Source Information

Ancestry.com. South Carolina, Death Records, 1821-1965 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.
Original data: South Carolina. South Carolina death records. Columbia, SC, USA: South Carolina Department of Archives and History. South Carolina Death Records, South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia, South Carolina, USA.

About South Carolina, Death Records, 1821-1965

This database contains the following South Carolina death records:

  • Statewide death certificates, 1915-1960 and 1962-1965

  • Charleston City death records, 1821-1914

  • Spartanburg City death records, 1895-1897 and 1903-1914

  • Union City death records, 1900 and 1913-1914

Death records can consist of certificates, registers, returns of interment, returns of death, transportation for burial forms, and physician’s certificates, among other documents. These records may provide information such as:

  • Name of deceased

  • Death date

  • Death place

  • Age at time of death

  • Gender

  • Race or color

  • Death certificate number

Death certificates will generally provide the most amount of information, also listing:

  • Birth date

  • Birthplace

  • Marital status

  • Spouse’s name

  • Residence

  • Occupation

  • Parents’ names

  • Cause of death

  • Name of informant

  • Burial date

  • Burial place

Please remember that the information found in a death record is only as good as the knowledge and memory of the person reporting the death.

Where to go From Here:

Death records, both early and modern, can help you identify others related to the decedent. The information provided in the records is usually given to authorities by a close relative. If the relative is a married daughter, the record will state her married name. Aunts, uncles, in-laws, cousins, and other relatives are listed as informants on death records. Each new name is a clue to the identity of other ancestors that should be pursued.

The death record informant may not have been the person who provided vital statistics to the funeral director or to the cemetery sexton. The death certificate names both the funeral home and the place of burial, so check both the mortician’s records and the sexton’s records to confirm the information on the death record and to look for additional information not included in the death certificate. Once you know the exact date of death, you can more easily look for an obituary notice in the local newspaper. Obituaries usually at least summarize the deceased’s life, sometimes including other towns of residence. They may also list all of the living heirs, as well as the names of parents, brothers, and sisters. Tracking backward with these clues, you can look for other members of the family and additional historical information.

Taken from Chapter 3: Research in Birth, Death, and Cemetery Records, The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy by Johni Cerny; edited by Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking (Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry Incorporated, 1997).