Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Richland County Sheriff arrest records: 1959-1963


One of the projects we finished at the library just before the pandemic shut us down was digitizing and transcribing two Richland County Sheriff arrest ledgers from 1959-1963.  We found the ledgers as part our efforts to locate historic county records to process and make available online. 

Researchers are often looking for arrest records, but generally when we call for assistance from government offices we get little satisfaction. These ledgers explained some of the problem.  Most of the time when a researcher is looking for an historic arrest record, they are generally vague about the arrest details and are not even sure if an arrest occurred.  It is usually a family story or a perhaps a grandparent, aunt or uncle briefly mentioned the event offering few details.  However, in the case of these ledgers, if you don’t know that an arrest occurred and when it occurred you will have to go through several ledgers to find the relevant arrest because they are organized first by date and then by last name.  Also, these ledgers are just a list of arrests. While there is an arrest number that may lead to more information, no one knows where those records are kept in Richland County! Of course, the digitizing and transcribing now makes these records keyword searchable, so the date does not impede the search.  However, this level of access to local records is still rare for genealogists and the records are difficult for librarians to locate and make available.

I’ve been thinking about these ledgers a lot lately. Since I last posted in the dead librarian blog the pandemic sped up my retirement plans.  After 6 months at home, I knew I wasn’t going back to the 9-5 gig.  But I am still working these days, just with private clients instead of the public.  My clients now are mostly authors writing books.  They often ask me to determine if any arrest records exist from the 1920's-1970's for the subjects of their book. Even if I find the right agency that holds the records very few bureaucrats are willing to conduct the level of research needed for finding local government records and I understand why after working on the Richland County Sheriff arrest ledgers.  Local government employees would have to search year by year and without more details from the researcher it is a needle in a haystack. The other problem, of course, is that few government employees know if the records even exist. Deep knowledge of these historic local government records is non-existent.  

It is eye opening to see how inaccessible these public government records are to the general public. In the case of the Richland County Sheriff records there is certainly a lot of information for individual family researchers but these ledgers also contained a list of arrests made during the historic 1961 Edwards Civil Rights March at the State House. There's a lot of history that we have lost or maybe its' just misplaced.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Genealogy resources with recent updates.

Hey everyone,

In case you are finding yourself with time at home explore some of the updated genealogy resources.

FamilySearch: SC death certificates are now digitized through 1968 (Ancestry is still stops at 1965).

SCDHEC: The SC death certificate index is updated through 1969. Ignore the dates listed on the website. Go straight to the index, search and you will see the updated DC’s. Friendly reminder that this is an index not the full text. 

SC birth certificates: Yeah!!! They have finally been updated and cover 1915-1918.  It crossed my mind that I should write a post about using this resource.  It’s not straight forward so look for that soon.

Richland County- new digital resources: Richland Library has digitized more Richland County print resources. These are just the more recent items. There’s tons more as well as the high school yearbooks.

Kanopy - Great Courses: If you have access to Kanopy through your local library take the time to listen to their Great Courses Discover Your Roots episodes.  It’s excellent. Here is a brief post about it from the Richland Library website.

Ancestry Library Edition:  If your library provides in-house access to Ancestry Library Edition (as well as other databases) you may soon have remote access to ALE through April 30.  Ancestry is allowing remote access with a library card number while so many are staying home.  They just announced this yesterday so it may take a few days for libraries to set up the remote access.  Richland Library is working on it.  If you use another library system you might send them an email and ask about the ALE remote access.  Not everyone may know about it. They need to contact their Proquest vendor for access.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Two new upstate indexes.

Thanks to our SC public libraries we have 2 new online indexes for the upstate. First, the Anderson County Library System created a new online obituary index for: The Daily Mail, Anderson Independent and the Anderson Independent-Mail. Presently, the index covers 1950-54, 1980, 2010-2018.

The second index comes from Greenville Public Library and is featured in the Oct/Nov 2019 issue of Internet Genealogy. Called the Upstate Slave Name Index, the index features slave names pulled from probate records across South Carolina’s upstate including these counties: Greenville, Laurens, Pendleton, Anderson and Pickens. Open the file and use the keyword search window or browse. They have been working on this for several years and it is really wonderful to see it up and live!

This a great reminder for us researchers to keep up with what the public libraries are doing for SC research and around the country. It pays to google the nearest public library to the area you are researching and see what they are up to.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Dutch Fork Lutheran Church Records

The Dutch Fork area snuggled in the South Carolina Midlands is a pocket community around the intersection of the Saluda and Broad Rivers. It includes Newberry, Richland and Lexington Counties.  The community is proud of its’ German heritage and many local families are descendants of the original German pioneers.

In addition to its’ unique folklore, cooking and massive family trees (like Shealy, Shull and Wessinger) a strong Lutheran Church presence is one of the legacies left by the original Germans immigrants. The University of South Carolina digitized a group of Lutheran church records from this community that is a genealogical treasure trove.  The records feature churches in Chapin, Gilbert, Irmo, Leesville, Lexington, Little Mountain, Prosperity, Swansea and West Columbia. 

The records begin in the late nineteenth century and extend beyond the mid-twentieth century.  Ledgers include member rolls, baptisms, marriages, funerals, etc. While they are not transcribed they are readable and if you have family in this area you probably want to read them all anyway.  It was a tight-knit community and they married within their religion.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

New resources and updates

Hi folks,

Transcribing SC resources has kept our department pretty busy lately.  We have been pushing to finish transcribing the SC 1868 Voter Registration census and we are nearly there.  Some wonderful volunteers stepped up at the last minute to help speed things along. Right now only Orangeburg and Charleston remain unfinished and they will be available in the next month. All other counties are transcribed and keyword searchable.

The 1917 SC birth certificates are finally up on the SC Electronic Records Archive (SCERA). Remember that SCERA is available on the South Carolina Archives site. It differs from the Online Records Index because the original files were obtained electronically.  The Online Record Index files were scanned from the primary documents.

For Richland County researchers we finished transcribing the P. H. Lachicotte ledger. This is a ledger of transactions from P. H. Lachicotte Company, jewelers located on Main Street, and it covers September 1883-September 1895.  Our hope is this resource will supplement the Columbia city directories that are so “gappy” for the period following Reconstruction. The ledger does list women and African Americans and lots of watches!!

Thank you all for keeping the statistics high on the Richland Library Digital Collection, Indexes of Local History and Genealogy page.  It is consistently in our top ten collections.  The high statistics help us justify the time we spend indexing and transcribing records.  BTW, the years 1879 and 1880 were recently added to the Richland County Treasurer’s Tax Duplicate Records index.

Keep searching!

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 Fairshttps://www.archives.gov/calendar/genealogy-fair

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.