History & Genealogy

The Historical Collection located within the Captain Kimberly Hampton Memorial Library in Easley, SC has limited staff available to respond to requests for information.  We provide patrons with limited assistance if the information being sought is easily accessible in a timely manner.  Please provide as much specific information for each request or question.  For example, if you are requesting an obituary look-up from our microfilm collection, please provide the month and year, as well as the deceased’s name, so we can fill your request.  Due to limited staffing for this collection, it may take up to 72 business hours (Monday through Friday) for staff to respond to your request.  Questions are answered on a first-come, first-served basis as time permits and lengthy requests which require in-depth research cannot be filled.

Additionally, the books and materials considered part of the historical collection are not available for checkout or for interlibrary loan, however Pickens County Library system may own a duplicate item that is part of our adult non-fiction or reference collection.

If you need assistance getting your research started, please request a Book a Historian appointment.

Call Us: (864) 850-7077 ext. 102
Email Us: history@pcls.fyi


  • Easley Progress – 1902-1906 and 1921-December 2016
  • Greenville News – 1985-1991
  • Keowee Courier – May 18, 1849-Dec 28, 1882; January 1922 April 2016
  • Liberty Monitor – 1978-July 2000
  • Miller’s Weekly Messenger (Also known as Pendleton Messenger) – March 1807-December 1808, February 1810-January 1811, May 1813- February 1814
  • Messenger (now The Journal) – 1954-June 2014
  • Pendleton Messenger – December 2, 1829-September 18,1851
  • People’s Journal – January 4, 1894-April 9, 1903
  • Pickens County Courier – 2007-December 2016
  • Pickens Sentinel  – 1873-November 2016
    (Missing issues for September 13, 1894-April 23, 1903)
  • Sentinel-Progress– December 7, 2016- April 28, 2018
  • SC Death Certificates from 1915-1971 (Microfilm index available for 1915-1949)


  • Church Histories – 200-289
  • Genealogy How-To Books – 929-929.1
  • Local Family Histories – 929.2
  • Indexes and abstracts of Genealogical records of SC State and Local Histories – 929.3-929.4
  • Cemetery Surveys for most Upstate Counties – 929.5
  • Revolutionary War Records – 973.3
  • Pickens County history – 975.7
  • Biographies of South Carolinians

Historical Photos

  1. Begin by filling out a pedigree chart. This will help you to sort out : what you know, what you need to verify, and where to start your research. When filling out the chart use the maiden name of your female relatives. Also focus your efforts on one line of ancestors rather than working on several at once. Be sure to organize and cite the information you have gathered for this line.
  2. After filling out the pedigree chart is is now time to begin your research. Begin with interviewing family members, and record what they recall about their families. Investigate family bibles, records, scrapbooks or diaries. While conducting this preliminary research be sure to organize and cite your resources.
  3. When you have done all you can with the dates and names provided from step two, then it is time to move on to the library or archive. Identify libraries, archives, or county agencies in the area(s) where your ancestors lived. Look for sources, especially primary sources, which can assist you in discovering more information about your ancestors.
  4. Keep in mind that counties have divided, combined, and dissolved since the time of your ancestors. For instance, Pickens County was originally part of the Ninety-Six District, then the Washington District, and later on became the Pendleton District. This was later divided into the Pickens District, and finally formed into the present day Pickens County. Therefore, some of your family’s records could be in the counties of Anderson, Pickens, and Oconee.
  5. When visiting a library of archive remember the following: have a designated notebook to place your information in along with paper and pencils. Bring a list of questions you want to answer, and a works cited page of the information you have. Take notes on all of your leads. Record the author, title, volume, page number, or call number of any resource you find.
  6. Cite and organize all of your sources. Taking time to cite your sources at the beginning will prevent heartache and frustration later on.

A Brief History of Pickens County

Pickens County originally belonged to the Cherokee Indians. With the defeat of the British, with whom the Indians sided during the Revolution the Cherokee surrendered all lands. In 1791 Pickens County was a part of the Washington District. The district split in 1798 into the Greenville District and the Pendleton District. In 1826 the Pendleton District split into Anderson and Pickens Districts. Finally, in 1868, the existing Pickens District split into Pickens and Oconee Counties and Districts were renamed Counties. In 1968 a portion of Oconee County, which included Clemson University was annexed to Pickens County. The County proudly displays the name of the Revolutionary War hero, General Andrew Pickens.

Marriage / Death / Birth Records

Marriage Records: South Carolina began keeping marriage records in 1950. Marriage records prior to 1950 can be found at the probate judge’s office in the county where the marriage took place. In Pickens County, marriage records in the probate judge’s office date back to July 1, 1911.

Death Records: No official death records were kept in South Carolina until 1915. Three cities within the state kept death records of their own prior to 1915: Charleston 1821-1914, Spartanburg 1895-1897,1903-1914, and Union 1900-1914. South Carolina prohibits public access to death records for 50 years after the death. The Pickens County Library System has South Carolina death certificates from 1915 to 1968 on microfilm.

Birth Records: South Carolina did not require birth records until 1915. The city of Charleston was the only city within the state to keep birth certificates prior to 1915. The years of Charleston’s birth certificates range from 1877-1902. See the links below for more information on birth records.

Probate Records: Wills from 1828 and later in Pickens County are located at the probate judge’s office.

Links for additional information:

Marriage Records

Death Records and Death Indexes

Birth Records and Birth Indexes for 1915-1917

Birth Certificates After 1917

To find the website of the Probate Court (if any) for each county