Ask a Librarian
Q How do I search the obituary index?
You can search the obituary index by keyword or browse an alphabetical list of all the names. In the "Limit By" drop-down menu select "Obituaries only." Browsing through results will be faster if you select to view up to 100 records at a time. Here is a short video showing how to find an obituary cited in the index in South Carolina Historical Newspapers.
Keyword Search: This will allow you to enter a name in any order and see all records containing all of your search terms. You can sort these results alphabetically by the last name.
Browse Search: To browse the index by last name, click on "Search" and select "Browse." A browse search will display a list of all the names we have in the index starting with the letter or letters you have entered in the search box.
Search Tip 1: If you know the year of death, do a Keyword Search and in the "Search by" menu choose "Any Field." Then, enter a last name and year to get all of the obituaries published that year for that surname.
Search Tip 2: If you are unsure of the spelling, enter a question mark (?) in place of a letter as a wildcard. For example "She?ly" will return Sheely and Shealy.
Search Tip 3: Obituary oddities can occur. It is helpful to be aware of them and search accordingly. For example, the title of the obituary is the name as it appeared in the paper. Many times people are listed only by their initials in their obituaries. 19th and 20th-centruy obituaries are often merely death notices, and African American obituaries rarely were published in the State newspaper prior to the Civil Rights movement.
If you find a citation and would like to view the obituary, you may request that we scan it and send you a copy. An obituary request form is online here, fees may apply. If you have a Richland Library card you may be able to find the obituary yourself in NewsBank, which includes The State newspaper as well as other SC Historical newspapers. If you live in SC you can also access NewsBank with a SC State Library card, available for free for all SC residents.
We hope this index will help you research your family history. If you have questions please call the Local History Department at (803) 929-3402.