Charleston, South Carolina, has a rich history spanning over three centuries. As a dominant port since its founding in 1670 the city has welcomed untold thousands of immigrants to its shores from across Europe and Africa. Your ancestors were an integral part of that history and you would like to know their story. They may have moved on to other locations after residing in the area for only a short time, or they may have permanently settled, raised their families, and left descendants to continue their stories. No matter their social status, they left records from which we can piece together their history. Unfortunately, little of this information is available on-line. Only by personally visiting the various repositories around the region can we find the details of your ancestors’ lives. You may not have the time or ability to conduct this research yourself. You may not know where to even begin searching.

Having resided in Charleston County for over 20 years I have come to know and understand the genealogical resources available to researchers in the area. While I specialize in Charleston County research, I am familiar with and have conducted research in the neighboring counties of Berkeley, Colleton, Dorchester, and Georgetown. Libraries, county offices, churches, historical societies, and museums are among the institutions holding valuable genealogical information. But few, if any, of these have the ability or personnel to conduct research for outsiders.

Charleston County Public Library The South Carolina Room at the Charleston County Public Library on Calhoun Street in downtown Charleston contains an abundance of records in books, loose paper files, and on microfilm. It’s a great place to begin your search.
Courthouse County courthouses contain all the records associated with modern times: marriages, court documents, wills, estates, etc. If your ancestors owned land then a visit to the RMC Office in any county courthouse would be a must. Land transfer deeds contain more genealogical information than most people understand. If you like maps half as much as I do then you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
FireproofBldg The South Carolina Historical Society, located in the Fireproof Building on Meeting Street, has a superb collection of books and papers available for investigation. They charge a small research fee to non-members, and are extremely helpful in understanding the contents of their holdings.
ChasLibSocLogo The Charleston Library Society on King Street, founded in 1748, is America’s third oldest library. They also have a large collection of material for genealogical research.
Avery If you have African-American heritage then the Avery Research Center at the College of Charleston is an important site to visit.

Few of the local churches have had their historic records microfilmed and indexed. Most will welcome genealogy researchers to come on-site and pour over the books to glean genealogical information from them. Reading the original hand-written books can be difficult at times, but there’s an inherent joy in handling books more than a century old.

I have visited and conducted genealogical research in all of these institutions and more. Unlike some other genealogists, I have confined my area of expertise to the South Carolina Lowcountry. I don’t have the knowledge or ability to research outside this immediate area.  But, by concentrating my efforts on a small local region, I am confident that if the answers to your family’s questions can be found here, I will find them.

Please contact me to discuss your research goals and needs. I look forward to talking with you.

Mark Geesey      facebook