Thursday, March 3, 2016

What does the Chancery Court do for the Genealogist?

In the earliest days of the South Carolina Colony, an English Chancery Court existed in Charleston to help settle the affairs of its people.  This court is quite different from a Court of Equity as it is more casual.  By that I mean, it was like a court of arbitration. The Justice had leeway not to follow the law in every respect.  He took into account a more practical application of contracts and events.   Before  1769, proprietary and crown courts were convened at Charleston. These were known as the General Court and the Grand Council. Later, from 1769 to 1772 a circuit court system was begun.  Meanwhile, records were kept in Judicial districts, although records were still filed in Charleston. After the Revolutionary War brought the ties with Great Britain, records were kept in the various courthouses.  Other than the Chancery, Circuit  and General Sessions Court, when available, all of these cases require extensive reading if one wishes to piece together a comprehensive family history.

In other words, these records are not ones which the genealogist nor historian should ignore.  It is where land and matters of inheritance were recorded.  The probate courts after 1769 filed wills, estates, guardianships, etc.  The old Wills may be found on South Carolina Pioneersarrow Become a Members

Need to know if your ancestors left a will or estate record?  An easy, quick (and free) way to find out is to click on the links below.

County Records of 8 Genealogy Websites

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