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A Deed Documents Father and Daughter

Robin Foster
by Robin Foster
Robin Foster is looking at a deed between Lillie Vance and Robert Lee Vance (1858 - ).
Robin Foster is looking at a deed between Lillie Vance and Robert Lee Vance (1858 – ). Photo taken by Ellis McClure on July 11, 2019.

Last week I shared, “How Using a Timeline Can Help You in Your Research.”  I used the census and city directories to make out a timeline for Robert Lee Vance (1858 – ). He was born in Abbeville County, SC. After the death of his father, he moved his family first to Citrus County, FL and then to Columbia, SC. I wanted next to reveal more about his life in Columbia, SC.

How would you find out more about the life of a family member? Well if you are using a timeline, you would select a date that is not documented or that you would like to learn more about. Look for your family member in an historical record to see if he or she is mentioned. I decided to look for Robert Lee Vance (1858 – ) between 1903 and 1926 among the deeds in Richland County, SC. 

I went to the Register of Deeds at 1701 Main Street in Columbia, SC 29201 to look for a deed on Robert Lee Vance. I cannot tell you how excited I was to find that a deed existed. Lillie Vance, who was the daughter of Robert Lee Vance, had sold 1724 Pulaski Street to her father for $5.00 on the 22nd of December 1926.

Deeds are not among the first types of historical records that researchers go to when looking for family members, but I have learned a great deal about my family using deeds.  As I inspected this deed closer, I could see that this property was conveyed to Robert Lee Vance and Lillie Vance by Susan Clark Lebenstine on 27 October 1919. I will need to get this deed also.

Blog 95 Picture 2
Richland County Register of Deeds, Book CW: 117, Richland County Courthouse, Columbia, South Carolina.

Blog 95 Picture 3
Richland County Register of Deeds, Book CW: 117, Richland County Courthouse, Columbia, South Carolina.


This is the best historical document that I have found for Robert Lee Vance. He is the oldest brother of Rev. Lafayette Franklin Vance who I have documented extensively. I will attempt to find Robert among the same records that I used in Richland County to document his brother. My family has not been able to tell anything about Robert Lee Vance since he was born in Abbeville County. I know I will be able to tell Robert’s story.  Some records are online, and others will take more effort. They will be offline.

Sharpen the Saw

This deed has stirred up more questions about Robert Lee Vance and his family. Can I document his death? Who did his children marry? When did Mary, his wife, die? Were they as involved in the community as Lafayette and his children were? Finding them on the 1930 Census and the 1940 Census will begin to answer some of these questions. We will add what we find to the timeline in the next post. Are you working to document a family member? What historical records are you currently using? Share your problems and successes in our Facebook Group.

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