South Carolina Tax Records

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This entry was originally written by Johni Cerny and Gareth L. Mark for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
the South Carolina Family History Research series.
History of South Carolina
South Carolina Vital Records
Census Records for South Carolina
Background Sources for South Carolina
South Carolina Maps
South Carolina Land Records
South Carolina Probate Records
South Carolina Court Records
South Carolina Tax Records
South Carolina Cemetery Records
South Carolina Church Records
South Carolina Military Records
South Carolina Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
South Carolina Archives, Libraries, and Societies
South Carolina Immigration
African Americans of South Carolina
South Carolina County/District Resources
Map of South Carolina

With the exception of a single tax list from 1733 and occasional lists of tax collectors, no colonial tax records of South Carolina have survived. Parishes and townships functioned as tax districts until 1800; circuit court districts and their counties also functioned as tax districts from 1785 to 1800. The known tax lists (1783–99) are as follows: Christ Church Parish (1784, 1786, 1788, 1793–99); Prince Frederick’s Parish (1784, 1786); Prince George’s Parish (1786–87); Prince William’s Parish (1798); St. Andrew’s Parish (1784–85, 1787, 1789, 1791, 1795); St. Bartholomew’s Parish (1783–87, 1798); St. Helena’s Parish (1798); St. James Goose Creek (1796); St. John’s Berkeley Parish (1793); St. Luke’s Parish (1798–99); St. Paul’s Parish (1783, 1785–96, 1798–99); Ninety-Six District (1787); Orangeburgh District (1787); Lancaster County in Camden District (1797); and Lexington County in Orangeburgh District (1788). Many of these tax lists are incomplete. They are located at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.

Most districts/counties have some tax records dating from 1800 to the present, with the majority of tax records dating from 1865. A fairly complete series from 1824, mostly of the Low Country districts, is available at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History and is indexed in the Combined Alphabetical Index (see Background Sources for South Carolina). The South Carolina Department of Archives and History has originals of most extant tax lists, and microfilmed copies of county tax records are available at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History and the The Family History Library (FHL).

The best available substitutes for colonial tax lists are jury lists. The jury lists include men eligible to serve on juries and were compiled from tax lists. See Mary Bondurant Warren, comp., South Carolina Jury Lists, 1718–1783 (Danielsville, Ga.: Heritage Papers, 1977). Ge Lee Corley Hendrix and Morn McKoy Lindsay, comps., The Jury Lists of South Carolina, 1778–1779 (1975; reprint, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1980) is accepted as proof of the identity of Revolutionary War patriots.

Voter registration lists, 1867, 1868, and 1898 are another valuable substitute for tax records. The lists from 1867 and 1868 are particularly useful for African American research because the newly freed slaves registered to vote; many African Americans make their first appearance in the voter registration lists. Although voter registration was conducted by counties, the originals of the 1867, 1868, and 1898 lists are at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History; counties maintained copies for their records.

Directories for the city of Charleston date from 1782. These directories may help locate a Charleston ancestor who does not appear in other records. They are housed at the Charleston Library Society.

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