African Ancestry in South Carolina
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  • Guide to African Ancestored Research
  • Genealogical Resources on the Internet



    At the beginning of our genealogical research, we are often only interested in names of who was related to whom and how to find them all. A maturing researcher moves from Census records to vital statistics to wills and tax records. However, there's another step, which is to understand the context of the times, to know the history.

    The purpose of this page is to provide a list of books that provide historical context to the experience of our ancestors. At times the content of the book does not contain relevant information, however, the bibliography of the book will lead you to dozens of books that are relevant. Understanding the history-laws, when slave revolts occurred and the community's response, when epidemics occurred, how manumission laws worked in each state, etc.--can help you avoid looking in the wrong place and wasting many research hours.

    This list is dynamic, and will grow and change as we grow, both in our research knowledge, and as a web site. Please feel free to submit books you have found helpful in your research. The submission should be specific to the history of South Carolina or on how to do genealogical research in South Carolina.


    You may acquire these books [on loan] if you belong to a library that participates in the inter-library loan program. You may have to make special arrangements to get the microform. You may also find some of these books online at ( or Barnes & Noble (


    Source: University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC

    1. "When I Can Read My Title Clear:" Literacy, Slavery, and Religion in the Antebellum South, by Janet D. Cornelius
    2. A New Image of the Slave Auction: An Empirical Look at the Law in Slave Sales and a Conceptual Re-evaluation of Slave Property, by Thomas Russell
    3. After Slavery: The Negro in South Carolina During Reconstruction, 1861-1877, by Joel Williamson
    4. An Ordinance to Provide for the Removal of Negroes and Other Property from Portions of the State which may be Invaded by the Enemy, South Carolina Convention 1860-1862
    5. Before Freedom: 48 Oral Histories of Former North and South Carolina Slaves, edited by Belina Hurmence
    6. Black Slave Owners: Free Black Slave Masters in South Carolina, 1790-1860, by Larry Koger
    7. Born a Child of Freedom, Yet a Slave: Mechanisms of Control and Strategies of Resistance in Antebellum South Carolina, by Norrece T. Jones, Jr.
    8. Control Mechanisms in South Carolina Slave Society, 1800-1865 [microform], by Norrece Thomas Jones, Jr.
    9. Cultivation and Culture: Labor and the Shaping of Slave Life in the Americas, edited by Ira Berlin and Philip D. Morgan
    10. Cultural Diversity at Mid to Late 18th Century Low Country Plantation Slave Settlements, by Ronald W. Anthony
    11. Denmark Vesey's Revolt: The Slave Plot That Lit a Fuse to Fort Sumter, by John Lofton
    12. Designs Against Charleston: The Trial Record of the Denmark Vesey Slave Conspiracy of 1822 (North Carolina Press, 1999)
    13. Down by the Riverside: A South Carolina Slave Community, by Charles Joyner
    14. From Stono to Vesey: Slavery, Resistance, and Ideology in South Carolina, by Edward Anthony Pearson
    15. Gullah Statesman: Robert Smalls from Slavery to Congress, 1839-1915, by Edward Miller
    16. Hidden Americans: Maroons of Virginia and the Carolinas, by Hugo Prosper Leaming
    17. Kinglesy and His Slaves: Anthropological Interpretation and Evaluation, by Karen J. Walker
    18. Laboring Women: Enslaved Women, Reproduction, and Slavery in Barbados and South Carolina [microform], by Jennifer Lyle Morgan
    19. Law Enforcement in a New Nation: Slave Patrols and Public Authority in the Old South, 1700-1865, by Sally E. Hadden
    20. Mastered by the Clock: Time, Slavery, and Freedom in the American South, by Mark Smith
    21. Masters of Small Worlds: Yeoman Households, Gender Relations, and the Political Culture of the Antebellum South Carolina Low Country, by Stephanie McCurry
    22. Masters, Slaves, & Subjects: The Culture of Power in the South Carolina Low Country, 1740-1790, by Robert Olwell
    23. Rice and Slaves: Ethnicity and the Slave Trade in Colonial South Carolina, by Daniel Littlefield
    24. Runway Slave Advertisements: A Documentary History from 1730 to 1790, compiled by Lathan A. Windley
    25. Sale Day in Antebellum South Carolina: Slavery, Law, Economy, and Court Supervised Sales, by Thomas D. Russell
    26. Secret and Sacred: The Diaries of James Henry Hammond, a Southern Slave Holder, edited by Carol Bleser
    27. Servitude and Slavery in Colonial South Carolina, 1670-1776, by John D. Duncan
    28. lave Demography and Family Formation: A Community Study of the Ball Family Plantations, 1720-1896, by Cheryll A. Cody
    29. Slave Missions and the Black Church in the Antebellum South, by Janet D. Conelius
    30. South Carolina's Largest Slave Auctioneering Firm, by Thomas D. Russell
    31. Tales of Congaree, by Edward C. L. Adams
    32. The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography [supplement, series 2], edited by George P. Rawick
    33. The Coming of Christ: The Conversion to Christianity of Slaves in the Antebellum Low County of South Carolina, 1800-1860, by Scott Pennington
    34. The Counter-Revolution of Slavery: Class, Politics and Ideology in Antebellum South Carolina [microform], by Manisha Sinha
    35. The First Nullification: The Negro Seaman Acts Controversy in South Carolina, 1822-1860, by Alan F. January
    36. The Influence of the West Indies Upon Slavery in Colonial South Carolina, 1670-1738, by Thomas James Little
    37. The Many Faces of Slavery, by A.J. Helsley and P. McCawley
    38. The Plantation as a School: The Sea Islands of Georgia and South Carolina, a Test Case 1800-1860, by Anthony G. Albanese
    39. The Quest for Order: Enforcing Slave Codes in Revolutionary South Carolina, 1760-1800, by Larry D. Watson
    40. The Slave Holders' Dilemma: Freedom and Progress in Southern Conservative Thought, 1820-1860, by Eugene D. Genovese
    41. The Slaves Economy: Independent Production by Slaves in the Americas, edited by Ira Berlin and Philip D. Morgan
    42. Them Dark Days: Slavery in the American Rice Swamps, by William Dusinberre
    43. Understanding Slavery: The Lives of Eighteenth Century African Americans, The Chicora Foundation
    44. Unification of a Slave State: The Rise of the Planter Class in South Carolina Backcountry, 1760-1808, by Rachel N. Klein
    45. Voices of Carolina Slave Children, compiled by Nancy Rhyne

    Source: College of William and Mary, Swem Library, Williamsburg, VA

    1. Facts and Opinions Touching the Real Origin, Character and Influence of the American Colonization Society [views and opinions of FPOC]
    2. Free People of Color: Inside the African American community, by James Oliver Horton
    3. No Chariot Let Down: Charleston's Free People of Color on the Eve of the Civil War, edited by M. P. Johnson and J.L. Roark
    4. On Condition of the Free People of Color in the United States. The American Anti-Slavery Society, 1839
    5. The First Annual Report of the American Society for Colonizing Free People of color of the United States [microform]: Proceedings from the January 1818 meeting in Washington, DC
    6. The Free People of Color, by William Jay, and James F. Clarke

    Source: College of William and Mary, Swem Library, Williamsburg, VA

    1. A Guide to Government Records in the South Carolina Archives, by Staff, South Carolina Archives
    2. A History of Marion County, South Carolina. . ., by W.W. Sellers
    3. A History of South Carolina Baptists, by Joe M. King
    4. A History of South Carolina, Ernest M. Lander
    5. A History of the Charleston Association of Baptist Churches in the State of South Carolina [microform], compiled by Wood Furman
    6. A Social History of the Sea Islands, with Special Reference to St. Helena Island, South Carolina, by Guion G. Johnson
    7. Antebellum South Carolina: A Social And Cultural History, by Rosser H. Taylor
    8. Black Carolinians: A History of Blacks in South Carolina from 1895 to 1968, by Idus A. Newby
    9. Centennial History of South Carolina Railroad, by Samuel M. Derrick
    10. Charleston, Crossroads of History: A Story of the South Carolina Low Country, by Isabella G. Leland
    11. Colonial and Revolutionary History of Upper South Carolina [Spartansburg and Greenville], by John Landrum
    12. Colonial South Carolina: A History, by Robert M. Weir
    13. Confederate Military History: A Library of Confederate States History, edited by Clement A. Evans
    14. Conflict and Continuity in Brazilian Society, edited by Henry H. Keith
    15. Discovering Afro-America, edited by Roger d. Abrahams
    16. Documents Relating to Indian Affairs, edited by William L. McDowell, Jr
    17. Ethnic Diversity on the Southern Frontier: A Social History of Purrysburgh, South Carolina, 1732-1792, by Arlin C. Migliazzo
    18. Fifty Lessons in the History of South Carolina, compiled by John Langdon Weber
    19. Greenville: The history of the City and County in the South Carolina Piedmont, by Archie V. Huff, Jr.
    20. Historical Atlas of the Rice Plantations of the Ace River Basin-1860, by Suzanne C. Linder
    21. History and Condition of the Catawba Indians of South Carolina, by Hazel Lewis Scaife
    22. History of the Lawrence Family, Kenan B. Lawrence
    23. History of Williamsburg County, South Carolina by Europeans about 1705 until 1923, by William W. Bodie
    24. Indians of the Southeastern United States in the late 20th Century, edited by J. Anthony Paredes
    25. Journals of the House of Representatives [South Carolina General Assembly], edited by Michael E. Stevens
    26. Perspectives in South Carolina History, the First 300 Years, edited by Ernest M. Lander, Jr
    27. Ravenel Records: A History and Genealogy of the Huguenot Family of Ravenel of South Carolina […account of the parish of St. Johns Berkeley], by Henry E. Ravenel
    28. Shecut's Medical and Philosophical Essays [microform], by J.L.E.W. Shecut (Contains information on the spread of Yellow Fever)
    29. South Carolina Tax Returns 1783-1800 [microform], compiled by South Carolina Archives
    30. South Carolina Begins: The Records of a Proprietary Colony, 1663-1721, by Charles H. Lesser
    31. South Carolina: A Short History, by David D. Wallace
    32. Southern Women: Histories and Identities, edited by Virginia Bernhard
    33. The Bank of the State of South Carolina: A General and Political History, by J. Maudlin Lesesne
    34. The Early History of Southern States: Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia, compiled by Lambert Lilly
    35. The History of Beaufort County, South Carolina, Lawrence Rowland
    36. The History of Georgetown County, South Carolina, by George C. Rogers, Jr.
    37. The History of Newberry County, South Carolina, by Thomas H. Pope
    38. The History of Orangeburg County, South Carolina. . ., by A.S. Salley, Jr
    39. The Papers of John C. Calhoun, by Robert L. Merriwether
    40. The Politics of Culture, edited by Brett Williams
    41. The Promised Land: The History of the South Carolina Land Commission, 1869-1890, by Carol K. Rothrock Bleser
    42. The Spanish Period of Georgia and South Carolina History, 1566-1702, by J.G. Johnson
    43. Whom We Would Never More See: History and Archaeology Recover the Lives and Deaths of African American Civil War Soldiers on Folly Island, South Carolina, by Steven D. Smith

    Disclaimer: Neither Afrigeneas, nor any volunteers associated with Afrigeneas endorse any of these books or the authors. This list was compiled to provide a bibliographic reference for those in search of information specific to South Carolina.

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    Placed online: 26 Sep 1999 | Updated: 27 February 2002
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