Charleston County, South Carolina Genealogy

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Guide to Charleston County, South Carolina Genealogy ancestry, family history and genealogy court records, deeds, maps, immigration, maps, military records, newspapers, obituaries, plantations, probate records, slaves, local archives, libraries, museums, churches, cemeteries, and Civil War records.

  • From 1800 to 1868 this Charleston County was also known by the alias Charleston District.
  • Not to be confused with the overarching Charleston District that existed from 1768 to 1800.
  • Not to be confused with the much smaller Charleston (1785-1791) County abolished in 1791.

Charleston County, South Carolina
Map of South Carolina highlighting Charleston County
Location in the state of South Carolina, United States Genealogy
Map of the U.S. highlighting South Carolina
Location of South Carolina in the U.S.
Founded 1769
County Seat Charleston

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The County of Charleston is located in the southeast area of the state.[1]

Charleston County, South Carolina Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[2]
Marriage Court Land Probate Census
1915 1911 1915 1700 1671 1671 1790
*Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1915. General compliance by 1918.

Note: City of Charleston birth and death records begin earlier. See Charleston County, South Carolina Vital Records.

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Charleston County Courthouse HABS 1940

Charleston County Courthouse
4050 Bridgeview Drive
North Charleston, SC 29405
Phone: 843-740-0801

Charleston County Probate Court
100 Broad St., Suite 381
Charleston, SC 29401-5030
Phone: 843-958-4030

Charleston County Register Mesne Conveyance
101 Meeting St.
Charleston, SC 29401-2249
Phone: 843-958-4800

Charleston County Clerk of Court
100 Broad St., Suite 106
Charleston, SC 29401-2258
Phone: 843-958-5000

Historical Facts[edit | edit source]

King Charles II of England (1630-1685)
Charleston District/County was first established in 1769 as Judicial District. Charleston County is the home to the city of Charleston (originally Charles Towne) which was first settled in 1670 by British and Africans from the Caribbean island of Barbados. Charleston was originally named in honor of King Charles II of England (1630-1685).[3]

Charleston County of 1785 was small and it was abolished in 1791. The current Charleston County was created in 1800 when the Charleston County/District name was used again for a much larger county/district. This "version" was altered in 1878, by carving out the new Berkeley County. In 1897 Dorchester County was carved out, leaving the current boundaries of Charleston County.[4]

Learn more about the history of Charleston County from the South Carolina State Library or from

Parent County/Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • 1769 - Charleston District created as one of seven original districts.
  • 1785 - Charleston divided into Berkeley, Bartholomews, Charleston, Colleton, Marion, and Washington Counties, which never became functional.
  • 1800 - Non-functional counties of Berkeley, Barhtolomews, Charleston, Colleton, Marion, and Washington were abolished and Charleston returned to its status as a district. Colleton District created from Charleston (covering different boundaries than the non-functional Colleton County).
    Charleston County
  • 1868 - Charleston and all other districts became counties.
  • 1882 - Berkeley created from Charleston County.
  • 1893 - Charleston gained from Berkeley County.
  • 1911 - Charleston gained from Colleton County.
  • 1921 - Charleston gained from Berkeley and Dorchester Counties.
  • 1975 - Colleton gained from Charleston County.
  • 1987 - Colleton gained from Charleston County.

Even though Charleston's jurisdictional names have changed many times over the years, for the Colonial Period (1670-1776), the changes really did not affect record keeping. Most of the colony's public records were kept in the City of Charleston up through the year 1785.[5]

For more information as well as maps of Charleston County through time, see the South Carolina State Archives or For animated maps illustrating South Carolina county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation South Carolina County Boundary Maps" (1682-1987) may be viewed for free at the website.

Maps[edit | edit source]

Georgetown CountyBerkeley CountyDorchester CountyColleton CountySC CHARLESTON.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

Official negligence in the 1830s destroyed a large quantity of loose records of the court of general sessions. Northern "tourists," many of whom were members of Rev. Henry Ward Beecher's congregation from Brooklyn, New York, looted other material from both public and private repositories in Charleston  in April 1865. Loose probate papers were apparently destroyed in Columbia in February 1865.

Places/Localities[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[6]

Census-designated places

Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county Family History Library
SCGenWeb WorldCat Billion Graves
SCGenWeb Archives FamilySearch Places
Tombstone Project
Billion Graves
See South Carolina Cemeteries for more information.

Census[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1790 66,985
1800 57,480 −14.2%
1810 63,179 9.9%
1820 80,212 27.0%
1830 86,338 7.6%
1840 82,661 −4.3%
1850 72,805 −11.9%
1860 70,100 −3.7%
1870 88,863 26.8%
1880 102,800 15.7%
1890 59,903 −41.7%
1900 88,006 46.9%
1910 88,594 0.7%
1920 108,450 22.4%
1930 101,050 −6.8%
1940 121,105 19.8%
1950 164,856 36.1%
1960 216,382 31.3%
1970 247,650 14.5%
1980 276,974 11.8%
1990 295,039 6.5%
2000 309,969 5.1%
2010 350,209 13.0%
Source: "".

Church Records[edit | edit source]

List of Churches and Church Parishes

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

  • Charleston Historical Society
    100 Meeting St.
    Charleston, SC 29401

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Birth[edit | edit source]

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Death[edit | edit source]

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Charleston County, South Carolina" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, ",_South_Carolina." accessed on the 3/27/2019
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Charleston County, South Carolina. Page 611-615 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 607-608.
  3. "List of counties in South Carolina," Wikipedia.
  4. A History of Charleston County, South Carolina in Carolana.
  5. Mike Becknell, "Overview of South Carolina Genealogical Research," Group Tour of South Carolina Department of Archives and History, 10 May 2011.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "Charleston County, South Carolina," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_South_Carolina, accessed 22 December 2019.