South Carolina Archives
Memorial Books, 1731-1778
CREATOR: Auditor General.
TITLE: Memorial books
VOLUME: 41.00 volumes and 0.66 cubic ft.
ARRANGEMENT: Series arranged in two subseries (original volumes and
copies) and thereunder by volume number. Each subseries is arranged in rough
RESTRICTIONS ON ACCESS: The microcopy is served to researchers in lieu of
the original or transcript volumes.
BIOGRAPHICAL/HISTORICAL NOTE: After South Carolina was purchased from the
Lords Proprietors and became a royal colony in 1729, the crown had legislation
enacted to help facilitate the collection of quitrents. The Quitrent Act of 1731
required the registration of land grants issued during the proprietary period so
as to validate the grants and establish an effective system to collect the rent
(quitrents) due on the land. Later legislation provided for the registration of
royal grants. The landholder was to present to the Auditor General or his Deputy
documented evidence of the land title, including the amount of quitrent, but
because not all grants were registered and the crown never established a
successful mechanism to enforce the law, the payment of quitrents basically
The system of quitrents and the Auditor General's records end in the mid-1770s
with the impending collapse of the royal government.
SUMMARY SCOPE NOTE: This series consists of the registrations of land
titles which were authorized by the Quitrent Act of 1731 to serve a dual
purpose: 1) validating land grants made by the Lords Proprietors, and 2)
establishing a more efficient system of collecting quitrents. The documentation
provided by the landowner to the Auditor General's office could be either
recorded in full or in an abstract, called a "memorial." The full recordings are
contained in volumes 1, 2, and 3 of the original series and volumes 1, the first
251 pages of volume 2, and volume 4 of the copy series. Eventually both
forms became known as memorials.
Most of the documents are exact copies or abstracts of grants, but also included
are plats and certificates of survey, deeds of gift, leases and releases,
renunciations of dower, and wills. The copies of plats from the proprietary
period are particularly valuable because few other plats from that period
survive. Information contained in the original volumes and a copy set of the
volumes completed in 1821 includes names of the memorialist, persons associated
with the title, surrounding landowners, and surveyors; descriptions of the
property; and dates of recording. The last portion of volume 14 of the copy
series also includes certificates for town lots in Beaufort registered by the
Surveyor General between 1743 and 1774 for the purpose of enforcing an act of
1740 that required the collection of fines on unimproved lots in Beaufort.
INDEX/FINDING AID: All personal names of owners in the chain of title and all
surrounding landholders, as well as all geographic locations and features in the
documents, are included in the repository's On-line Combined Index to Multiple
Record Series, 1675-1929. Plantation names and names of baronies were indexed as
topics rather than as geographic locations. These index terms are also included in the Combined Alphabetical
Index produced by the repository on computer output microfilm (COM) in 1991, and in a
separate five-reel computer output microfilm index produced by the repository in
1980. The numeric code 0030 002 was used to designate this series in the
computer output microfilm indexes. The names of surveyors on plats and witnesses
to documents were not indexed.
A detailed explanation of the series and the computer output microfilm index can
be found in the introductory pamphlet to Microcopy Number 12, Memorials of
Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century South Carolina Land Titles, published by
this repository in 1984. This pamphlet mistakenly says that the names of
surveyors were indexed. Nineteenth century indexes to both the original
volumes and the 1821 copies are also held by the repository.
ADDITIONAL FORM: The 1821 copy set of these volumes and the five-reel
computer output microfilm index to them are available in the repository's
Microcopy Number 12, Memorials of Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Land
Titles. The 1821 copy set, its nineteenth century manuscript index, and a
volume index for volume 5 of the original volumes were also filmed earlier in
1950 by the Genealogical Society of Utah.
GENERAL NOTE: Some of the original volumes are severely damaged
by mold; a number of the original volumes are boxed.
HIERARCHICAL NOTE: Forms part of the records of the Auditor General.