Cecil County, Maryland Genealogy

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Cecil County

Guide to Cecil County, Maryland ancestry, family history, and genealogy, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, and military records.


Cecil County, Maryland
Map of Maryland highlighting Cecil County
Location in the state of Maryland
Map of the U.S. highlighting Maryland
Location of Maryland in the U.S.
Founded June 6, 1674
County Seat Elkton
Cecil County, Maryland Courthouse.JPG
Address Cecil County Courthouse
200 Chesapeake Blvd., Suite 2100
Elkton, MD 21921
Phone: 410-996-5201
Cecil County Website


Beginning Dates for Cecil County, Maryland Genealogy Government Records
Birth Marriage Death Census Land Probate
1898 1777 1898 1790 1673 1675

Clerk Circuit Court has marriage records from 1777, divorce, court, and land records from 1674;
Register of Wills has probate records;
Clerk Court has indexes from 1674.[1]

Maryland State Archives - Guide to Government Records - Cecil County Information

Register of Wills Circuit Courthouse
129 East Main Street - Suite 102
Elkton, Maryland 21921
(410) 996-5330
(888) 398-0301
Fax (410) 996-1039

Mailing Address:
Register of Wills, Cecil County
P O Box 468
Elkton, MD 21922-0468
Business Hours: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm Monday through Friday


Cecil Calvert

Though Cecil County was not established by Lord Baltimore and his colonists until 1674, a small settlement came prior to that time. In 1633, twenty five years after John Smith sailed the tributaries of the Upper Chesapeake Bay, Englishman William Claiborne opened a trading post on Palmers Island at the mouth of the Susquehanna. He traded beavers and furs with the Susquehannocks, and sold them to the French in Canada. A small settlement and a plantation surrounded the first white man's post in the area.

There are two names that will forever be linked to the establishment of Cecil County. The first is the Second Lord Baltimore, Cecilius Calvert (1605-1675), for whom the County was named. He ruled the land called Maryland, after his father -The First Lord Baltimore died. He was the first Proprietary Governor of the colony of Maryland from 1632 until his death in 1675.

The second name is that of Augustine Herman, one of Cecil's first land owners. Herman offered his masterful map making skills to create a map of Maryland, and in exchange received a large tract of land that spread out from the Bohemia River. Because of his skills he was considered an important man, and it was Herman who was able to convince Charles Calvert, the second Proprietary Governor of the Province of Maryland, to divide Cecil County out of Baltimore County. In 1674 Herman's wish was granted, and by proclamation, the boundaries for the new county of Cecil were established. The first courthouse was located on the Sassafras River.

The County seat is Elkton. The newspaper of record is the Cecil Whig

Maryland Historic Trust's Inventory of Historic Properties for Cecil County

Parent County

  • 1674--Cecil County was created 6 June 1674 from Baltimore County by a proclamation by the Proprietary Governor Cecil Calvert.  County seat: Elkton.[2]

Boundary Changes

  • 1659 - Much of what is now Cecil County was originally attached to Kent County until Baltimore County was created 12 January 1659. [3]
    Province of Maryland Boundaries.PNG
  • 1674 - Cecil County was erected by proclamation on June 6, 1674. The original boundaries of Cecil County, as created in 1674, by proclamation of Governor Charles Calvert, are described as follows: "From the mouth of the Susquehanna River down the eastern side of the bay to Swan Point, thence to Hell Point, and so up Chester River to the head thereof." Nothing appears to have been said about the eastern or northern bounds of the county, because they were in dispute, nevertheless the lord proprietary still claimed to the Delaware and to the fortieth degree of north latitude. These bounds were slightly varied by another proclamation issued a few days afterwards, which there is reason to believe threw a small part of what is now the extreme southwestern part of Kent County under the jurisdiction of the authorities of Kent Island. [4]
  • The present county of Kent was in the original bounds of Cecil County for two weeks, until the inhabitants of Kent demanded their territory be returned. [4]
  • 1732 - In 1732 John, Richard and Thomas Penn, who by will of their father had become joint proprietors of Pennsylvania, entered into a written agreement with Charles Calvert, the fifth Lord Baltimore, for the adjustment of the boundaries of the two provinces. trans-peninsular line
  • 1767 - The Mason-Dixon linewas established to end a boundary dispute between the British colonies of Maryland and Pennsylvania/Delaware.
  • 1829 - The Legislature appointed commisioners to locate the boundary line between Cecil and Harford counties. They finished their work in 1832. Their report shows that they began at the State line, at a rock called Long Rock, in the middle of the Susquehanna River, and continued the line southwardly by various islands and rocks in the river until they reached a large rock at the lower part of Watson's Island.[5]
  • For animated maps illustrating Maryland county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Maryland County Boundary Maps" (1637-1997) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.

Variant Spellings

Record Loss

Many early court records have disappeared.

Time Lines

Cecil County Chronology


Chesapeake City, MD from a bridge over the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. Copyright © January 2006 Jennifer Schmidt.

Populated Places

Cecil County Boundary Map.jpg



Neighboring Counties

Harford | Kent | New Castle County, Delaware | Pennsylvania counties: Chester | Lancaster | York


Bible Records



Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county
Findagrave.com Family History Library Findagrave.com
USGenWeb WorldCat Billion Graves
MDGenWeb Archives
Tombstone Project
Billion Graves
See Maryland Cemeteries for more information.

There is a Cemetery Survey for Cecil county at the Maryland State Archives. The survey contains information about the cemetery at the time of the survey in the 1930s. The survey files DO NOT contain actual cemetery records.
MSA S 1512-2777 00/59/06/55

Transcriptions of various cemeteries in Cecil County can be found at the following websites:

  • Cecil County Cemetery Records from the Historical Society of Cecil County. On this page, you will find links to PDF files containing an inventory of Cecil County tombstone transcriptions. One of their most experienced family history researchers and a past president of the Genealogical Society of Cecil County, Gary Burns, has worked several years compiling this detailed spreadsheet. It is still a work in progress and only goes to the letter P right now, but you will find over 29,000 entries for Cecil County Tombstones thus far.
  • The Political Graveyard is a great resource for Politicians that were born, lived and died in Cecil County.

Published Transcriptions:

  • Dunn, Mary DeVine and Lillian DeVine. St. Francis Xavier Church, Warwick, Maryland, "Old Bohemia" : its history, the burial register : historical notes. Newtown, Pa. : Will-Britt Books. 1987.
  • Genealogical Society of Cecil County. Cecil County, MD, Tombstone Inscriptions, Districts 7, 8 & 9, Volume I. Publisher [S.l.] : Genealogical Society of Cecil County, c1992. Includes 18 area graveyards; Districts 7, 8, & 9
    • Cemeteries listed in District 7: Asbury, Baptist, Cokesbury United Methodist, Harmony Chapel Methodist, Jones Memorial, Patterson Private, Principio, Sterrett Private, St. Mark's Episcopal, Taylor's Private
    • Cemeteries listed in District 8: Bethesda, Conowingo Baptist, Mt. Zoar, Success Farm, St. Patrick's Catholic
    • Cemeteries listed in District 9: Brick Meeting House Quaker, Trinity Church, Zion Methodist, Zion Presbyterian
  • Robertson, Donna J.. Tombstone inscriptions of Cecil County. D.J. Robertson.1995.
  • Robertson, Donna J.. Tombstone inscriptions of Hopewell United Methodist Church Cemetery, Cecil County, Maryland. D.J. Robertson. 1995.
  • Williams, Mildred C. and Janet R. Brittingham. Cecil County, Maryland cemetery records: Elkton Presbyterian Churchyard, Bethel Methodist Churchyard, Leeds Church cemetery. Newtown, Pa.: Will-Britt Books. 1987.

For more information about Cemeteries in Maryland please refer to the Maryland Cemeteries page.


  • The 1693 census of the Swedes on the Delaware : family histories of the Swedish Lutheran Church members residing in Pennsylvania, Delaware, west New Jersey and Cecil County, Md., 1638-1693, by Peter Stebbins Craig. Available through the Family History Library, as well as other places.

Federal Census reports available 1790-1930 including slave and veterans schedules. For tips on accessing Cecil County, Maryland Genealogy census records online, see: Maryland Census.


  • Maryland State Archives' has a list of churches in Cecil County, compiled at the time of the WPA survey in the 1930s, MSA S 1512-2113 00/59/06/48. It covers all denominations and includes record descriptions. Note that Maryland State Archives WPA Survey files listed contain information about the church and records found at the church at the time of the survey in the 1930s. The survey files DO NOT contain actual parish registers or similar church records.
  • Nottingham, Cecil County, Maryland Quaker Records at Ancestry.com (subscription required). This database contains records for the Quaker Monthly Meeting for the city of Nottingham, which lies in Cecil County. Researchers may find records of birth, marriage and death for their nineteenth- century Quaker ancestors listed in this database.
  • 1668-1995 Maryland, Church Records, 1668-1995 at FamilySearch — index
  • Church records, histories and indexes in the FamilySearch Catalog
Contains the church records of:
  • Earleville: St. Stephen's Episcopal Church

Church of England

Gotoarrow.png See also North Elk Parish
Gotoarrow.png See also North Sassafras Parish


Before 1776, information may be found in any one of the following types of courts:

  • The Admiralty Court - Following the restoration of the Proprietary government, no Admiralty Court sat in Maryland until a Vice Admiral was commissioned in 1756. The court's jurisdiction included contracts, accounts, wages, treason, piracy, felonies, fugitives, mayhem, and bottomry (cases in which a shipowner put the ship up as security for a loan). The Constitution of 1776 established an Admiralty Court to try capture and seizures made and brought into Maryland ports. The court functioned until 1789, when the U.S. Constitution assigned admiralty jurisdiction to the federal courts.
  • The Provincial Court - The exact date of the creation of the Provincial Court is unknown; it is likely that it dates from Leonard Calvert's commission as Lieutenant General of the colony in 1637, which gave him the authority to try all cases except those concerning life, member, or freehold. Originally called the County Court, the Provincial Court was modeled after the English county courts. The name change probably occurred sometime between 1640 and 1642, when St. Mary's and Kent counties were created, each with a county court. The Provincial Court had concurrent jurisdiction with the county courts in most matters, served as an appellate court to the county courts, and had original jurisdiction in criminal cases involving life or member and in civil cases with value above a given sum or poundage of tobacco, which varied throughout the court's history. The Provincial Court also heard chancery, testamentary, and guardianship cases until the Chancery and Prerogative Courts were established and guardianship matters were transferred to the county courts. In addition, the Provincial Court had concurrent jurisdiction with the county courts in recording conveyances of land, which was compulsory after 1663.
  • The Prerogative Court - The probate court of Maryland for the greater part of the colonial period was called the Prerogative Court which was responsible for overseeing the administration of all the records related to the estate of a deceased person.
  • The Chancery Court

Family Histories

It is anticipated that this bibliography will eventually identify all known family histories published about residents of this county. Use this list to:

  • Locate publications about direct ancestors
  • Find the most updated accounts of an ancestor's family
  • Identify publications, to quote Elizabeth Shown Mills, about an ancestor's "FAN Club" [Friends, Associates, and Neighbors]


  • Barnes, Robert W., F. Edward Wright, Vernon L. Skinner and Henry C. Peden. Colonial Families of the Eastern Shore of Maryland. 23 vols. Westminster, Md.: Family Line, 1996-2003; Lewes, Del.: Delmarva Roots and Colonial Roots, 2007. FHL US/CAN Book 975.21 D2b v. 1 ff. [Cecil County families appear in Vol. 6]
  • Biographies contributed to USGenWeb
  • Maryland, Cecil - Biography section of the FamilySearch Catalog


  • [Anderson] Russell, George Ely. "The Swedish Settlement in Maryland, 1654," The American Genealogist, Vol. 54, No. 4 (Oct. 1978):203-210. FHL 973 D25aga v. 54
  • [Baker] White, Miles. "Henry Baker and Descendants," The Southern History Association, Vol. 5, No. 5 (Sep. 1901):388-400; Vol. 5, No. 6 (Nov. 1901):477-496. Digitized by Internet Archive - free.
  • [Campbell] Campbell, Donald H. The Campbell Family of Virginia. 1990s. Digital version at FamilySearch Books Online - free.
  • [Caulk] Russell, George Ely. "The Swedish Settlement in Maryland, 1654," The American Genealogist, Vol. 54, No. 4 (Oct. 1978):203-210. FHL 973 D25aga v. 54
  • [Clements] Russell, George Ely. "The Swedish Settlement in Maryland, 1654," The American Genealogist, Vol. 54, No. 4 (Oct. 1978):203-210. FHL 973 D25aga v. 54
  • [Cornelius] Russell, George Ely. "The Swedish Settlement in Maryland, 1654," The American Genealogist, Vol. 54, No. 4 (Oct. 1978):203-210. FHL 973 D25aga v. 54
  • [Creswell] Russell, George Ely. "David Creswell of Cecil County, Maryland," The American Genealogist, Vol. 46, No. 2 (Apr. 1970):65-73. FHL 973 D25aga v. 46
  • [Dunbar] Plummer, Judith M. Bald Friar Ferry in 1781 : across the Susquehanna River between Hartford and Cecil Counties in Maryland. Westbrook, Maine : J.M. Plummer, 2004. Digital version FamilySearch Books Online
  • [Eliason] Russell, George Ely. "The Swedish Settlement in Maryland, 1654," The American Genealogist, Vol. 54, No. 4 (Oct. 1978):203-210. FHL 973 D25aga v. 54
  • [Frist] Frist, William H. and Shirley Wilson. "Good people beget good people": a genealogy of the Frist family. Maryland:Rowman & Littlefield. 2003.
  • [Hendrickson] Bendler, Bruce A. "The Hendrickson Family in Cecil County, Maryland: The First Three Generations," The Maryland and Delaware Genealogist, Vol. 31, No. 1 (Winter 1990):20-22. FHL US/CAN Book 975 B2m.
  • [Janney] White, Miles. "Janney Genealogy," The Southern History Association, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Mar. 1904):119-128; Vol. 8, No. 3 (May 1904):196-211; Vol. 8, No. 4 (Jul. 1904):275-286. Digitized by Internet Archive - free.
  • [Lawson] Brayton, John A. The Complete Ancestry of Tennessee Williams. Winston-Salem, N.C.: J.A. Brayton, 1993. FHL Book 929.273 W67bj.
  • [Mathews] Russell, George Ely. "The Swedish Settlement in Maryland, 1654," The American Genealogist, Vol. 54, No. 4 (Oct. 1978):203-210. FHL 973 D25aga v. 54
  • [Matthias] Russell, George Ely. "The Swedish Settlement in Maryland, 1654," The American Genealogist, Vol. 54, No. 4 (Oct. 1978):203-210. FHL 973 D25aga v. 54

Surname Files


Gazetteer of the state of Maryland  By Richard Swainson Fisher, pages 61-63 are about Cecil County.

A Gazetteer of Maryland and Delaware  By Henry Gannett

A new and complete gazetteer of the United States: ... By Thomas Baldwin, J. Thomas


The New Early Settlers of Maryland database is a great place to start searching for immigrants who had arrived in the colony by the 1680s. The database "comprises 34,326 entries from Gust Skordas' Early Settlers of Maryland and Carson Gibb's Supplement to the Early Settlers of Maryland." Available online, courtesy: Maryland State Archives.

Other Cecil County immigration resources include:

  • List of imported servants and convicts from Europe who served labor terms in Colonial Cecil County, Maryland (work in progress), courtesy: Immigrant Servants Database. [Includes Richard J. Cox's abstracts of Maryland Gazette runaways.]
  • Burns, Gary L., compiler. Naturalization records, Cecil County, Maryland. Charlestown, Md (Box 11, Charlestown 21914) : Genealogical Society of Cecil County, 1997.


Local Histories



  • Military Officers in 1696. [3]
  • Colonial Militia of Cecil County in 1740. [3]
  • John F. DeWitt Military Museum at the Historical Society of Cecil County 135 E. Main Street, Elkton 410-398-1790
    Impressive display of military memorabilia from the Revolutionary War through Desert Storm.

Revolutionary War

Cecil County men served in the 6th Maryland Regiment.[8]

  • A Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services: With their Names, Ages, and Places of Residence, as Returned by the Marshalls of the Several Judicial Districts, Under the Act for Taking the Sixth Census]. 1841. Digital version at Google Books. 1967 reprint: FHL Collection 973 X2pc 1840. [See Maryland, Cecil County on page 127.]
  • Cecil County Bicentennial Committee. Cecil County in the Revolutionary War : being an account of some of the experiences, events and locations prominent to Cecil County and it's [sic] citizens during the period of 1776 to 1783.
    Elkton, Md. : The Cecil County Bicentennial Committee, 1976.
  • Revolutionary Patriots of Cecil County, Maryland by Henry C. Peden, Jr.  [9]

War of 1812

  • List of Pensioners on the Roll, January 1, 1883; Giving the Name of Each Pensioner, the Cause for Why Pensioned, the Post-Office Address, the Rate of Pension Per Month, and the Date of Original Allowance... Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1883. FHL Collection 973 M2Lp v. 5; digital versions at Google Books and Internet Archive. [See Vol. 5, Maryland, Cecil County, pp. 142-145. Identifies War of 1812 veterans living in this county in 1883.]

Civil War

Regiments. Service men in Cecil County, Maryland Genealogy served in various regiments. Men often joined a company (within a regiment) that originated in their county. Listed below are companies that were specifically formed in Cecil County, Maryland Genealogy:

- 5th Regiment, Maryland Infantry, Companies A and I .
- 6th Regiment, Maryland Infantry Companies B, E and G.
- 8th Regiment, Maryland Infantry Company A .
- Purnell Legion, Maryland Infantry, Company E.



Online Probate Records

Societies and Libraries

The Historical Society of Cecil County
The Eva M. Muse Library
135 E. Main Street
Elkton, MD 21921
Phone: 410-398-1790
E-Mail: history@cchistory.org

Cecil County Public Library
301 Newark Avenue
Elkton, MD 21921
Phone: 410-996-5600

Family History Centers

Family history centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See family history center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.


  • [1678, 1681] 1678 and 1681 Caecill County tax lists, available online, courtesy: MDGenWeb.
  • [1752] Taxable persons in Cecil county for the year, 1752. Charlestown, Md.: Genealogical Society of Cecil County, 19uu.
  • [1752] Taxable Persons in 1752. [3]
  • [1759] Taxables in 1759. [3]
  • [1760-1765] Batchelor Tax Lists in St. Mary Anne's P.E. Parish 1760-1765. [3]
  • [1761] Cecil County Tax Lists of August, 1761. [3]
  • [1762] Taxables Belonging to Elk Forge in 1762. [3]
  • [1763] Batchelor Tax List in St. Stephen's P.E. Parish, July 10, 1763. [3]
  • [1766] Taxables in 1766. [3]
  • [1783] Cecil County Tax List of 1783 : First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth Districts. This is an alphabetical index to names to all property owners assessed. The index cards at the Maryland State Archives include county, hundred, names of tracts of land and whether individuals were paupers or single males as provided in the law.
  • [1798] Direct tax
  • Maryland, Cecil - Taxation results in the FamilySearch Catalog

Vital Records


In 1898, the General Assembly passed a law that initiated the registration of births in the 23 counties (Chapter 312, Acts of 1898). At first, compliance with the law on the local level was incomplete. As the State Board of Health gradually increased its control over the local boards, registration became more reliable. Researchers should keep in mind, however, that as late as 1914 the Board of Health was still working to increase compliance with the law, and some births went unrecorded. 

The 1898 law dictated that "the record of a birth shall state the date and place of its occurrence, name in full, sex and color, and the number of the child, whether living or still born, and the names, color, occupation, birth place and residence of parents, name and address of the physician, midwife or attendant at the birth". 

The Maryland State Archives also has indexing from 1875 through 1950. The early index (1875-1919) is arranged alphabetically by the surname of the child (or by the parents' surname if the child's name is not given). The index provides the child's name (if given), the names of the parents, the date of birth, and the county. The later index (1920-1950) is in Soundex order by the surname of the child; within the Soundex classification it is alphabetical by the father's first name. When no father's name is given, the card is filed at the beginning of the Soundex class. Children of unmarried couples are listed twice, under the names of both parents. This later index provides the names of the child and the parents, the date and county of birth, and the child's race and birth order. Although these indexes are open to the public, please note that the birth certificates themselves are restricted for 100 years after the date of birth. [11]




  • "Cecil Co.," in Genealogical Sources in Periodicals at The Maryland State Archives.

Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:


  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Cecil, Maryland page 317, At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 181. [FHL book 973 D27e 2002].
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 Peden, Henry C., compiler. Inhabitants of Cecil County, Maryland, 1649-1774. Westminster, Maryland: Willow Bend Books, 1999.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Maryland Geological Survey, George Burbank Shattuck, Florence Bascom, Edward Bennett Mathews, Clarence Wilbur Dorsey, Jay Allan Bonsteel, Oliver Lanard Fassig, Henry Albert Pressey, Louis Agricola Bauer, Hugh M. Curran, George Bishop Sudworth. Cecil County, Volume 1. Page 26. Geological Survey (U.S.), United States. Bureau of Soils. Digitized by Google Books
  5. 5.0 5.1 Johnston, George. History of Cecil County, Maryland, and the early settlements around the head of Chesapeake Bay and on the Delaware River, with sketches of some of the old families of Cecil County. Elkton, Maryland: George Johnston, 1881.
  6. William Hand Browne, ed., Archives of Maryland: Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly of Maryland October 1678-November 1683 (Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1889).
  7. Eichholz, Alice, editor. Redbook American State, County, and Town Sources (Provo, Utah: Ancestry Publishing, 2004), 306.
  8. Wikipedia contributors, "6th Maryland Regiment," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6th_Maryland_Regiment, accessed 31 May 2012.
  9. Peder, Henry C., Jr. Revolutionary Patriots of Cecil County, Maryland. Westminster, Maryland: Heritage Books, 2007.
  10. Garrett, Jere. "Muffled drums and mustard spoons : Cecil County, Maryland, 1860-1865". Shippensburg, Pennsylvania : Burd Street Press, c1996
  11. "Birth Records" in Maryland State Archives at Guide.mdsa.net (accessed 28 Jun 2010).