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South Carolina Archives
Series Description

Memorial Books, 1731-1778


CALL NUMBER:        S 111001

CREATOR: Auditor General.

TITLE: Memorial books

DATE: 1731-1778

VOLUME: 41.00 volumes and 0.66 cubic ft.

ARRANGEMENT: Series arranged in two subseries (original volumes and copies) and thereunder by volume number. Each subseries is arranged in rough chronological order.

RESTRICTIONS ON ACCESS: The microcopy is served to researchers in lieu of the original or transcript volumes.

BIOGRAPHICAL/HISTORICAL NOTE: After South Carolina was purchased from the Lords Proprietors and became a royal colony in 1729, the crown had legislation enacted to help facilitate the collection of quitrents. The Quitrent Act of 1731 required the registration of land grants issued during the proprietary period so as to validate the grants and establish an effective system to collect the rent (quitrents) due on the land. Later legislation provided for the registration of royal grants. The landholder was to present to the Auditor General or his Deputy documented evidence of the land title, including the amount of quitrent, but because not all grants were registered and the crown never established a successful mechanism to enforce the law, the payment of quitrents basically remained voluntary.

The system of quitrents and the Auditor General's records end in the mid-1770s with the impending collapse of the royal government.

SUMMARY SCOPE NOTE: This series consists of the registrations of land titles which were authorized by the Quitrent Act of 1731 to serve a dual purpose: 1) validating land grants made by the Lords Proprietors, and 2) establishing a more efficient system of collecting quitrents. The documentation provided by the landowner to the Auditor General's office could be either recorded in full or in an abstract, called a "memorial." The full recordings are contained in volumes 1, 2, and 3 of the original series and volumes 1, the first 251 pages of volume 2, and volume 4 of the copy series. Eventually both forms became known as memorials.

Most of the documents are exact copies or abstracts of grants, but also included are plats and certificates of survey, deeds of gift, leases and releases, renunciations of dower, and wills. The copies of plats from the proprietary period are particularly valuable because few other plats from that period survive. Information contained in the original volumes and a copy set of the volumes completed in 1821 includes names of the memorialist, persons associated with the title, surrounding landowners, and surveyors; descriptions of the property; and dates of recording. The last portion of volume 14 of the copy series also includes certificates for town lots in Beaufort registered by the Surveyor General between 1743 and 1774 for the purpose of enforcing an act of 1740 that required the collection of fines on unimproved lots in Beaufort.

INDEX/FINDING AID: All personal names of owners in the chain of title and all surrounding landholders, as well as all geographic locations and features in the documents, are included in the repository's On-line Combined Index to Multiple Record Series, 1675-1929. Plantation names and names of baronies were indexed as topics rather than as geographic locations.  These index terms are also included in the Combined Alphabetical Index produced by the repository on computer output microfilm (COM) in 1991, and in a separate five-reel computer output microfilm index produced by the repository in 1980. The numeric code 0030 002 was used to designate this series in the computer output microfilm indexes. The names of surveyors on plats and witnesses to documents were not indexed.

A detailed explanation of the series and the computer output microfilm index can be found in the introductory pamphlet to Microcopy Number 12, Memorials of Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century South Carolina Land Titles, published by this repository in 1984. This pamphlet mistakenly says that the names of surveyors were indexed.  Nineteenth century indexes to both the original volumes and the 1821 copies are also held by the repository.

ADDITIONAL FORM: The 1821 copy set of these volumes and the five-reel computer output microfilm index to them are available in the repository's Microcopy Number 12, Memorials of Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Land Titles. The 1821 copy set, its nineteenth century manuscript index, and a volume index for volume 5 of the original volumes were also filmed earlier in 1950 by the Genealogical Society of Utah.

GENERAL NOTE: Some of the original volumes are severely damaged
by mold; a number of the original volumes are boxed.

HIERARCHICAL NOTE: Forms part of the records of the Auditor General.