After getting frustrated with online trees full of misinformation I decided there had to be a better way to track all of the Carter families of Colleton County, South Carolina. As a general rule I use online trees as a springboard to find clues for the families I research but with these Carter families it is just impossible to do that. Oh and let's not forget that I have learned that there was a lot of inter-marrying with some families. I am still trying to figure out to what degree these relationships are and hoping that my family tree will not collapse!
I should point out that Colleton county records before 1865 are almost nonexistent and it is considered a burned county which makes researching more difficult. Many of the Carter families I am tracking settled in an area known as St Bartholomew's Parish, which was considered to be part of the Charleston District up until the 1800 US census.(1)
There were also plenty of boundary changes for Colleton county as well. Another thing I have to consider is that prior to 1785 all records were filed in Charleston (Charles Town). Colleton is surrounded by the following counties: Bamberg, Barnwell, Beaufort, Charleston, Dorchester, Hampton and Orangeburg. The last of the boundry changes for Colleton came about in 1897 with the additions of Bamberg and Dorchester counties. Many of these families stayed in Colleton for many generations while others branched out to the surronding counties.(2)
I decided the best way to conduct my research for the Carter family was to use the Friends, Associates & Neighbors (F.A.N) Principle by Elizabeth Shown Mills.(3) I am using the F.A.N Principle to identify each Carter family from census records (1850-1880) who were born, lived in and died in Colleton county. I am following each generation to identify parents, spouses, siblings and children. I am using delayed birth certificates, and death records (including certificates, obituaries and Find-A-Grave) and newspaper announcements to help me with identifying family members.
I began my research with census records from 1790-1880. In order to keep my findings manageable I used Google Spreadsheets. I searched each census year page by page for Carter families. I decided that keeping the census records all in one spreadsheet was more efficient and added a sheet for each census year. For the census information I have included a transcription of all the information.
Figure 1, Carter Census Information Colleton county, South Carolina, census year 1850. Example for Nash Carter (4) and J. Wilson Carter (5).
After recording all census information I began making family group sheets for census years 1850-1880. Of course, indiviual family members were not listed until the census for 1850 and the relationships between family members was not listed until 1880. This is where good old fashion genealogy work comes in! I downloaded the family group record sheet from Ancestry and printed out the blank forms in groups of 25 and I have filled out about 150 so far. This part of my project has been the most time consuming thus far. However, I feel that I have come to know these families a little better. Unfortunately, I still have a few widows with the surname of Carter and I am still trying to determine who their spouses were and what there maiden names might be. Patience is my friend!
Below is the family record group sheet for my 2nd great grandparents, John Coker and Harriet (Linder) Carter.
After completing all of the family record group sheets for census years, 1850-1880, I went to the "South Carolina Delayed Birth Records, 1766-1900". South Carolina did not require statewide birth and death registrations until 1915 and general complaince did not happen until 1918 and statewide marriage registrations began in 1911. I have been combing through delayed birth records, death certificates and obituaries.(4) I then used "South Carolina Death Certificates, 1915-1965. Both of these record collections are available online at FamilySearch and at Ancestry. I also turned to GenealogyBank, and Find A Grave to help me find older obituaries and help me to identify family members as well, especially the children. South Carolina did not require statewide birth and death registrations until 1915 and general complaince did not happen until 1918 and statewide marriage registrations began in 1911. I have been combing through delayed birth records, death certificates and obituaries.(6)
Figures 2, 3 and 4 are samples of my research logs by record group.
Figure 2, Carter-Delayed Birth Certificates for Colleton county, South Carolina. This example is for my great grandfather, Postell Samuel Carter. (7)
Figure 3, Carter-Genealogybank Obituaries for Colleton county, South Carolina. Includes Carter family members who died elswhere but were buried in Colleton county. This is example is for my 2nd great uncle, Abraham/Abram "Burrell" Carter. (8)
Figure 4, Carter-Find A Grave for Colleton county, South Carolina. This example is for my 2nd great uncle, Benjamin Coker Carter (9) and his wife, Florence (Johns) Carter (10).
1. FamilySearch Wiki contributors, "Colleton County, South Carolina Genealogy," FamilySearch Wiki (https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Colleton_County,_South_Carolina_Genealogy : accessed 1 November 2017).
3. Elizabeth Shown Mills, "Quick Lesson 11: Identity Problems & the FAN Principle," Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis & Source Usage (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/quicklesson-11-identity-problems-fan-principle : accessed 1 November 2017).
4. "1850 U.S. census, Colleton District, South Carolina," population schedule, St Bartholomew's Parish, p.187(stamped), dwelling 62, family 62, Nash Carter household; image, FamilySearch.org (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-686Q-BHP?i=8&cc=1401638 : accessed 21 September 2017); citing National Archives microfilm publication M432, roll 851.
5. "1850 U.S. census, Colleton District, South Carolina," population schedule, St Bartholomew's Parish, p. 187, dwelling 63, family 63, J. Wilson Carter household; image, FamilySearch.org (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-686Q-BHP?i=8&cc=1401638 : accessed 21 September 2017); citing National Archives microfilm publication M432, roll 852.
6. FamilySearch Wiki contributors, "South Carolina Vital Records," FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/South_Carolina_Vital_Records : accessed 1 November 2017).
7. "South Carolina, Delayed Birth Certificates, 1766-1900," database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS9H-77WZ-Z?i=1488&cc=2512859 : 17 November 2017), certificate image, entry for Postell Samuel Carter, 22 June 1890, Colleton County, certificate no. 12-1235; citing South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia.
8. "A. B. Carter of Ritter - Dead," death and funeral notice, Evening Post (Charleston, South Carolina), 29 December 1925, p. 3, col. 1-2; database with images, GenealogyBank (www.genealogybank.com : 17 November 2017), Newspaper Archives, 1690-2010; subscription to database required.
9. Find A Grave, Find A Grave, database with images, (www.findagrave.com : accessed 17 September 2017), memorial page 7294522, Benjamin Coker Carter (1850-1912), created by "Kim & Dana Grisson," submitted on 27 March 2003; citing Ebenezer United Methodist Church Cemetery, Walterboro, Colleton, South Carolina, USA.
10. Find A Grave, Find A Grave, database, (www.findagrave.com : accessed on 17 September 2017), memorial page 7294530, Florence Johns Carter (1850-1911), created by "Kim & Dana Grisson," submitted on 27 March 2003; citing Ebenezer United Methodist Church Cemetery, Walterboro, Colleton, South Carolina, USA.