Researchers who are trying to find out when their ancestors arrived at the Port of Charleston are often frustrated to learn that there are no surviving records for the port prior to the establishment of the Ports Utility Commission and State Ports Authority in the twentieth century. While this creates a hurdle for immigration research, there are several other materials available that can be useful, such as naturalization records, records for arrivals at other South Carolina ports, and census information, which often list the country of nativity.
Genealogists can fill in the gaps by tracking down embarkation records for the country their ancestors left from. Historic newspapers can also be helpful, and although they may not list the names of every pasenger coming into the port on each ship, they often include the names of which ships have arrived in port and where they are coming from. The S.C. Room staff has also compiled a file of ship passenger lists, with individual names, that have been collected from emarkation records held at other institutions. They include an incomplete set of passengers spanning from 1752 into the ninteenth century.
For a finding aid of ship record and immigration sources that lists titles and CCPL call numbers, please click on the link below: