Census of 1860, 1870 available free for week
Columbia -- To mark the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, a family research website will allow free online access to its digitized 1860 and 1870 U.S. Census records for a week starting Thursday.
Those are two of the most popular census years for South Carolinians researching family trees, according to Steven Tuttle, director of archives services at the S.C. Department of Archives and History.
The 1860 census is helpful for determining which family members might have served in the Civil War. The 1870 census is the first that detailed many free former slaves.
Ancestry.com routinely puts up various sets of records for free inspection to entice people to pay for access to its extensive archives.
The online records are easier to use than paper records. The archives center has a subscription to ancestry.com and allows patrons to use it on the center's computers, Tuttle said.
But it's even easier to do the searching from the comfort of home whenever you want.
Of course, you'll run into the same problem family history researchers have found for years -- misspelled names. The people writing down census information often spelled names phonetically, and the handwriting sometimes bordered on illegible.