- The South Carolina Department of Archives and History holds the original records and has provided access to them and given their kind permission to place them on the Internet
- FamilySearch International donated the copies of the microfilms to be digitized
- Footnote.com contributed the time and expense to digitize the films and host the collection
- We in the research community, for our part, can index the records to make them fully searchable.
They have never been indexed.
Each ledger that was microfilmed had index pages, which listed only the name of the person whose estate was inventoried. There are tens of thousands of names in these records that have never been indexed anywhere, including the names of more than 30,000 enslaved ancestors.
This is the entire run of surviving estate inventories for Colonial South Carolina (which encompassed all Districts in the state) and Charleston, South Carolina, for the years 1732-1872. If ever an enslaved ancestor was listed in a surviving estate inventory in Charleston, the record is right here in this free Footnote Collection.
There are not only inventories of estates in the collection, but also records of sales of estates. These documents recreate the paper trail for generations of enslaved families in South Carolina.
Volunteer Aaron discovered a record of 1,648 slaves in the estate of Nathaniel Heyward. The single index entry for this document reads "Heyward, Nathaniel." Aaron volunteered to index 10 pages and made this remarkable discovery.
Our volunteers are rediscovering the paper trail for the African American history of Charleston, but anyone with South Carolina ancestry may also find documents in this collection to further their family research.
Records for the years 1839-1864 are already posted on Footnote.com and can be browsed, to see instructions for browsing the collection, please click here.