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North and South Carolina Marriage Records

Updated on June 29, 2011

Originally Published 1927

Continuing with my genealogical gathering trip through yesteryear by way of old books, I came across a fairly new copy of “North and South Carolina Marriage Records, from the Earliest Colonial Days to the Civil War.” I say fairly new as the copy I have was reprinted in 1977 from an original printing of 1927. It would seem that 1927 saw a big serge in printing of all things family related, including genealogy research.

I am not sure what the original sold for in 1927 or even the cost of the reprint in 1977, as my copy was given to me from the collection of a relative by his children, after he has passed into the great beyond to visit his relatives in person. I had used the book before in “borrowed” form to search for our combined relatives, but the book had long been returned. It was with great honor they bestowed his copy on me... along with several more boxes of books and other genealogy related items.

Many may wonder why I prefer the old books and here are just a few reasons why I want the earliest copies: The author was nearer in age of the records being read; the author may have actually knows some of the parties or at least the families; records were more complete and had not yet “taken legs and walked” out of courthouses; pages were not missing from the original copies being reprinted after the copyright had expired.

The first few pages of this 295 page book are set up to remind you of how the Carolinascame into place in America. Explored first by “Giovanni Verrazano, an Italian voyager in 1524, the Carolina originally were included in the territory designated as South Virginia. The first settlement in what is now North Carolina was in the county named Albemarle...”

“Under the conditions existing in North Carolina it is not surprising to find very few marriages on record prior to 1700, as there were no authentic records available and the marriages recorded in this book before the year 1699 were discovered only after the most careful and patient research.”

As an example of incomplete marriage records we give certain data found in court and other county records. These marriages, not included in the regular alphabetical arrangement, will show the reader how difficult the work of making complete records has become and will well illustrate the lack of early data, especially before 1700.”

Don’t you just love the way of speaking of the older gentle editors? It brings back memories of a love of words before texting set us up to shorten everything to the bare minimum.

May I suggest you have a map of sorts in hand as if you are not familiar with theCarolinasyou will need it. And if this is your first foray into genealogy research, you may still be a bit lost. You need to remember this book was compiled in 1927 by a person well versed in North andSouth Carolinahistory. A few of the first entries are shown following and may I state in advance: the spelling is correct as to the book, as are all other typing marks.

William Badham married about 1735 Martha Mooney at Edenton.

Thomas Blount married the widow of Joseph Scott before February 5, 1686. Recorded at Edenton, Chowan Precinct.

Thomas Burnby married Hannah, daughter of Edmund Chaney, before 1686. Recorded at Edenton.

William Duckinfield married Susannah ---------- who married (2) --------- Hartley. Before 1695 at Edenton.

Ann Durant (born 1719) married Thomas Corpreu who married (2) Sarah Vail. (Apparently recorded at Perquimans District.)

James Harlve married (by 1684) “ye relict of Hugh Barlow.”

Governor Thomas Harvey of North Carolina (from Warwickshire, England), married (1) on April 13, 1682, Joannah Jenkins “ye relict of Hon Jenkins”; married (2) Sarah, daughter of Benjamin Laker, Perquimans, N.C.

And skipping down a few rows: Hester Sweetman (of Maryland; died 1716) married (1) John Harris (2) Colonel William Wilkinson (3) Thomas Pollock.

Mmmm. She went through men like crazy! Usually it is the other way around as many women died in childbirth.

Several more entries are recorded in the beginning pages before the alphabetized listing of marriages!

Clemens gave a short discourse on South Carolina noting that South Carolina was inhabited by a small colony of whites before there was a settlement in North Carolina.”

He goes on to mention “South Carolina prior to the Revolution had probably more distinguished men than any other colony in the new world.” Among those he mentioned were: Judge William Drayton, Christopher Gadsden, Arthur Middleton, Charles C. Pinckney, Thomas Heyward, William Bull, Henry Laurens, Thomas Lynch, John Lining, Stephen Elliott, William Moultrie, Isaac Hayne, Andrew Pickens, Daniel McCalla, John Matthews, Aedanus Burke, William Butler, David Ramsey, Gabriel Manigault, and John Gaillard. And may I also suggest that if you are a history student or have any of these surnames in your lineage, you need to know who these men were, so Google for them.

“South Carolina ratified the constitution of the United States, May 23, 1788, and her signers to the Declaration of Independence were Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., and Arthur Middleton. Vice President John C. Calhoun was a native South Carolina.

When using this book, you may have to become quite inventive with the name spelling, as Clemens himself noted: “The variations in the spelling of family names, is due not always to the ancestors themselves, but largely through the carelessness and ignorance of parish clerks and court officials, who inscribed the names of parties contracting marriages, by sound, without regard to the actual spelling.” However, both the male and the female are indexed into the alphabetical listing.

Clarification: There were no typewriters and no copy machines, so everything recorded in the courthouse and/or church records had to be copied by hand from the original to the court records. Clerks made lots of mistakes, especially when they were very busy or interrupted.

My only objection to the information found in the book is that while Clemens said, “The records of churches, parishes, and court houses have been carefully examined for the data contained in this volume, and naturally through the long periods of war and rebellions, many of these records have been lost and destroyed. Consequently the reader must expect disappointment occasionally in not finding the particular name of ancestors supposed to have been married in South Carolina.” Clemens gave the names, dates, and town, but he did not give the location of the record albeit church or courthouse!

Lacey, Samuel and Hannah Hogg, 13 January 1743, Charleston, S. C.

Lacy, John and Ann Miller, 2 April 1738, Charleston, S. C.

Lacy, Thomas and Ruth Mitchell, 20 November 1800, Charleston, S. C.

Yes, now I have dates and places of some of those with my ancestor’s family name, but... if I could go back over those same records, perhaps I would find other records and families in that area I could use to compile a picture of the Lacy family and their friends so I could prove if these Lacys were my Lacys! I suppose with enough time and research materials I could figure out where the originals were located and read the records before and after, but documentation is the key to researching. And if you have never heard the term “cluster” research, perhaps it is time you learned that sometimes to find the needle in the haystack (your ancestor) you might have to search several haystacks in the same vicinity!

My standard warning to all researchers: You would also do well to remember that not everything is on the internet. Someone had to type and put up any information you find online; so with re-typing comes errors... on top of the original errors. However, there is a lot of information on the internet and you would do well to search for your genealogical information there first, if you have frequent access to the internet. Most of all remember that books, as well as the internet, are to be used as a road map to the “original” records... and don’t forget to document your research in case you have to go back to the same record over and over!


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