What is the Darlington County Historical Commission?
The Commission was created by an Act of Legislature on June 18, 1965. There is a board consisting of 8 members appointed by County Council for a period of three years. It came out of the old Darlington County Historical Society, a private group dating back to 1938 and still active as a club. From the start, he began to collect historical facts and statistics on Darlington County. Gifts of historical significance were collected and bought by Mr. Rudisill and other patrons. These items grew immensely, and by 1984, the commission was offered its o
wn building, the former county jailhouse.
Through the years, the Darlington County Historical Commission has become more of a county archives department, and early information center, and incorporates storage and preservation of all types of written records relating to the county. It houses all of the old courthouse records prior to the 1900’s, and as space is needed at the courthouse, records are moved over for safekeeping. The staff regularly attends workshops at the South Carolina Department of Archives an
d History at different times and for different aspects of historical preservation. This helps in maintaining and preserving the records for use by future generations.
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 in this starter kit?
The Darlington County Historical Commission has provided this starter kit 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 Darlington County Historical Commission 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.
Getting Started with Genealogy
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!
GENEALOGICAL RECORDS SELECTION TABLE
The table below can help you decide which records to search. It is most helpful for post-research.
|If You Need…||Look Here First…||Then Look Here…|
|Age||Census, Vital Records, Cemeteries||Military Records, Taxation|
|Birth date||Vital Records, Church Records, Bible Records||Cemeteries, Obituaries, Census|
|Birthplace||Vital Records, Church Records, Census||Newspapers, Obituaries|
|City/parish of foreign birth||Church Records, Genealogy, Biography, Naturalization and Citizenship||Vital Records, Obituaries, History, Emigration and Immigration|
|Country of foreign birth||Emigration and Immigration, Census, Naturalization and Citizenship, Church Records||Military Records, Vital Records, Newspapers, Obituaries|
|Death||Vital Records, Cemeteries, Probate Records, Church Records, Obituaries||Newspapers, Bible Records, Military Records|
|Divorce||Court Records, Vital Records||Newspapers|
|Immigration date||Emigration and Immigration, Naturalization and Citizenship, Genealogy||Census, Newspapers, Biography|
|Living relatives and adoptions||Genealogy, Directories, Court Records, Obituaries||Census, Biography, Societies, Church Records, Probate Records|
|Maiden name||Vital Records, Church Records, Newspapers, Bible Records||Cemeteries, Military Records, Probate Records, Obituaries|
|Marriage||Vital Records, Church Records, Census, Newspapers, Bible Records||Cemeteries, Military Records, Probate Records, Naturalization and Citizenship, Land/Property|
|Occupation||Census, Directories, Emigration and Immigration||Newspapers, Court Records|
|Parents/children/family||Vital Records, Church Records, Census, Probate Records, Obituaries||Bible Records, Newspapers, Emigration and Immigration|
|Physical description||Military Records, Biography||Naturalization and Citizenship, Vital Records, Emigration and Immigration, Genealogy|
|Place finding aids||Gazetteers, Maps||History, Periodicals|
|Place of residence in state||Census, Land/Property, History||Biography, Probate Records, History|
|Places family has lived||Census (indexed), Genealogy, Military Records, Vital Records, Statewide Indices||Military Records, Taxation, Obituaries|
|Prior research (genealogy)||Periodicals, Societies||History, Biography|
|Religion||Church Records, History, Biography||Bible Records, Cemeteries, Genealogy|
|Social activities||History, Biography, Newspapers, Societies||Town Records, Court Records, Cemeteries, Directories, Obituaries|