Hints for Genealogical Researching In Anne Arundel Co.

1650 to 1692 Time Period.

There are very few Vital Records in MD before 1692, except for a few Society of Friends meeting records, and a few apparently postdated entries in the Anglican Church Registers. The resources available for researchers in this period include:

Wills: Oldest existent will in Maryland is from 1635. Extracts of Wills through 1777 have been published in a 17 Volume series The Maryland Calendar of Wills. (There are a few errors of course, but overall very useful). Wills, in additon to naming heirs provide information on tracts of land owned, sometime a chain of title, neighbors, and the witnesses. The actual wills and copies are available at MSA. Wills and Probate were Providence, not county, level records up until 1777.

Inventories and Accounts of the Perrogative Courts from 1674 to 1777 have be extracted and published. As sterling was in short supply, IOUs seem to have been commonly used. These extracts will often list 100s of persons in debt or (usually fewer) receiving payments from an estate along with limited information on heirs. It will commonly have the executrix of estate showing her new husband. Copies of the actual inventories are available at the Maryland State Archives (MSA). It is very interesting to see what personality our ancestors owned.

Land Grants. A signficant resource in searching early Marylanders. Up until 1680, the proprietorship granted 50 acres for each person transported into Maryland to reside. Thus most people coming into Maryland or transporting others into Maryland took advantage and requested warrants for land, naming the individuals transported. In some cases, these were for family, or for indentured servants, and in some cases it seems for business deals and family/religious groups. Thus a significant number of all persons coming into MD in that era can be found named in these requests for land warrants. This information has been extracted and an index of names, dates of warrants (which may be later than the date the person entered MD), the person claiming the warrant, and cites to the liber/folio of the records. It is available in The Early Settlers of Maryland by Gus Skordas. Land grants and patents continued to be issued after the headright system was phased out. In some cases landowners had resurveys done to increase their holdings by incorporating any adjacent vacant land. I have seen land patents and surveys as late as the 1850s. A record of of land grants can also be found in some of the rent rolls for Anne Arundel Co. Maryland was a proprietorship and settlers were expected to pay rent for the lands they "owned" to the Calvert family. Rent rolls will list the grant of the land and the possessor of the land when the roll was made.

Land Records. The original Anne Arundel County land records were lost in the fire of the State house 0n 18 October 1704. However beginning in 1705 a special court was held to rerecord the various land records. Thus many, but not all, old land records were rerecorded and are existent today. Also later deeds sometimes will state a chain of title from the original grant. These land records often will have Grantor and his wife named. Some records can contain very useful genealogical material, including references to now non-existant wills, listing of heirs, and tracking the title to tracts of land. Land could pass through several generations in a family without any deeds, so tracking tracts of land is one method to help identify a family. The existent rent rolls (Maryland was a Proprietorship) also identify grant holders & possessors of the land (for example in 1707)

Court and Legislative Records. Records of court cases and actions of the legislature can sometimes provide early genealogical material.

1692 to 1777

In addition to the records discussed for the earlier period, the following records can be found.

Church Records. In June of 1692, the Church of England (Episcopal) Church was designated as the established church of Maryland. One of the responsibilites of each Parish was to maintain a register of births, deaths, and marriages in the Parish. The original parishes in Anne Arundel Co were: St James (basically the area south of West River), St Annes( between the South River and Severn River), All Hallows (the area between South and West River), and St Margarets (the area north of the Severn River). In 1728 Queen Caroline Parish was established in what is now Howard County. In addition the minutes of the Soicety of Freinds West River Meeting contain births and marriages for early Anne Arundel Co. These records have been collected in a Volume Anne Arundel County Church Records of the 17th and 18th Centuriesby F. Edward Wright

Land records also continue to be a major source of information for genealogical research in this period, Also check the land surveys and patents, and the rent rolls. The Maryland state level collection of material of wills and probate is also a good source of information.

The Maryland Gazette newspaper began publication in 1728 and extracts from the newspaper can provide useful data for genealogical research it also offers glimses of 18th century life in Anne Arundel and surrounding counties. The Maryland Gazette 1727-1761 contains extracts of the early issues of the newspaper.

1777 to 1850

About 1777 Maryland made many changes as a result of going from a province to a state. Wills and probate were administered and recorded at the County level. Also county issued marriage licenses came into being.

Marriage licenses exist for Anne Arundel Co from 1777 onward. One compilation of these records that has been printed is Anne Arundel County, Maryland Marriage Records, 1777-1877compiled by John W. Powell

An index to Anne Arundel Co. wills has been published Anne Arundel County Wills Index, 1777-1918by John W. Powell. a source on probate information is Heirs and Orphans: Anne Arundel County Distributions 1788-1838 by Walter E. Arps

There are also the standard sources of information available including the Federal Census, cemetery inscriptions, early histories, and collections of genealogies.