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Dorchester County SCGenWeb

Dorchester County, South Carolina
Genealogy Research

PLEASE NOTE:   I do not live in South Carolina, and regret that I am unable to help with your personal genealogy research unless it coincides with my own. Because of the volume of incoming mail (approximately 300 per day), and a full time career, I may not respond to personal research requests..  My job is to coordinate and upload information as it comes in from volunteers, and everything I have is on this site.   If you would like to have your surnames listed on the Dorchester County surnames place, please let me know.  Pat Sabin

I hope that you'll find this page helpful in getting started in your research.    Happy Hunting!

How to Get Started 

On This Site

      If you are new to "lowcountry" South Carolina research, you'll want to review the changes in South Carolina districts over the last 250 years.  The old Colleton District encompassed many areas now in other modern counties.  Much of the old upper Colleton County is now in Dorchester County.

      At the Dorchester County SCGenWeb you'll find many cemetery transcriptions,  and marriage, birth, and death records for Upper Colleton families.  Here are good maps showing the formations of the Old Districts and Counties of South Carolina which is very helpful in relating to old census records.  Use your BACK button to return here from the SCGenWeb.

       If you are a new visitor to this site, you are welcome and encouraged to explore!       If you just want to get to the "bottom line" you may want to start here:

1.  Search the Dorchester County SCGenWeb Site Search.  Note:  this will only find information housed on this site at http://www.rootsweb.com/~scdorche/ , including the archived queries, transcribed documents, cemetery transcriptions, surname registry, etc.   Any data linked from the Dorchester County SCGenWeb but housed on a town site or personal genealogy page will not be included in the search. It takes approximately a week for the site search to pick up additions of new material, but everything housed on this site will be searched.

2.  Check the Dorchester County SCGenWeb Look-Up list for a volunteer who may have research material relevant to your genealogy search.

3.  Search the Dorchester County SCGenWeb Queries on RootsWeb to see if someone else is researching the same family.  If not, be sure to post your query!  Don't forget to post messages to the appropriate surname boards, too. 

4.  Browse through the titles listed on the Research page - there may be a linked web site that will be of help.  It  includes links to transcribed documents housed on this site as well as off-site, including single name or family association websites, many of which have large databases.

Historical Centers and 
Research Libraries

If you have a chance to visit South Carolina for a genealogy field trip- Locations with Web Sites include maps and directions

South Carolina Historical Society
100 Meeting Street
Charleston, South Carolina 29402
Fax: (843) 723-8584
Library Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Mon-Fri
9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Sat.

South Carolina Department of Archives and History
8301 Parklane Road
Columbia, SC 29223 
Tele: (803) 896-6100
Fax: (803) 896-6198 
Monday through Friday 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. 

South Caroliniana Library
Manuscripts Division
University of South Carolina 
Columbia, SC 29208
Tel: (803) 777-5183
Fax: (803) 777-5747

Charleston County Public Library
South Carolina Room
68 Calhoun St. 
Charleston, SC 29401
Monday-Thursday 9-9
Friday & Saturday 9-6
Sunday 2-5

Dorchester County Library 
506 North Parler Avenue 
St. George, SC 29477-2297
(843) 563-9189
(843) 563-7823 (Fax)
Mon-Thu         9:30AM - 8:00PM
Friday              9:30AM - 4:30PM
Saturday          9:30AM - 5:00PM
Sunday             1:00PM - 5:00PM    

Colleton County Memorial Library
600 Hampton Street
Walterboro, SC 29488-4098
(843) 549-5621
(843) 549-5122 (Fax)
Monday - Thursday            9:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Friday                                  9:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Saturday                              9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


LDS Family History Centers - How to Get Started

The following was contributed by fellow researcher, Earl Colley, on another mailing list.  It is used here with Earl's consent:

"Not all LDS Churches have Family History Centers. But the people at any LDS Church should be able to tell you where to find the nearest Family History Center.

Another possibility is to go to the LDS Web site at www.familysearch.org

What you need to see is the Family History Library Catalog. At the Family History Centers it can be seen on microfiche or on their computers. I prefer the microfiche. Ask one of the Family History Specialists to show you where the microfiche Family History Library Catalog (FHLC) is kept.  Or ask them to show you how to access the FHLC on the computer. I am a Family History Specialist at our local LDS FHC and I cheerfully do this for researchers over and over.

Let me use my own recent research as an example. I have an ancestor, Absalom Gilly, who is listed on the 1840 and the 1850 census of Carter County, Tennessee. Now I want to learn more about him.

So I went to the FHLC microfiche drawer and looked for the section for the United States. The whole file is alphabetized, so it is easy to search. In the U.S. part of the file I looked for Tennessee (again, alphabetically). Then among the Tennessee microfiche, I looked for Carter County. Now I see subjects and/or place names. I looked under "C" for Court Records. You would see Census, then Church records, then Court Records and then many other subjects further down the alphabet.

Once I found the list of Court Records for Carter County, Tennessee I selected the date interval of interest to me. Opposite the chosen date interval I found a 7 digit number. If that number begins with 0, 1, or 2, what you want to see is a doll of microfilm. If the 7 digit number begins with a 6, then you want to see a set of microfiche. Sometimes the number
of a film roll will begin with one or more zeros, and for convenience the zeros are not copied, but that does not happen very often.

When I found the 7 digit number for the microfilm roll that reproduces the Carter County, Tennessee Court records for the 1840's I used that information to fill out an order form. I paid the person who was taking orders $3.25 and gave her the order. She gave me the carbon copy of the order and sent my order (by computer modem) to the main library at Salt Lake City. In a little more than 2 weeks the film arrived at the FHC for my use there for about 4 weeks. If I need more time to search the film I can pay an additional fee to extend the time.

So far, I found that Absalom had been ordered to work on the road near his home, which told me the neighborhood where he lived. I also found that he had been charged with selling whiskey to a slave, but was let off by only paying the court costs. I have now ordered the microfilm for the same courts for later dates, and hope to learn more about the life of old Absalom.

Among LDS families, boys (and lately girls) just out of high school offer 2 years of their life to service to their church. They get no money for that and must pay their own living expenses, usually with help from parents and relatives. One of the tasks that may be assigned to them is to take a portable microfim camera to a place where historical records are available, and copy those records on film. I think there are now a little over 2 million of those rolls of film which have been made and are filed at Salt Lake City for loan to the Family History Centers all over the world. No local Family History Center would be able to store more than a very small portion of these films. They usually keep just a few of the films that are frequently used.

I have helped hundreds of people access these records. Not every attempt is a success, but most people are happy with their results and find this method more efficient than travelling long distances to visit Court Houses, Church Archives, State Archives, National Archives, etc.

I can never give enough thanks to the people who have made this information available to me, but I try to do so by giving my time to help them help others."

Lowcountry South Carolina Family History Centers

                 Charleston South Carolina 
                       1519 Sam Rittenberg Blvd
                       Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, United States
                       Phone: 843-766-6017
                       Hours: T-Th 10am-9pm; F-Sat 10am-2pm

                     Moncks Corner South Carolina 
                       319 West Main St
                       Moncks Corner, Berkeley County, South Carolina, United States
                       Phone: 843-761-8671
                       Hours: W-Th 6-9pm; Sat 10am-2pm.

                      Orangeburg South Carolina 
                       1740 Broughton Street NE
                       Orangeburg, Orangeburg County, South Carolina, United States
                       Hours: T 10am-7pm; Sun 2-6pm.

The success of the Dorchester County SCGenWeb is a result of the efforts of many

dedicated volunteers.  Every contribution is valued and appreciated!  Thanks!

        Good luck and happy hunting!

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