Genealogical Research in South Carolina

By Ray Shirley


The largest depositories of information for genealogical research in the state of South Carolina are to be found in the Midlands in Columbia and in the Low Country in Charleston.  Research centers in Charleston are The Huguenot Society of South Carolina and the South Carolina Historical Society.

The Huguenot Society of South Carolina was established to preserve the memory of the Huguenots who left France prior to 1787 and settled in the Low Country. The library of the Society includes over 4,500 books, journals, newsletters and files containing histories of South Carolina families. The library is located at 138 Logan Street, Charleston, SC. It is open from 9 am until 2 pm Monday through Friday. There is a research fee of $10.00 for non-members of the Society.  Researchers are encouraged to contact the Society prior to arrival so that materials will be ready for them. The staff may be reached by calling (843) 723-3235 or by email at

The South Carolina Historical Society has a nationally renowned collection of records of the lives, passions, struggles and viewpoints of South Carolinians from every era --- precolonization to the present. The library contains the world’s most important private repository of South Carolina history and attracts genealogists from around the nation. The library is located in the main level of the Fireproof Building, 100 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC. Library hours are 9:00 am to 4:00 pm Tuesday – Friday. On Tuesday evenings, the library will remain open until 7:30 pm by appointment only. To make an appointment, call (843) 723-3225, ext. 12.

Research centers in Columbia are The South Caroliniana Library, one of the Special Collections of the University Libraries at the University of South Carolina and The South Carolina Department of Archives and History.

The South Caroliniana Library contains books, manuscripts, recordings of oral history, visual materials and copies of early SC newspapers. The library is located at College and Sumter Street, Columbia, SC. The hours are 8:30 to 5:00, Monday – Friday.

The South Carolina Department of Archives and History is the repository for more than 325 years of historical documents including land grants and sales, court records and Will transcripts. 307,951 documents have been scanned and made available for on-line research. The documents are grouped as follows:


Records of Confederate Veterans 1909-1973 – 10,694 items

Criminal Court Records – 3,771 items

Index to Multiple Record Series ca. 1675- 1929 – 173,042 items

Plats for State Land Grants 1784-1868 – 51,809 items

Will Transcripts 1782-1855 – 11,059 items.


I typed in the name CLOUD and got links to 23 different Cloud families. Following a few of the links led me to a William Cloud who was purchasing land along Fishing Creek and Rocky Creek in Craven County, SC between 1760 and 1766. A Jeremiah Cloud purchased land along Buckeholtors Mill Creek in November, 1764.

One link led to the Will of Martin Cloud of Edgefield County, SC. The Will was probated in 1806 and contained the names of Anna, James, Martin, Mary, Sarah and Edith Cloud.  One link led to the Will of Joseph Cloud of Fairfield District. The Will was probated in 1851 and contained the names of both children and slaves. The Will of Martha Cloud of Fairfield District was probated in 1852 and contained many of the same names included in Joseph’s Will.

To gain access to the on-line records, go to Click on Research & Genealogy located in the top left portion of the page. Next, click on On-Line Records Indexes at top middle of the page. Happy hunting!

The SC Department of Archives and History is located at 8301 Parklane Road, Columbia, SC. The hours of operation are 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, Monday – Friday.