The South Carolina Historical Society, one of the richest archives for Lowcountry genealogy research, has placed their finding aids online.

Planning a research trip to Charleston? Be sure to bookmark the South Carolina Historical Society’s Finding Aids page so you can identify records to view and hit the ground running when you arrive!

What Are Finding Aids? How Can They Help Your Research?

Finding aids are detailed inventories of documentary collections, prepared by archivists. While an archive’s catalog will give you an overview of a particular collection, finding aids take you much deeper into the collection and help you identify which portions of a collection may be most useful for your research.

Online Finding Aids Can Help You Prepare for Your Research Trip and Save You Valuable Time on the Ground

If you know in advance which boxes and folders you want to view from a given collection, you can make the most of your research time when you arrive.

Let’s look at an example from the first batch of online finding aids for the South Carolina Historical Society. The Ball Family Papers are one of the richest collections of plantation records among the South Carolina Historical Society’s holdings. If we look at the description of the Ball Family Papers in SCHS’s online catalog, we see the following summary:


Now let’s look at a portion of the finding aid for the Ball Family Papers. Here we see much more detail:



Make the Most of Your Research Time in Charleston

Research hint ~ When the South Carolina Historical Society closes in the late afternoon, you can head over to the South Carolina Room and the Charleston Archive at the Charleston Public Library, less than 5 minutes away, and extend your research time into the evening.

The South Carolina Room and the Charleston Archive have finding aids online as well, so you can really plan ahead!

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