Please note that modern vital records (birth certificates, death
certificates, marriage licenses) were not kept at the State level until the 1900s.
South Carolina researchers must search through individual county records, newspapers,
church/parish records, and Bibles for birth, marriage and death records prior to the 1900s.
South Carolina did not require birth certificates until 1
January 1915. These records are held by the
Bureau of Vital Statistics
Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC)
J. Marion Sims Building, 2600 Bull Street
Columbia, S.C. 29201
Rev. Simeon Campbell's Diary
Excerpts of birth, marriage and death information pertaining to Old Marion County (Dillon and Marion).
The state required marriage licenses beginning 1 July 1911.
The probate judge's office in the county courthouse holds
licenses issued before 1950. Both the Bureau of Vital Statistics
and the county courthouse have copies of licenses issued after 1 July 1950.
Death certificates were required beginning 1 January 1915 and
are restricted from the public for fifty years. The
Archives has the certificates from 1915 to the year before the fifty year
restriction. DHEC holds certificates after the fifty year restriction.
Although divorce before 1868 was not legal, a legislative act or the district courts of equity could
grant divorce or separate maintenance but did so only rarely. From 1868 to 1878, when a legislative statute
again outlawed it, divorce could be obtained in the courts of common pleas. Divorce was legalized in 1950, and
the office of the clerk of court in the county where the divorce was granted holds those records. Since July 1962,
duplicate divorce records have been filed with DHEC.
Parish registers from churches can provide information on
birth and death dates, and marriages. Parish registers of a few early
South Carolina churches are extant and some have been published.
Published histories of churches occasionally include lists of
births, marriages, or deaths.
Records of Baptist Churches are available at Baptist Historical
Collection, Furman University Library, Furman University,
Greenville, S.C. 29613, and records of the Presbyterian and Reformed Churches are
available at the Historical Foundation of the Presbyterian and Reformed Churches,
P.O. Box 849, Montreat, N.C. 28757, (704) 669-7061.
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