We haven’t talked about the Richland Library obituary index in a while and, recently, we have added some interesting features.
The main bulk of the million record+ index is still, of course, The State newspaper obituaries and death notices, indexed from 1891 to 2013. However, since we are always seeking job security we have expanded our indexing to include marriage records for earlier newspapers. These newspapers all published statewide information.
The Columbia Daily Union was a reconstruction republican newspaper in Columbia, SC. It published from January 1, 1872 – July 31, 1877. Republican newspapers advocated for equal rights among the races and favored the reconstruction government. They published white and black marriages and obituaries. Before you get too excited remember that these nineteenth century notices give very limited information and only notices for elite society were published, your sharecropper ancestors will not be in these records. The marriage notices generally provided the maiden name of the woman. The death notices don’t provide much more than a date of death. For African American researchers this will still be a rich resource. For example, 244 obituaries were indexed for the 1873 Columbia Daily Union, 41 were African Americans. We have indexed through 1874.
The Columbia Daily Register is another Columbia, SC nineteenth century newspaper that we are indexing. While it is not a republican publication it does provide marriages and obituaries for African Americans, as well as, whites. For example, in 1882, 131 obits indexed out of 968 were African American. We also indexed marriages for this publication which published from July 28, 1875-December 3, 1898. We have completed through 1894.
The Palmetto Leader was Columbia, SC’s early twentieth century black newspaper and it published from 1925-1965ish. Microfilm exists for issues between 1925 and 1957 with a lot of big gaps like the WWII years which are completely gone. However, it does provide lots of vital statistic information including births, marriages and deaths. We have indexed all of them from about 1930-1957. 1925-1929 has been indexed for deaths only but we will go back at some point and grab marriages and births. The information is generally very limited but still could be a valuable resource.
The Southern Indicator is an earlier black newspaper and is digitized on Chronicling America. In fact, all microfilmed SC black newspaper publications prior to 1923 have been digitized on Chronicling America. However, as we discovered, the republican newspapers can also be a valuable resource for black researchers. Very few of those have been digitized.
Remember this is an index only. It makes librarians very cranky when we are asked where the full-text is when it is clearly labeled an index. We provide free scans of records to Richland Library card holders because they pay our bills. There is a small fee for non- library card users.
Searching works best with last name first. There is a browse feature under the search tab for alphabetically listings. If you would like to search a name by year you can search by: any field and limit by: obituaries only then type in a name and year like this shealy 1880.