While researching some of my family from South Carolina recently, I came across the Online Records Index for the South Carolina Department of Archives & History. This free genealogy resource offers a number of great tools to help you with your family tree research.
At the time of this post, there are over 300,000 items available in eight record groups. These records groups are Records of Confederate Veterans 1909-1973, Criminal Court Records, Index to Multiple Record Series ca 1675-1929, Legislative Papers 1782-1866, National Register of Historic Places, Plats for State Land Grants 1784-1868, School Insurance Photographs 1935-1952 and Will Transcripts 1782-1855. Each of these main eight record groups contains or or more series within them. For instance, the index to Multiple Record Series has a plat collection, judgment rolls, memorial books, petitions to practice law, a militia enrollment and more.
To search this free genealogy resource, just scroll down and click on Enter On-line Records Index. The search screen allows you to search by record group (can also search all at once), up to two individuals, location, topic, document type and date range. You also have the option of using Soundex for name search, which can be helpful if your ancestor's name may have been spelled more than one way.
Clicking the show advanced search functions button doesn't really offer much more search options. Instead, it adds an additional field where you can choose the series and a selection box to choose whether results are sorted sequentially or chronologically. You also have the option of selecting a second location or topic for your search.
When typing in an individual's name (surname first), you will notice that a drop down appears with names. You can either type in the individual that you are looking for or select the name from the drop down. Both the location and topic boxes will provide a drop down as well.
The results screen has four columns. The first column lists information about the record such as the series, reel, film and item. The second column provides a description of the item. the third column has the date. The final column is where the images are linked. Not all results will have online images available.
For those results that do have online images, they are free to download or print, provided they're not for commercial use and you cite the source when you use them. Results without online images can be ordered from the archives. There is a limit of ten documents per request. A price quote will be given once your request is received.