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The Daily Genealogist Spotlight: South Carolina Resources

(Spotlight) Permanent link
Valerie Beaudrault

Valerie Beaudrault
Assistant Editor

Lexington County Probate Court Records, South Carolina

Lexington County is located in central South Carolina. The town of Lexington is its county seat. The Lexington County Probate Court has made estate and marriage license databases available on its website. To access the databases click on the links at the end of the page. 

Estate (1865 – 1994) and Marriage Indexes (1911 – 1987)
The indexes in this section have been scanned from the original paper indexes and uploaded to the site as PDF files. Estate records indexes are organized alphabetically and separated by year. Data fields in the estate records include date, name of deceased, executor or administrator, box, parcel, will book and page number. Marriage license records are organized alphabetically by bride’s surname or groom’s surname, and separated by year. Data fields in the index include license number, name and residence of man, name and residence of woman, their ages, race, date of application / license, date of marriage, by whom married and where, and comments.

The probate court has added two databases indexing more recent records. One indexes estate records from 1995 through the present. Data fields for the estate records are case number, case type, decedent's name, date of birth, date of death, date opened, case status, and Personal Representative & Attorney Information. The last field is a "view" button -- click to learn the names of the personal representative and attorney on the case. The other database is a marriage license index from 1986 through the present, which can be searched by bride or groom. Data fields for this index are license number, bride's name, groom's name, issue date, and marriage date.

Death Indexes, Spartanburg County Public Library, South Carolina – Update from 2006

Spartanburg, located in northwestern South Carolina, is the county seat of Spartanburg County. The Spartanburg County Public Library has made a number of obituary and death indexes available on its website.

Each index is formatted alphabetically; many are grouped by year. They include the name of the deceased as it appeared in the obituary, age, place of death or residence, name of spouse, and date and page on which the obituary appeared. Obituaries for individuals with clear local connections only have been included in the index. Search by keyword, name, or place of death, or browse alphabetical lists. Copies of obituaries can be ordered from the library for a small fee.

The databases are:

Spartanburg Herald and Herald-Journal Death Index – 1920 – 1922 and 1930 – 2011
This database indexes obituaries and death notices found in the above named newspapers. Indexing for the period from 1923 – 1929 is in progress.

Spartanburg Herald / Herald Journal Death Index – 1902 – 1919
The primary source for this obituary and death notice index is the Spartanburg Herald, with additional information from the Spartanburg Journal or the Spartanburg Weekly Herald. There are gaps in this database.

Carolina Spartan / Spartanburg Herald Death Index – roughly 1849 - 1893
These indexes contain obituaries from the Carolina Spartan and Spartanburg Herald newspapers. There are gaps throughout and the following years are missing: 1852, 1865, and 1877-78. The date in the record is the publication date of the death notice.

Register of Deaths of Spartanburg, South Carolina
This alphabetical index was compiled from the Register of Deaths of Spartanburg, an early attempt by the city to record deaths. These records span October 1, 1895, through October 21, 1897, and August 3,1903, through December 31, 1915. The index contains death records for residents of the city of Spartanburg only. Data fields include name of the deceased, sex, race, cause of death and date of death.

Miscellaneous Death Index
This death index is drawn from more than a half-dozen Spartanburg newspapers. It ranges from 1844 into the early 1900s; however, there are large time gaps in this database.

The Daily Genealogist: New York Probate Records

(A Note from the Editor) Permanent link
Lynn Betlock

Lynn Betlock

NEHGS member Denise Crawford of Mesa, Arizona, recently wrote to a staff person here at NEHGS with an enthusiastic endorsement of a new set of online records: “I have just spent the last five hours having an absolutely wonderful time finding wills and probate records in St. Lawrence and Wayne Counties for my families in the New York, Probate Records, 1629–1971, collection on Maybe you can get the word out that these records are online now so that folks aren't spending a fortune trying to get them from the counties.”

I’m happy to publicize this collection, which debuted on FamilySearch on January 25, 2012. Genealogists researching New York ancestors will indeed be thrilled to find this material online.

Forty-five out of New York’s sixty-two counties are represented. (Counties south of Delaware, Albany, and Rensselaer are excluded, as is Schoharie.) The collection is browsable, but has not been indexed and is not searchable. The content and year range of the probate records vary by county; for some counties there may be a general index to probate, for others there may be an index to wills only. Most records end in the 1920s with some indexes continuing to 1971.

New York researchers should be aware of other important probate record sources.

An extremely useful database (available to NEHGS members), covering 52 counties, is Abstracts of Wills, Administrations and Guardianships in N.Y. State, 1787–1835 on This database was created by William Applebie Daniel Eardeley, and the original materials are part of the Brooklyn Historical Society's manuscript collection. Eardeley abstracted original estate proceedings, and indexed all the names in his abstracts, i.e. those of the decedents, executors, administrators, petitioners, guardians, witnesses, named beneficiaries and minor children. (Eardeley did not abstract Kings County, so instead, records abstracted by DeWitt Van Buren in Abstracts of Wills of Kings County Recorded at Brooklyn, N. Y., are included.)

New York State Probate Records: A Genealogist’s Guide to Testate and Intestate Records (NEHGS, 2011) by Gordon L. Remington offers detailed background on these complicated records, as well as maps and county-by-county summary pages which list published and online indexes.

While the addition of the collection on FamilySearch means many more New York probate records are available online, many sources still remain available only in print or on microfilm. For instance, of the forty-five counties, probate petitions for twenty of them are on film at the Family History Library. However, none of these petitions seem to be included in the FamilySearch collection.

Happy hunting in New York probate records!

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