About the South Carolina Genealogical Society

About the South Carolina Genealogical Society The South Carolina Genealogical Society, Inc. is a non-profit corporation and enjoys 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Donations of cash, library materials, or other contributions may qualify as charitable contributions. The South Carolina Genealogical Society is also chartered by the State of South Carolina as a Non-Profit Corporation duly organized under the laws of the state of South Carolina. Our ancestors were instrumental in shaping our state and nation. The records left by them are the basis of our “Great Heritage”. History does not stand still, and we now find ourselves the producers of history and the keepers of our records. The records that we compile will be the heritage of future generations. 


The South Carolina Genealogical Society was organized on January 7, 1971. It was fitting that the Society was formed during the Tri-centennial Celebration of our state.

However, the seeds that eventually grew into its foundation were sown on March 19, 1970.

“Are you interested in an organization of amateur genealogists in Columbia to assist in research”? read the photostat notice mailed out to some Columbia area people who were involved in or interested in genealogical work. And apparently there was an interest, although not of the magnitude to be overwhelming. The meeting was called by Lawrence R. Fanning, who was instrumental in laying much of the groundwork on which the Society was eventually established.

The small group of “founders” who met in March in the Columbia College Library in Columbia heard Mr. Leon S. Hollingsworth of Decatur, Georgia, a certified genealogist of some renown, discuss some of the things involved in organizing a genealogical society.

The first organizational meeting led to a second such gathering. This time the meeting was held in the conference room of the Richland Count public Library in Columbia on October 6, 1970. The small group, containing a few curious new faces, met informally and having concluded that a genealogical society should be formed, moved toward bringing the idea to reality. No program had been planned for the night and so the needs and functions such a society could fulfill were discussed. Lawrence Fanning, having been appointed temporary chairman for the founding group, appointed a nominating committee of five to choose officers. The group adjourned with the understanding that a meeting would be held within the month for the purpose of installing officers.

What became known as the third organizational meeting was held on October 27, 1970. The nominating committee’s slate of officers, consisting of a president, vice president, a treasurer, a secretary, and three board members, were presented to the group and duly elected.

The name “South Carolina” was affixed to the title of the group after it and “Palmetto” was offered for consideration.

Arrangements to find a suitable central meeting place was made and a committee was appointed to draw up by-laws to govern the Society. It was noted that a charter could not be obtained until such rules were adopted.

The November 15 meeting was held for just that purpose- working out a set of by-laws to govern the Society’s activities and to maintain it as a body which would function as intended. The by-laws committee’s proposal was submitted, and, with adjustments, a workable set of by-laws were adopted. (Some amendments have been made since the original set was adopted.)

The Society held its first official meeting on January 12, 1971. By doing so, it culminated the dream of those who worked to establish the first genealogical society in South Carolina history.

In 1974 the Society was petitioned from groups in four cities requesting admission to the Society as Chapters: Columbia, Greenville, Sumter and Charleston. Revisions to the by-laws were made to allow local chapters of the SCGS.

A constitution governing the Society was adopted in 1976.

Thus, embarked the organization dedicated “to raise the standards of genealogical research over the state….to constitute a supplementary group for the South Carolina Department of Archives and History….and….to promote the collection and preservation of the early records of the Colony and State of South Carolina.

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