The staff of the Charleston Archive has created several pathfinders to assist the public in understanding and accessing the materials within the collection. 

Useful Materials for Historic Property Research in the City of Charleston and the Lowcountry

Anyone attempting to trace the history of a specific piece of property in the Charleston area—urban or rural—knows how challenging it can be to simply grasp the wealth of available resources. This document provides an annotated bibliography of materials available in both the South Carolina Room and the Charleston Archive at the Charleston County Public Library that can be useful for such research.

Wards of Charleston, 1783-1960

Searching for people or properties in urban Charleston often requires one to know which ward the person or property was once located. Such researchers can be complicated by the fact that between 1783 and 1960 the ward boundaries changed a number of times. This document provides a chronological summary of the early geographical divisions of the city of Charleston into City Council election districts or “wards.” Note that during these years, the boundaries of the city of Charleston were confined to the peninsula, but since 1960 the old wards have disappeared as the city annexed a great deal of land west of the Ashley River.

Published Ordinances of the City Council of Charleston

Since its incorporation in August 1783, the City of Charleston has ratified a large number of ordinances to regulate the government of the city. Although the texts of these ordinances have not yet been compiled into a single historical publication, this document provides the complete bibliographic information for all known published collections of Charleston ordinances, 1784-1975.

Index of the Images in the Charleston Year Book, 1880-1951 

The City of Charleston Year Books, published annually by the city government, between 1880 and 1851, provide a wealth of information about the yearly progress of the city and its various departments. This document provides a searchable chronological listing of the 300+ images contained in the Year Books, including photographs, engravings, and maps.

Charleston City Council Proceedings on Microfilm, 1821-1980

The minutes of the meetings of Charleston’s City Council can provide excellent historical insight into the evolution of this city, but accessing and navigating through these records can be challenging. This new user’s guide provides a comprehensive list of the extant proceedings of Charleston City Council and attempts to facilitate use these records in both paper and microfilm formats.

The Street Numbers of Peninsular Charleston 

This document provides an overview of the systems used to number the streets of peninsular Charleston throughout its history. It also contains strategies to help researchers translate a “historic” street number into a “modern” address on the Charleston peninsula.