.

2. Family Search has digitized SC death certificates from 1915-1943 and an index only for 1944-1955.
They are indexed by name of the deceased and by the parents name. Because the indexing is so much better I often search for a death certificate on Family Search and then go to Ancestry for the digital copy.

3. The SC Department of Health & Environmental Control has a keyword index for 1950-1963 (bottom of the page).  It is the only place that has an index for 1961-1963.  Every January a new year is added.

Death certificates that are not digitized can be accessed at the SC State Archive (SCDAH).  Use the index to find the date of death and the certificate number.  It will save you a step at the SCDAH. Death certificates are also available at the Greenville Library for $5.00.

The obituary indexes may also helpful. See the list on this page!




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