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South Carolina Archives
Series Description

Miscellaneous Records (Main Series), 1732-1981


CALL NUMBER:        S 213003


CREATOR: Secretary of State. Recorded Instruments.

TITLE: Miscellaneous records (main series)

DATE: 1732-1981

VOLUME: 158.00 volumes, 65.00 microfilm reels, 1.00 cubic ft., 0.01 microfilm reels and 2 items

ARRANGEMENT: Series arranged chronologically in letter-designated volumes with some volumes devoted to particular types of records.  An oversized 1967 map of the Aiken-Edgefield and Aiken-Saluda county lines (and a photocopy of it) that was once folded and filed as p. 19 of Volume V-1959 is now housed separately.

BIOGRAPHICAL/HISTORICAL NOTE: This series is a successor to the Miscellaneous Records (Proprietary Series), 1671-1725, and Miscellaneous Records (Interregnum Series), 1721-1733. The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina envisioned separate officers for recording land transactions and for recording other contractual instruments. Act No. 106 of 1694, the full text of which does not survive, required the secretary to use separate books for different kinds of records, but provided for another book for recording the residuary "Bonds, powers of Attorneys & other papers." S.C. Statute 1698(2)137, An Act to Prevent Deceits by Double Mortgages and Conveyances of Lands, Negroes, and Chattels, &c., required recording sales and mortgages of "negroes, goods, or chattels" in the secretary's office and reaffirmed the basic division between the recording of real property (land) by the register and the recording of personal property by the secretary. 

After the fall of the proprietary government in 1719 and the arrival of a provisional royal governor in 1721, Secretary of the Province Charles Hart began a new series of volumes with a Volume A. This Interregnum Series did not clearly separate different types of documents into separate volumes, but a more concerted effort in that direction began in 1732 when John Hammerton arrived in the province with a new commission as secretary under the now permanent royal government. Hammerton began another new series of volumes for his office designated with double letters (AA, BB, CC, etc.). It has long been believed that Volume AA was used for land grants and has been considered the beginning of a separate land grant series. This series therefore begins with Volume BB and continued in a letter-designated sequence until Volume 7M was completed in 1903. The lack of any volume covering the period 1732-1741 containing the sorts of documents normally found in this series suggests that there may have once been another volume AA that has not survived. The designations skipped from 6M to 7L, and the last volumes in the series were designated simply by beginning date or single letters or numbers.

SUMMARY SCOPE NOTE: As its name implies, this series contains a wide variety of legal instruments recorded by the Secretary of the Province and the Secretary of State. A rich source for social and economic history, the contents of the series change over time. In the colonial and antebellum period the series includes powers of attorney, bills of sale, mortgages, gifts in trust, conveyances in trust, bonds, manumissions, appointments of guardians, marriage settlements, naturalizations, appointments and revocations of appointments, proclamations of awards for apprehension of criminals, pardons, remissions of fines, arbitration awards, receipts, certificates, promissory notes, releases, and articles of copartnership

The first four volumes of the series, Volumes BB and AB (Mortgages, 1732-1735 and 1735-1736), Volume CC (Inventories, 1732-1736), and Volume DD (Commissions and Instructions, 1732-1742), are devoted to particular types of documents. Later mortgage and inventory volumes are classified as separate record series. 

In 1773 the secretary began to use separate volumes of printed forms for bills of sale, but these volumes continued to bear letter designations within the sequence of this series until 1843. Volumes designated 2Q, 3N, 3P, 3T, 3X, 4A, 4D, 4F, 4I, 4K, 4M, 4P, 4S, 4V, 4X, 5A, 5D, 5K, 5O, 5T, and 5W in this series contain these bills of sale, principally bills of sale for slaves. These volumes also include some sales of businesses, ships and boats, and other items. After 1843 the bills of sale volumes are considered a separate record series. A more detailed description of their content can be found under that series. 

Beginning in 1836 separate volumes of printed forms were also begun for recording bonds for the payment of debts. These volumes are Volume 5S, 1836-1846, and Volume 6C, 1846-1872. Volume 6M,  1874- 1875, was used to record (in longhand) bonds of public officials. 

Volumes through Vol. 6K, 1860-1868, and an irregularly designated "Miscellaneous and Other Records No. 1," 1862-1863, were recorded in the Charleston Office of the Secretary and consist primarily of documents from Charleston and the low country. Later volumes were recorded in Columbia and include patents for forfeited land, marriage settlements, bonds, deeds of trust, petitions for change of name, liens and mortgages, memoranda of agreement, declarations and petitions for incorporation, boundary changes between counties, interstate compacts, and mid twentieth-century certificates for hiring foreign nationals.

INDEX/FINDING AID: The repository holds six nineteenth or twentieth- century manuscript or card-file indexes to portions of this series through 1868. The most comprehensive, a seven-volume nineteenth-century index to volumes EE through 5A, 1732-1825, is on the index stand in the repository's Reference Room. Although partly illegible because of mold damage and arranged in a difficult-to-use volume-by-volume format, it includes good brief descriptions of the nature of and principal parties to the indexed documents. This index also includes Volume H, 1730-1731, of the Miscellaneous Records (Interregnum Series). A one-volume grantor index to the 5-letter volumes, 1825-1846, that also gives the type document is also on the index stand. A card file index to the 5-letter volumes, 1825-1846, available in the Reference Room includes separate cards for grantees but provides no information other than volume and page numbers. M on these cards stands for Miscellaneous Records and BS for the separate Bills of Sale volumes within that series. 

A two-volume twentieth-century grantor index to volumes 2P, 2Q, 2S, 2U, 2X, and 2W (arranged volume-by-volume); a one-volume grantor index to volumes 3A-4Z, 1791-1825; and a one-volume grantor index to the 6-letter volumes, 1846-1868, are also in the repository and also all have document descriptions. The index to the 6-letter volumes also indexes volumes R-2C of the Miscellaneous Records (Columbia Series). These indexes have been reproduced on microfilm by the Genealogical Society of Utah. The one-volume index to the 5-letter series has also been filmed by the Genealogical Society. 

Volume 2E (1741-1743) through 2I (1751-1754), the first 112 pages of volume 2K (1754-1758) and the volumes containing Bills of Sale, 1773-1843, are indexed in detail in the repository's on-line Index to Multiple Record Series, 1675-1929.  All names of parties to transactions and slave names were indexed.  The topical terms "blacks, free" and "mulattoes" were used when persons were so identified.  The term "slaves, skilled" was entered when such skills were mentioned, and "estate dispositions" was used for transactions involving estates.  Names of boats and ships, hotels, theaters, and the like are indexed as topics, and topical terms like "Indian trade," "privateering," "slave manumissions," "marriage settlements," "livestock sales," "indentured servants," "stock in trade," "grocery stores," "household goods," "bars and taverns," "tobacco shops," and "restaurants" were also used.  Street names where businesses were located were indexed as geographic locations.  Plantation and barony names were indexed as topics, not as geographic locations.  Names of witnesses were not indexed.  The index terms from the Bills of Sale volumes are also in a three-reel computer output microfilm (COM) index produced by the repository in 1980 that also includes the bills of sale in the separate successor Bills of Sale series.  They are also in the Combined Alphabetical Index produced by the repository on computer output microfilm in 1991.  The numeric code 0002 001 was used to designate this series in the computer output microfilm indexes.

Indexes to commissions of public officers extracted from the general index to volumes 2E through 5A, 1732-1825, are also available in the repository. Marriage settlements and other references to marriages in this series are indexed in Barbara R. Langdon, South Carolina Marriages... Implied in..., Vols. III, VI, and VII (Aiken, S.C..: Langdon and Langdon Genealogical Research, 1993-1999). Most volumes have internal indexes.

ADDITIONAL FORM: Digital images of Vol. CC and all of the separate volumes of printed forms for bills of sale are available on the free side of the subscription website Fold3.com in the category South Carolina Estate Inventories and Bills of Sale, 1732-1872. Most volumes through 1868 are available on microfilm produced by the Genealogical Society of Utah. The repository has acquired reproduction duplicates by agreement with the Genealogical Society and has the right to sell copies of this film. Vol. EE, 1741-1743; Vols. GG through 00, 1746-1771; Vol. No. 1, 1862-1863; and Vol. 7K, 1868-1875, are available on microfilm produced by the repository.

Volumes CC, FF through LL, NN, OO, and RR were transcribed by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s.  These transcripts and Genealogical Society of Utah microfilm of most of them are in the series Miscellaneous Records (WPA Typescripts), 1692 - 1779.

ASSOCIATED MATERIAL: In addition to the two predecessor series of Miscellaneous Records and the various types of records that over time were separated out to form distinct record series, an additional series of volumes was maintained in the Columbia Office of the Secretary of State. The Miscellaneous Records (Columbia Series), 1776-1875, is also held by the repository. Pages 1-257 of Volume A of the Columbia series, which antedate the keeping of dual offices by the Secretary of State in Columbia and Charleston, are a commission, pardon, and proclamation book, 1776-1779, 1789-1790, for South Carolina's presidents and governors.

GENERAL NOTE: Vol. BB (Mortgages), 1732-1735, filmed with General Assembly, Governor's Messages, No. 1271, James M. Elford Astronomical Observations, 1820. Vol. AB (Mortgages), 1735-1736, filmed with Secretary of State, Recorded Instruments, Mortgages (Charleston Series), Vol. TT, 1748-1750. Vol. CC (Inventories), 1732-1736, filmed with Secretary of State, Recorded Instruments, Inventories of Estates, Vol. II, 1736-1746. Vol. OO, 1767-1771, filmed with Will Books (Copies), Vol. QQ, 1760-1767, on Genealogical Society of Utah microfilm.

HIERARCHICAL NOTE: Forms part of the records of Recorded Instruments of the Secretary of State.