Help in Using this Index
The records included in this index have been grouped into broad categories such
as Legislative Papers or Plats for State Land Grants. The categories can be selected from the
list in the drop-down bar. By leaving
ALL in place all the records in the entire database will be searched.
In this context “record group” should not be confused with the technical
archival term “record group,” which means the records created by a particular institution
In the advanced search mode you can limit your search to a particular record series,
such as the Grand Jury Presentments.
You can also create a chronological or sequential list of all the records in
a series by leaving all the other fields blank.
In the basic search mode this program will search for the exact characters you enter
and give you all the documents that have been indexed to names that begin with those
For example, if you enter PURCELL, J you will get all documents indexed to Purcell,
James; Purcell, Joseph; Purcell, Joseph R.; Purcell, J.; etc. You can also choose one of the names from the drop-down bar that appears after you type in three or more characters.
Upper and lower case letters can be used interchangeably.
If you enter two names linked by AND, the results will include only those
documents indexed to both names; two names linked by OR will bring up all documents
indexed to either of the two names. If you
shorten (truncate) the name you will get a broader range of documents; for example,
if you enter PURC you will get Purchall, Purchett, etc. as well as all the Purcell
entries. Names of slaves and African
Americans who were free before 1865 have been entered as Mary (slave) or Mary (free
In the advanced search mode you can also select “Use exact match.”
will give you only those documents indexed
to those exact letters, spaces, and punctuation marks.
If you do not select “Use exact match,” the program will give you all documents
that were indexed to names that begin with the characters you select.
In the basic search mode you can use locations to limit the results to individuals
who have also been indexed to a particular place. By leaving individuals and other fields
blank, you can also use this function to locate all documents indexed to a geographic
In the advanced search mode you can limit your results to documents that were indexed
to both of two different locations by using AND. Using OR gives you all the documents indexed
to either of two locations.
Names of plantations and baronies have been indexed as topics, not as locations. Names of tracts
(for example, Welch Tract) have, however, been indexed as locations.
Names of forts are inconsistently indexed as either locations or topics.
The topic (subject) field works in the same way as locations. You can either limit your results for individuals
or locations to documents that have also been indexed to a particular topic or,
by leaving individual and location blank, find all the documents indexed to that
topic. For example, by using the location
CHARLESTON and the topic BLACKS, FREE you can find all the documents indexed to
Charleston that mention African Americans who were not slaves before 1865.
A drop-down bar (list) is provided if you want to limit your search to a particular
kind of document.
It can also be used if you want to see all documents indexed to a particular
kind of document (for example, MANUMISSION). Document types are not
present in the data for some of the records in the index.
Months and days from the drop-down bars do not have to be selected. If you enter only a beginning date, the
results will include all documents after that date. You can limit your search to
a particular year by putting Jan. 1 of that year in the beginning boxes and Dec.
31 of that year in the ending boxes, but the results will in all cases also include
all documents whose date spans include that year.
Checking the box “Use Soundex for Name Search” avoids the problem of
exact spelling matches for personal names but results in less precise results. In
earlier times personal names were often spelled in widely different ways, and record
keepers often spelled names like they sounded. The Soundex system was developed by
the United States Census Bureau to deal with this problem.
Checking the “Use Soundex”
box will automatically convert last names of individuals to the Soundex codes and
then give search results for the Soundex equivalent of that name. For example, there
are only a few documents indexed to the last name TUTTLE.
If you use the Soundex option you will also get documents indexed to Tutle
and Tootle as well as Tidwell, Tidewell, Tedwell, Twadel, and Twaddle.
First names are ignored when using this option.
In the basic search mode the results of the search are sorted chronologically with
undated (no date) items appearing before the earliest dated document. In the advanced
search mode you can choose between a chronological sort or a sequential sort. The latter is arranged the way the documents
themselves in each series are arranged.
Some series are arranged by volume, page, and item while other series are arranged
by microfilm reel number and frame number or by box and folder number.
What Was Indexed Varies
The documents included have not all been indexed to the same depth. Most documents have been indexed to names
of individuals and geographic locations, but topics (subjects) have been used more
selectively. For some record series
only the names of the principal parties to a transaction have been indexed, while
in other series all names mentioned have been included.
Series descriptions that explain exactly how each series was indexed are
linked to the list of series indexed and can be accessed through SERIES DESCRIPTIONS
on the menu.