I am finishing up a fairly successful research trip to the South Carolina State Archives which was in conjunction with the South Carolina Genealogical Society’s Annual Workshop. I have some tips for your next trip.
The first thing you will want to do is have a plan of who or what line you plan to research. If you try and do everything, you will only get frustrated and accomplish very little. I planned for four days of research; two days for researching a single line for a client. Plus two days to research for my own paternal line. This gave me a clear vision of what records I would need to determine are needed.
For my client, it was to determine the parents of a couple who married in Marlboro County, South Carolina. Then to determine whether there were Revolutionary War Patriots amongst them. Therefore I would concentrate on Marlboro County records with records that are not currently online or are not readable online.
From there, once at the archives, I got reacquainted with their layout and their records available. Like any archives, they have books with indexes, maps, microfiche, and microfilm, as well as their one internal computer records. This particular couple shared the same last name before they married and may very well have been first or second cousins which was not totally uncommon.
This was accomplished by finding a will from James’ mother, Alice, where he is named. That meant James’ father was most likely dead. I then found a document from William naming his wife, Alice. I then found a listing of William as serving in the South Carolina Line. The source was an 1899 newspaper. That reference is not a reliable source. The archives did not have the newspaper but the University in Columbia did and I contacted them about coming on Sunday to review it. They replied that they are closed on Sundays but they sent me a PDF of the 17-page newspaper. On page 16 was the original article. It was a transcript of a letter to the Council of Safety listing the various volunteer units and the officers and soldiers under their command. The archives then knew exactly where their copy from the 1900 South Carolina Historica Society edition which also ran a transcript of those records.
The archives only had one microfilm which covered the wrong dates. However, they also had a book that stated that the originals are in the Henry Laurens records at the South Carolina Historical Society in Charleston, South Carolina. I can then contact them for copies of the originals. As to his wife, I was able to determine her most likely father. All in all, not bad for the two days.
I then concentrated not on lineage since I know the lineage but to try and determine just when my known and proven ancestor moved from Georgia to Beaufort District, South Carolina, where exactly he lived, and when he sold the land to move back to Georgia since he is on the militia rolls of Liberty County in 1800. Based on the archives’ internally available copies of the land plats I was able to determine the first date of a land survey being conducted for him. Then, using the descriptors in the survey and the knowledge of one of the archivists, I was able to determine the approximate location. As to when he sold the land, one of the workshop presenters who is an expert on such records told me simply, that they do exist. Therefore I won’t be able to determine how or when he disposed of the land.
The next thing on my to-do list was to try and find records concerning my family who crossed the Savannah River periodically to transact business. All the archives had was the same thing I already have, but once again, the records expert told me to go to the Barnwell County Courthouse for the records. That will be my next planned trip.
In addition, I attended several sessions to continue my education in this study.
What I failed to do was to properly plan a little fun time while I am here. I had planned to play 9-holes but the weather did not cooperate.