Requesting Genealogy Information by Mail and E-mail
Guidelines for Requesting Research for Persons Outside Charleston County
1. Written requests are preferred. We prefer all genealogy questions be submitted in writing, whether by mail, e-mail, or fax, rather than by telephone. This reduces the opportunity for error in orally transcribing names, dates, and places and allows staff to devote their entire attention to a question.
2. Limit of one name or one question per letter. We will check resources for one name or answer a single question per request. Surname searches are too broad for the staff to do an adequate job within a reasonable time span. We are only able to look for an individual. Please do not submit questions of the type, send me everything you have on blank family.
3. Three name limit for wills and death cards. The staff will check up to a maximum of three names in either the Charleston County Will Books (1671-1868) or the Charleston Death Card File (1819-1926), when the patron has specified those as the sources to be checked.
4. Obituary request must include death date. Since the majority of newspapers are not indexed, we cannot look for an obituary without a date of death. With date of death, we will search for three names for obituaries per request. We will scan the newspaper for up to seven days following the date of death for an obituary.
5. Two requests per patron per month. We do recognize that patrons often have further questions after receiving the response to their query. But in order to provide fair service to all patrons with the limits of staff, we ask that mail and e-mail patrons limit themselves to only two requests per month.
6. E-mail, mail, fax all treated equally. All questions are answered in the order in which they are received. We do not give special preference to requests received by e-mail or fax. Please include your postal address with e-mail or fax, in case we need to mail you photocopies of records.
7. Fees. The Library charges only for photocopy and postage costs. The fees are twenty-five cents a page after the first five pages and one dollar for postage. Photocopies are limited to a maximum of twenty-five pages. Please do not try to pay in advance. We will inform you of the fee, if any, when we send your materials.
8. Extensive research. We can answer specific question, but cannot do extensive research for patrons. We do maintain a list of fee-based genealogy and history researchers, which is available upon request.
Examples of questions the South Carolina Room can answer by email or mail:
- Do you have a record of Revolutionary War (or Confederate) service for John Ravenel of South Carolina?
- Do you have a will for Michael Lucas of Charleston County, who died sometime in the late 1700’s?
- Do you have a death certificate (1866-1914 only) for Martha Connors of Charleston City?
- Does the 1850 federal census for Abbeville County show Amos Williams?
- I would like to find an obituary for my grandmother, Lucy Graham of Mount Pleasant, who died October 23, 1967.
- Does Edward Pringle appear in the 1873 and 1874 Charleston City Directory?
- Did Samuel Brown have an account in Charleston with the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company (1865-1874)?
- Do you a record of Ida Lowe’s admission into the Charleston Orphan House?
Examples of questions the South Carolina Room cannot answer by email or mail:
- Send me everything you have on the Boone Family in South Carolina.
- I want an obituary for my grandfather, who died sometime in 1956 or 1957.
- Please send me all the wills of the brothers and sisters of Edmund Craven, who lived in Colleton County sometime around 1754.
- I need a list of all the ships that came into Charleston between 1803 and 1810.
- Please send me every listing of the Schmeister name in the Charleston City Directories.
- Please explain the ethnic origin of the earliest settlers of every county in South Carolina.
- The 1870 census said my ancestors were born slaves in South Carolina and I would like to know where they were born.
Please submit requests to:
South Carolina Room
Charleston County Public Library
68 Calhoun St.
Charleston, SC 29401