Beaufort County, South Carolina, Welcome!
I suggest the following steps to construct your genealogy:
If you are having trouble tracing your family, note every neighbor in the census, I would suggest plus or minus ten from yours, note every legal witness on a deed, and then go through superior and inferior court books, to see who might have appeared in legal proceedings with your ancestor. Then do a complete genealogy on each of these families. If you are doubtful just how useful all that might be, check out my John Gill, who died in 1822 in Allendale (Barnwell County then). This is precisely how I proved which of the five extant John Gills after the revolutionary war was him. The proof was surprisingly convincing. It is all on the web. Read it and draw your own conclusions. Holler if you disagree (grin). Much to my surprise, this technique unambiguously demonstrated that John Gill was living in Allendale when he sold his father's land in Richland County! This approach was suggested to us by a professional genealogist, Mrs. Theresa Hicks. Time consuming? Try 30 years! I started working on my Allendale Gills when I did not have any gray!
Actually Jasper County was in Sherman's path. Beaufort was already captured intact. That tale is told on the Civil War in South Carolina web site. Do you have some oral or documented civil war history? Please send it. Please state documentation. Oral tradition is fine, just state: who, where, and when.
Prior to 1785, South Carolina records were kept in Charleston, in a fireproof room. These are pretty much extant, the originals in Charleston, microfilm copies in the South Carolina Department of Archives and History (Columbia). You can order the indices and records by mail from the SCDAH.
In Beaufort County, you are generally out of luck, except for the U.S. census. What fire in the wooden court houses (this is what happened to the majority of Beaufort records) did not get, the Yanks did (although as said before, not Beaufort proper. Gen. T.W Sherman attempted to protect private property. Gen. W.T. Sherman, on the other hand, attempted to burn South Carolina to the ground once he managed to cross the Savannah River. Yay verily he probably would have burned the very ground itself had he been able to do so! Hence there is a record gap in Beaufort County from 1785 to 1865, when the Yanks began records.
Mr. Salley's excellent History of Orangeburg County (History of Orangeburg County, South Carolina, A.S. Salley, Jr., Baltimore: Regional Publishing Company, 1978, reprint of 1898 edition) has information on this area. In this you will find The Rev. Giessendanner's very detailed records of births, marriages, baptisms, and all manner of record. These are a gold mine of information. If you cannot find a copy, I have one.
For details on the precise name and dates for each renaming of the area, and references, see the history page .
If you have suggestions on the wording of this page, or suggestions on other sources, please send them. Would you like to write or rewrite one of the pages? All comments are welcome.
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Copyright ©2014, Frank O. Clark, Ph.D. These documents may be freely used for private purposes, and included in your own genealogy. However, this document is copyrighted and may not be sold, nor given to anyone who may attempt to derive profit from same.