South Carolina Vital Records

South Carollina Vital Records

The Office of Vital Records is responsible for maintaining all state-level vital records created, administered and maintained by the state of South Carolina regarding a person’s most important life events. These records include such documents as birth certificates, marriage licenses, and death certificates and are compiled and stored in permanent central registry state entities uses to develop statistical analysis of its population.

Birth Records

A birth certificate is a vital record that documents the birth of a child. The term "birth certificate" can refer to either the original document certifying the birth or to a certified copy or representation of the original document. South Carolina did not issue birth certificates prior to January 1, 1915. Beginning in 1706, birth, records were recorded in registers of the Church of England (later known as the Protestant Episcopal Church). There are seven Episcopal parish registers in existence from the colonial era. All of these registers have been published either in book form or in the South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine. Late in December 1853, the South Carolina state legislature passed the 1853 Registration Act, which required the tax collectors in the districts and parishes of the state to make a separate return, stating the number of whites, male and female, who have been born, married, or who have died during the year in their respective households, and the number of blacks who have been born, or who have died during the same period. The exciting records are kept by the South Carolina Family History Library.

Death Records

A death record is most likely a copy of the information contained in a person’s death certificate. South Carolina required death certificates beginning January 1, 1915. Death certificates less than 50 years old must be ordered from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Prior to 1915, the death records are kept by the South Carolina Family History Library.

Marriage/Divorce Records

A marriage/divorce record is issued by a government official only after civil registration of the marriage/divorce occurs. South Carolina did not require marriage licenses until July 1, 1911. The probate judge's office in the county courthouse holds licenses issued before 1950 and after October 2009. Statewide registration of marriages began in July 1950. Both the Division of Vital Records and the county probate court have copies of licenses issued after July 1, 1950, through November 2009. During the colonial period, the governor, as judge of the Ordinary Court could issue a marriage license. Some of these licenses have been found. Generally, most individuals would have been married in the parish church after banns had been published. The Act of 1704 and the Church Act of 1706 recognized the Church of England as the established church and the state was divided into seven parishes. The marriage/ divorce records are kept at South Carolina Department of Archives and History and at the South Carolina Family History Library.

Why Vital Records are Available to the Public?

In 1974, the South Carolina State Legislature passed a law named the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act. This law was enabled with the last changes in 1987 and aims to ensure disclosure of court records and other public records to the public: State House Code T30c004. Every person throughout the state can request access to access all public records through the assigned specialized offices within its determined terms.

What Does Vital Records Access mean to You?

The law is similar to the South Carolina Open Meeting Law legislates the methods by which public meetings are conducted. The South Carolina Freedom of Information Act intent is to provide the public access to all public records at all government levels and statutes in the state of South Carolina.

South Carolina State Archives

State Archives

Contact: (843) 480-9206

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South Carolina Supreme Court 1841

South Carolina Supreme Court 1841