ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Genealogy Tips: Researching Marriages in South Carolina

Updated on October 30, 2011
Source

For genealogists, birth, marriage and death records are somewhat akin to the Holy Grail – these are the bits of paper that prove the theoretical family connections and back up the oral history. Sometimes more importantly, these are the records that that confirm eligibility for membership in such lineage groups as the Daughters of the American Revolution. But if your research takes you to South Carolina, you will find that the answer to the question "Where are the marriage records?" may be "There are no marriage records."

Prior to 1911, South Carolina had very little in the way of laws regarding marriage. Marriage was considered to be a matter of concern only to the family and possibly the church, and not a matter for the government. There was no mandated minimum age, licenses were not issued, and marriages did not have to be registered with any government entity. This changed beginning on July 1, 1911, when the state began requiring the recording of marriages. These records were kept only on a county level, with marriages being recorded in the county where the license was issued. It wasn't until July 1, 1950, that marriage records became centralized. They are now the responsibility of the Bureau of Vital Statistics, a division of the State Board of Health.

It seems pretty straight forward, at least for relatively modern marriages. No such luck. To add to the confusion, South Carolina has always recognized common law marriages. For a couple looking to get married, no license is needed; it can be as simple as moving in together and referring to yourselves as Mister and Missus Smith. This is a holdover from the earliest colonial days. Contrary to what many people believe, most of our ancestors seldom went to church. Churches and ministers were few and far between outside of the larger towns and cities, and settlers could go months without seeing a member of the clergy. As a practical matter, people didn't wait for official sanction – they went on with life and took care of the formalities later.

There are other possibilities as well. Although it was far from a universal practice, some newspapers did publish marriage notices. The Church of England and its successor, the Episcopal Church, kept records in Charleston until the 1850s. Other denomination were not as meticulous on an organized basis, but often individual churches or pastors kept their own records. The single largest collection of marriage and death notices is found at the South Caroliniana Library on the campus of the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      6 years ago from London, UK

      Although I live on the other side but it was interesting to read. I would love to find our more about my family but it time consuming.

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      6 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Learn something new each day. My maternal relatives come from South Carolina.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)