Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     Because it sustains huge popularity, the “Genealogy at a Glance” series continues to expand its choice of titles. The latest addition focuses on one of the thirteen original colonies. South Carolina Genealogy Research, compiled by Michael A. Ports, provides an overview of basic information that researchers need to know in order to navigate successfully through the various genealogical resources of the Palmetto State.

     Because the study of genealogy is closely connected to history, Ports supplies background data about the state’s early organization and settlement. He explains that in 1663, King Charles II granted the charter for the Province of Carolina, which was divided into the royal colonies of North Carolina and South Carolina in 1719. Prior to about 1700, South Carolina’s population was evenly divided between persons of English and French origins. From 1700 to 1770, new settlers--mainly from the British Isles, Bermuda, and Barbados--arrived and the number of plantations around Charleston and the surrounding region increased.

     Migration into the Carolina backcountry was slow until the mid-1750s, when settlers of British and Germanic descent traveled there via the Great Wagon Road. Between 1790 and 1820, the state’s population more than doubled and continued to grow throughout the following years. Ports also furnishes data on South Carolina’s role in the Revolutionary and Civil wars.

     Approximately half of the guide pertains to the history and complexity of several traditional state and county genealogical materials. For instance, Ports briefly explains that the counties of Granville, Colleton, Berkeley, and Craven did not keep any records prior to 1785. In that year, several new counties, including Camden and Ninety Six, were created. Between 1800 and 1868, counties were called districts.

     Concerning the subject of vital records, he says that statewide registration of births and deaths began in 1915, although some places, such as Charleston, started recording them as early as 1821. Kept by the county probate judge, marriage licenses were not required until 1911. The original loose probate papers no longer exist, but recorded copies survive.

     Under the topic of military records, the compiler touches on materials concerning the Revolutionary, War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the Civil War. Most of the few surviving colonial records have been published.

     He devotes the largest space to land records, including information about the land grant process. In addition, he tells about supplementary sources, such as tax lists and county court records. For these main record groups, Ports furnishes titles of publications and/or websites for further investigation. He also supplies useful miscellaneous online resources and the names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and websites of some of South Carolina’s major repositories.

     Following the standard format of the series, Ports condenses into four laminated pages a huge amount of information into its key elements. South Carolina Genealogy Research is a handy, compact guide that will be useful to family researchers whose roots extend back to the Palmetto State. Since Christmas is fast approaching, a copy may be the perfect gift for individuals interested in tracing their roots in that area of the South.

     To the guide's price of $9.95, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $5.50 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional copy; for FedEx or UPS Ground Service, the cost is $8.50 for one copy and $3.50 for each additional copy. The guide (item order 4671) may be purchased by check, money order, MasterCard, or Visa from Genealogical Publishing Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, MD 21211-1953. For phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website

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