What is genealogy?
Genealogy is the study of family history or ancestry. It traces the descent of a family, person, or group through research using numerous types of records and resources.
What genealogical resources are in the Commission?
The Commission is a treasure trove of source material for genealogist. Our family name files date back to the early to mid 1700’s and have been worked through the present. These files include genealogies, news clipping, obituaries and related material. The family name library has over 600 volumes by Family Name. We are also the repository for the Early Courthouse records; Equity, Judgments, Probate Records, Land Records and vertical files on churches, clubs, and societies . We also house a large collection of family photos.
What will I find on this page?
The DCHC&M has provided this page to help orient you to genealogical research. It includes guidance about how to begin your research, lists of resources, and family tree charts.
What if I get stuck in my research?
The knowledgeable staff of the DCHC&M is here to help familiarize you with genealogical resources and can also tell you about advanced sources that may help with your research. We also partner with other genealogical research institutions and will gladly refer you to someone or an agency that can assist you.
Free Pedigree Charts & Family Trees
Family Builder www.familybuilder.com
National Archives http://www.archives.gov/research/african-americans/index.html
Darlington County, SC, African-American Genealogy Resources http://www.scottwilds.com/
AfriGeneas African-American Genealogy https://www.afrigeneas.com/
SciWay SC African-American Guide https://www.sciway.net/afam/
Avery Research Center for African-American History and Culture https://avery.cofc.edu/
Native American Genealogy
Ancestry Indian Census Schedules (see above)
Access Genealogy www.accessgenealogy.com/native
Ancestry Military records (see above)
Civil War Soldiers and Sailors www.itd.nps.gov/cwss
Cemeteries & Graves
U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs www.gravelocator.cem.va.gov/j2ee/servlet/NGL_v1
Find A Grave http://www.findagrave.com
Grave Matters: The Preservation of African-American Cemeteries https://www.sciway.net/hist/chicora/gravematters.html
Land & Property
Bureau of Land Management www.glorecords.blm.gov
Ancestry Court, Land, Wills & Financial Records (see above)
Ellis Island www.ellisisland.org
Ancestry Immigration (see above)
Directories & Member Lists
U.S. City Directories www.uscitydirectories.com
Ancestry Directories & Member Lists records (see above)
South Carolina Department of Archives & History http://scdah.sc.gov
South Carolina GenWeb Project http://sciway3.net/scgenweb/
Freedmen’s Bureau Records – South Carolina http://freedmensbureau.com/southcarolina/index.htm
Darlington County on USGenWeb www.sciway3.net/darlington/index.html
Cyndi’s List www.cyndislist.com
Access Genealogy www.accessgenealogy.com
Family Search www.familysearch.org
1. Think like a genealogist!
When doing genealogy, you should remember the three “W’s”: Who (a name), When (a date), and Where (a place). These three items will help you get a great deal more information as you delve deeper into history. Remember to take notes and write down your sources!
2. Start your pedigree chart and family group sheet(s).
We have included a Pedigree Chart and a Family Group Sheet in your starter kit. A pedigree chart, also known as a family tree, is a diagram that maps out your ancestry. Start with yourself and fill in as much information as you can about your family. Copy the family group sheet for every couple in your family, filling in information about their children.
3. Talk to family and go through family treasures.
The first step in your research is to find clues without leaving home! Start to interview your immediate family members in person and on the phone to discuss your memories of close relatives. Write down who you talk to and important facts that are mentioned – remember, always ask about where people lived, because this is key to finding written evidence of a person’s life. Also, spend some time going through family records and heirlooms, using the Family and Home Information Sources worksheet as a guide.
4. Search the U.S. Census, vital records, and other records.
Once you have done some research at home, use the Genealogical Records Selection Table to decide which records will help you fill in missing pieces in your pedigree chart. The U.S. Census is available from 1790-1930 and can include names, dates, locations, and occupations. Verify and discover vital information through the Social Security Death Index, birth, marriage, and divorce records online and through government agencies. Additional life information can be found in immigration and naturalization records, military records, and the Freedmen’s Index.
5. Be prepared to travel and meet dead ends.
Every genealogist knows that sometimes answers can only be found at the source, such as at a local county courthouse or a cemetery. Perhaps more importantly, genealogists can find themselves at a dead end in their research. Resources such as the Ancestry.com, online message boards and forums, surname searches in histories and biographies, and even the services of a certified genealogist can help bring new leads to your research. Take your time, check your sources, and enjoy the rewards of genealogy!
Selective service records
National Guard records
Social Security card
Income tax records
Land & Property Ownership
Abstracts of title
Coats of arms
Civil & Legal Activity
Don’t miss the chance to participate in some really fun and educational events.