The Summary Guide to Local Records is a listing of 5656 record series that include 7221 cubic feet of paper records and 15,050 microfilm reels of county and municipal records. This guide updates the department's A Guide to Local Government Records in the South Carolina Archives, published in 1988. Differences from the format used in the printed guide are noted in the Summary Guide Technical Reference. The guide is divided into the Summary Guide to County Records and Summary Guide to Municipal Records.
From its inception as a state, South Carolina has generated local government records that are among its most valuable historical resources. Records of local governments and the courts make up the department's second largest collection of records and are among the most heavily used materials at the South Carolina Archives. Local records serve as a rich source for genealogical research; local history; the court system; and the history, development, and activities of South Carolina county and municipal governments.
Local records comprise 28 percent of the department's paper records, mostly original documents and volumes, as well as transcripts of original records. The department holds the collection of transcripts of public records completed during the Depression-era Historical Records Survey, one of the projects sponsored by the Civil Works Administration and continued by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). In some cases, the original records have been lost or destroyed, and the WPA transcript remains the only existing copy.
Large portions of local records are on microfilm and represent 59 percent of the total microfilm holdings of the department. This microfilm has been prepared by the department's Micrographics Unit, the Genealogical Society of Utah, and by other microfilm vendors. In some cases, records have been microfilmed and remain in the county or municipality. In other instances, the department holds both the original and its microfilm copy; the latter designated as the copy for research use. Also included is a small amount of photographs, maps, blueprints, and audio tapes.
Original or microfilm copies of pre-1950 records of historical value that complement our holdings continue to be transferred on a regular basis. Post-1950 historically-valuable records offered for transfer are considered on a case-by-case basis, with situations in which the records might be in danger of damage, destruction, or loss given the highest priority for transfer. Subject to available resources, microfilming of local records of historical value is also an ongoing program activity.
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