Maryland Archives and Libraries

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Maryland Wiki Topics
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Beginning Research
Record Types
Maryland Background
Cultural Groups
Local Research Resources

These repositories preserve sources, maintain indexes, and provide services to help genealogists document their ancestors who lived in Maryland.

Wiki Articles on Major Repositories for Maryland[edit | edit source]

Allegheny County Library System Washington Street Library · Baltimore City Archives · Bristol Public Library VA · Division of Vital Records · Dorchester County Central Public Library · Enoch Pratt Free Library · Frederick County Artz Public Library · Frostburg State University Ort Library · Handley Regional Library VA · Historical Society of Pennsylvania · Historical Society of Washington, D.C. · Jewish Genealogical Society of Maryland · Johns Hopkins University George Peabody Library · Library of Congress DC · Maryland Genealogical Society · Maryland Historical Society · Maryland Historical Trust Library · Maryland State Archives · Maryland State Law Library · Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society · National Archives and Records Administration (Archives I) DC · National Archives at College Park, Maryland (Archives II) · National Archives at Philadelphia PA · National Genealogical Society VA · Pennsylvania State Archives · Prince George's County Genealogical Society · Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore · Saltisbury University Nabb Research Center · Talbot County Free Library · United Methodist Historical Society of the Baltimore-Washington Conference · University of Maryland McKeldin Library · Washington County Free Library · Washington National Records Center

Online Records of Maryland[edit | edit source]

Links to online databases and indexes that may include vital records, biographies, cemeteries, censuses, histories, immigration records, land records, maps, military records, naturalizations, newspapers, obituaries, or probate records.

  • Sailor is a collection of research databases for the use of Maryland public libraries including HeritageQuest Online and History Reference Center.

National Repositories[edit | edit source]

Library of Congress Jefferson Building in Washington, D.C.

Library of Congress[edit | edit source]

101 Independence Ave. SE
Thomas Jefferson Building, LJ G4
Washington, D.C. 20540-4660
Telephone:[1]  Reading Room: 202-707-5537
Fax:[1]  202-707-1957
E-mail:  Ask a Librarian[1]
Internet: LC Local History & Genealogy Reference Services

The LC "Local History and Genealogy Reading Room" has moved to the main reading room, but services are unchanged. They are part of the world's largest library including 50,000 genealogies, 100,000 local histories, and collections of manuscripts, microfilms, maps, newspapers, photographs, and published material, strong in North American, British Isles, and German sources.[2] Maryland family history is well represented.
Researchers' entrance at National Archives I in Washington, DC

National Archives I[edit | edit source]

700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington DC
Telephone:  1-866-272-6272
Fax:  301-837-0483
E-mail: National Archives and Records Administration

Archives I has nationwide censuses, pre-WWI military service and pensions, passenger lists, naturalizations, passports, federal bounty land, homesteads, bankruptcy, ethnic sources, prisons, and federal employees. The National Archives Building in Washington, DC (Archives I), houses textual and microfilm records relating to genealogy, American Indians, pre-World War II military and naval-maritime matters, the New Deal, the District of Columbia, the Federal courts, and Congress.[3] Their collection includes many people who settled in Maryland.

US National Archives II in College Park, MD

National Archives II[edit | edit source]

8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
Telephone: 866-272-6272
Fax: 301-837-0483
E-mail: I have a question form
Internet: National Archives at College Park, Maryland

Archives II houses documents created after 1900 at the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, and Treasury, modern military records, passport applications, and District of Columbia records. Many residents of Maryland are found among their records.[4]

Sign at the entrance to the National Archives at Philadelphia

National Archives at Philadelphia[edit | edit source]

14700 Townsend Road
Philadelphia, PA 19154-1096
Telephone: 215-305-2044
Fax: 215-305-2052

Has federal agency and court records for Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. All U.S. federal censuses 1790-1940, and indexes. Also have passenger arrivals in Philadelphia 1800-1945 and Baltimore, pension and bounty land warrant applications, naturalizations 1790-1990, early federal history, diplomacy, military history, Chinese-Americans, World War II homefront, National Park Service, merchant marine, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, federal tax evasion and smuggling cases.[5]

National Genealogical Society[edit | edit source]

3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300
Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370 USA
Telephone: 703-525-0050 or 800-473-0060
Fax 703-525-0052
Internet: National Genealogical Society

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) aims to serve and grow the genealogical community by providing education and training, fostering increased quality and standards, and promoting access to and preservation of genealogical records.[6] It is the premier American national society for everyone from the beginner to the most advanced family historian. In conjunction with a sponsoring local genealogical society, it stages an annual NGS Conference. They also provide genealogical education courses, publications and videos.[7] Their NGS Book Loan Collection is now housed at the St. Louis County Library in Missouri. Their online collections include The National Intelligencer (Washington, DC) newspaper index 1800-1850, indexed Bible records and family groups from NGS members.[8]

WNRC stack area in Suitland, MD

Washington National Records Center[edit | edit source]

4205 Suitland Road
Suitland, MD 20746-8001
Telephone: 866-272-6272 (National Archives and Records Administration)
E-mail: Contact Us form (for the National Archives and Records Administration)
Internet: Services for the Public

Older than 15-years federal criminal court, federal civil court, and federal bankruptcy court records, and the federal agency records from the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.[9]

Statewide Repositories[edit | edit source]

Division of Vital Records[edit | edit source]

Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
6764-B Reisterstown Road
Baltimore, Maryland 21215 USA
Telephone: 410-764-3038
Internet: VSA Home How to request BMD certificates; Quick links; New; Vital statistics; FAQ; General info; and MD-EDRS (online death registration).

The Division of Vital Records issues certified copies of birth, death, and marriage certificates for events that occurred in Maryland. Photo-I.D. is required. You can apply by mail or in-person. For an additional fee you could also make online requests through the private company Fees may differ for certificates issued at local (county or city) Health Departments.[10] Statewide registration began for births and deaths in 1898; for marriages in 1777. Local vital records may exist before those dates but would be spotty.

Maryland Genealogical Society[edit | edit source]

201 West Monument Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Internet: Maryland Genealogical Society

Promotes genealogical research through publications, programs and workshps, resources, and outreach. Publishes a journal and newsletter. Maintains a surname registry, databases of photos, tax lists, cemetery, and church records. Offers a limited research service for a fee.[11]

Maryland Historical Society[edit | edit source]

201 West Monument St.
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-4674
Telephone: 410-685-3750
Internet: Maryland Historical Society Library Overview

This facility has the largest genealogical book collection in Maryland, and family Bibles, newspapers, and biographies.[12]

Maryland Historical Trust Library[edit | edit source]

100 Community Place,
Crownsville, MD 21032
Telephone: 410-514-7655 (Call for hours of operation)
Internet: Maryland Historical Trust Library
Internet: Online catalog

Houses journals and 5,000 books primarily about archeology (terrestrial and maritime), Native Americans, architecture, history, historic preservation, decorative, building conservation for Maryland and surrounding regions. They also have an oral history collection.[13]

Maryland State Archives[edit | edit source]

Hall of Records Building
350 Rowe Boulevard
Annapolis, MD 21401
Telephone: 410-260-6400
Fax: 410-974-2525
Internet: Maryland State Archives

This is the premier facility for locating Maryland ancestors. The Maryland State Archives online has nearly all available public records from 1634 to 1789; most original state and county records through the mid-twentieth century; microfilm copies of land, probate, and vital records to the present; and over 130 major card indexes to Maryland land records and early settlers, newspapers, county records, church records, family, and business records. This is the most complete collection of any of the 13 colonies. It can take up the three days just to check the indexes.[12] For more information about the state archives, see the following references.
  • Maryland. Hall of Records. A Guide to the Index Holdings at the Hall of Records. Rev., Bulletin, [Maryland. Hall of Records] No. 17. (Annapolis, Maryland: Hall of Records, 1972.) FHL book 975.2 A1 no. 56. This is a county-by-county list of indexes and years covered.
  • Papenfuse, Edward C., et al. A Guide to Government Records at the Maryland State Archives: A Comprehensive List by Agency and Record Series. (Annapolis, Maryland: Maryland State Archives, 1992.) FHL book 975.2 A3g. This guide lists record types, years covered, and series number.
  • Papenfuse, Edward C., et. al. A Guide to the Maryland Hall of Records: Local, Judicial and Administrative Records on Microfilm. Volume 1. (Annapolis, Maryland: Hall of Records Commission, 1978.) FHL fiche 6049468; book 975.2 A3pa v. 1. Volume one is a detailed list of many records on microfilm for Allegany County, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, and Baltimore City, Maryland. These include court, probate, and land records. The archives has additional computer printout lists for all counties. You can write to them for information about records of specific localities and time periods.
  • Radoff, Morris Leon, et al. The County Courthouses and Records of Maryland, Part Two: The Records. (Annapolis, Maryland: Hall of Records Commission, 1963.) FHL fiche 6054101 (fiches 4 and 5), 6054105; book 975.2 B4ma no. 13 This is a county-by-county list of record types, years covered, and series number.

Maryland State Law Library[edit | edit source]

Courts of Appeal Building
361 Rowe Boulevard
Annapolis, MD 21401
Telephone: 410-260-1430
Fax: 410-974-2063
Internet: Maryland State Law Library

Includes family genealogies, Maryland public records, historical works, popular Maryland newspapers on microfilm, and online access to back issues of the "Capital" (via Newspaper Archive).[14]

Regional Repositories[edit | edit source]

Allegheny Co Lib Sys Washington St Lib[edit | edit source]

Washington Street Library in Cumberland, MD

Allegheny County Library System Washington Street Library
31 Washington Street
Cumberland, MD 21502
Telephone: 301-777-1200
Fax: 301-777-7299
Internet: Washington Street Library

They have a western Maryland historical collection with genealogies, and local histories.[12] Cumberland, Maryland, was the start of the National Road to Ohio and farther west.

Baltimore City Archives[edit | edit source]

Baltimore City Archives entrance

2615 Mathews Street
Baltimore MD 21218
Telephone: 410-396-3884
Internet: Baltimore City Archives
Internet: Guide to the BCA for Genealogists

Visits by appointment only. Find 300,000 names in their WPA Historical Records Survey Name Index. They also have Baltimore City directories, spotty coroner's inquest records 1827-1867, a Baltimore Houses of Worship locator tool, a partial 1868 Police Census for Wards 3, 6. 8, 9. 13, & 20, cemetery records, passenger arrival lists, and property tax records.[15]
Two useful guides to Baltimore records are:
  • Cox, Richard J., and Patricia M. Vanorny. "The Records of a City: Baltimore and Its Historical Sources." Maryland Historical Magazine 70 (Fall 1975): 286-310. FHL book 975.2 H25m v. 70
  • LeFurgy, William G. The Records of a City: A Guide to the Baltimore City Archives. (Baltimore, Maryland: City Archives, 1984.) FHL book 975.26 A3bc

Dorchester County Central Public Library[edit | edit source]

303 Gay St.
Cambridge, MD 21613
Telephone: 410-228-7331
Internet: Dorchester County Public Library

Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, MD
Their collection includes many Maryland Eastern Shore, and Delaware historical references.[12]

Enoch Pratt Free Library[edit | edit source]

400 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-4484
Telephone: 410-396-5430
Fax: 410-396-1441
E-mail: Email A Question form
Internet: Enoch Pratt Free Library

Excellent local, county, and Maryland state records.[12]
Artz Public Library in Frederick, MD

Frederick County Artz Public Library[edit | edit source]

110 East Patrick Street
Frederick , MD 21701
Telephone: 301-600-1630
E-mail: Contact the Maryland Room form
Internet: C. Burr Artz Public Library

They have Maryland history, genealogy, and more.[12]

Frostburg State University Ort Library

Frostburg State University Ort Library[edit | edit source]

1 Stadium Drive
Frostburg, Maryland 21532-2342
Telephone: 301-687-4395
E-mail: Ask a Librarian form
Internet: Frostburg State University Lewis J. Ort Library

Their Special Collections maintains material about Western Maryland and contiguous counties in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, answers genealogical reference questions, and provides an obituary copy service.[16]

Jewish Genealogical Society of Maryland[edit | edit source]

229 Chartley Drive
Reisterstown, MD 21136
Telephone: 410-635-4737
Internet: Jewish Genealogical Society of Maryland Home

JGS MD provides educational progams, resources, and news to help researchers find their Jewish ancestors.[17]
Johns Hopkins Univ Peabody Library, Baltimore

Johns Hopkins Univ Peabody Library[edit | edit source]

Johns Hopkins University George Peabody Library
17 East Mount Vernon Place
Baltimore, MD 21202
Telephone: 410-659-8179
Fax: 410-659-8137
Internet: George Peabody Library

This collection has strengths in British and American history, biography, geography, and exploration and travel including a large map collection.The also have many manuscripts.[18]

Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society[edit | edit source]

P.O. Box 241
New Windsor, Maryland 21776-0241
Internet: Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society

MAGS facilitates research on Germanic genealogy in the mid-Atlantic region (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia) during the 17th through 20th centuries. They provide a newsletter and sponsor educational events.[19]

Prince George's Co Genealogical Society[edit | edit source]

Prince George's County Genealogical Society
12219 Tulip Grove Drive
Bowie, MD
Telephone: 301-262-2063
Internet: Library information

5,500 volumes, surname files, family group sheets, Bible records and microfilms. Focused primarily on Prince George's County, Maryland, and the eastern states.[20]

Associated Archives in St. Mary's Seminary & University, Baltimore

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore[edit | edit source]

Associated Archives at St. Mary’s Seminary & University
5400 Roland Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21210
Telephone: 410-864-4074
Fax: 410-864-3690
Internet: The Associated Archives website includes information about the archives; collections; genealogy; services; and making appointments.

Either schedule an on-site visit, or submit a written request for a sacramental record of a baptism, a marriage, or a death between 1834 and 1989.[21] [22]

Salisbury Univ Nabb Research Center[edit | edit source]

Salisbury University Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture
Guerrieri Academic Commons (street address)
(4th Floor, Room 430)
1101 Camden Ave (mailing address)
Salisbury, MD 21801
Telephone: 410-543-6312
Fax: 410-677-5067
Internet: Nabb Research Center

This repository has family files, family histories, local histories, photos, and artifacts from the Delmarva Penninsula (Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia) also called the "Eastern Shore." Includes correspondence, manuscripts, ledgers, diaries, local business and organizational records, maps, newspapers, land surveys, and oral histories. Microfilm collections hold governmental and church records of Somerset, Worcester, Dorchester and Wicomico counties in Maryland; Accomack and Northampton counties in Virginia; and Sussex County in Delaware.[23]

Talbot County Free Library[edit | edit source]

Maryland Room
100 W. Dover Street
Easton, Maryland 21601
Telephone: 410-822-1626
Fax: 410-820-8217
E-mail: Message form
Internet: Maryland Room

Look here for their many Maryland Eastern Shore, and Delaware historical references.[12] Their collection includes church records, burial permits, Talbot County genealogy links, Bibles, family records, manuscripts, maps, local oral histories, and vertical files.[24]
Lovely Lane Church, Baltimore

United Methodist Historical Society[edit | edit source]

United Methodist Historical Society of the Baltimore-Washington Conference
2200 Saint Paul Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21218-5805
Telephone: 410-889-4458
E-mail: Contact form
Internet: Lovely Lane Museum Home

The Lovely Lane Methodist Church holds the Historical Society's archives, library, and museum. The archives preserve records of annual conferences, agencies, certain personal papers, and certain discontinued local church records. The library holds biographies, histories, historic Books of Discipline, and maintains digitized publications.[25]

UMD McKeldin Library in College Park, MD

University of Maryland McKeldin Library[edit | edit source]

College Park, MD 20742-7011
Telephone: 301-405-0800
E-mail: Ask us form
Internet: Theodore R. McKeldin Library

Their Maryland historical collection is quite large.[12]

Washington County Free Library[edit | edit source]

100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown MD 21740
Telephone: 301.739.3250
E-mail: Contact form
Internet: Genealogy

The Western Maryland Room  is a genealogical resource which includes published histories, oral histories, books, periodicals, and family folders.[12]

Outside Maryland Repositories[edit | edit source]

Bristol Public Library in Virginia

Bristol Public Library[edit | edit source]

701 Goode Street
Bristol, VA 24201-4199
Telephone: 540-645-8780
Fax: 276-669-5593
Internet: Bristol Public Library

They have a relatively small family folder collection. Nevertheless, it is an important resource for settlers coming from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and northern Virginia  along the Great Valley Road into Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina.[26]
Handley Library Winchester Virginia

Handley Regional Library[edit | edit source]

100 W. Piccadilly Street
PO Box 58
Winchester, VA 22604
Telephone: 540-662-9041
Fax: 540-722-4769
Website: Handley Regional Library

Very large collection on Germans and Scots-Irish who traveled the Great Valley Road from Pennsylvania  through Maryland to Virginia, including manuscripts, newspapers, biographies, and histories,[27] and people of the Lower Shenandoah Valley since 1732, emphasizing Winchester and Frederick County in 4000 books, county court abstracts, county histories, genealogies, regimental histories, battles, newspapers since 1787, censuses, 600 linear feet of manuscripts, maps, photos, and oral history tapes.[28]

Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia

Historical Society of Pennsylvania[edit | edit source]

1300 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107-5699
Telephone: 215-732-6200
Fax: 215-732-2680
Internet: Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Has early Quakers, Germans, Scots-Irish, and other settlers in William Penn's colonies of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. This is also an excellent place to learn about early settlers of Maryland.[12] Records which have been published are normally well-indexed. This society also has 17th-, 18th-, and 19th-century manuscripts (letters, diaries, account books, deeds, minutes, and scrapbooks), passenger arrival lists and indexes, [29] local and regional history, ethnic and immigrant studies materials, 600,000 books, 20 million manuscripts, over 300,000 graphics items, and 300 years of newspapers.[30]

Historical Society of Washington, D.C.[edit | edit source]

Historical Society of Washington, D.C. is on the 2nd floor of the Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Sq.

Kiplinger Research Library
Carnegie Library 2nd floor
801 K St NW
Washington, DC 20001
Telephone: 202-249-3955
Internet: Historical Society of Washington, D.C.

Think of this as the state archives for the District of Columbia because of the 200 years of local history documents for genealogists.[9] This includes families and notable individuals, organizations, businesses, neighborhoods, religious institutions, local houses of worship, funeral homes, diaries and personal papers, and early 18th century Maryland and Virginia land records.[31] Researchers are welcomed in the Kiplinger Research Library by prior appointment only Tuesday through Friday. Access to the library and collections is free of charge.[32]
Pennsylvania State Archives in Harrisburg

Pennsylvania State Archives[edit | edit source]

300 North Street      (mail to:  350 North Street)
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Telephone: 717-783-3281
Internet: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

Their colonial records include many references to Maryland settlements.[12] This huge collection has indexes and original sources associated with the Pennsylvania Archives series, such as vital, military, prison, naturalization, land records, census, ships lists, railroads, mines, and 1.5 million online records[27] [33] including online genealogy guides.

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Some of the above collections are partially duplicated at the Family History Library and its branch Family History Centers around the world. Most centers can help you by:

  • Giving you limited, personal, one-on-one research suggestions (but they do not do research for you)
  • Providing access to genealogical records through the Internet FHC Portal.
  • Offering free how-to classes (varies by location)
  • Fostering contact between genealogical enthusiasts

There are several centers located in Maryland, for example:

Hampstead Maryland Family History Center
4117 Lower Beckleysville Rd
Hampstead MD 21074 USA
Telephone: 410-374-1301.
Each center is staffed by volunteers and has varying hours and services. Telephone in advance to verify their hours.

To locate one of these centers in your own neighborhood, see Find a Family History Center.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Contact Information in The Library of Congress (accessed 12 May 2010).
  2. The Collections in Local History and Genealogy Reading Room in The Library of Congress (accessed 8 January 2014).
  3. Information for Researchers at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC in National Archives (accessed 31 December 2013).
  4. William Dollarhide and Ronald A. Bremer. America's Best Genealogy Resource Centers (Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Quest, 1998), 2. WorldCat 39493985; FHL Ref Book 973 J54d.
  5. Dollarhide and Bremer, 126-27.
  6. NGS Mission in National Genealogical Society (accessed 14 January 2017).
  7. Home in National Genealogical Society (accessed 7 January 2017).
  8. NGS Membership pdf in National Genealogical Society (accessed 15 January 2021).
  9. 9.0 9.1 Dollarhide and Bremer, 29.
  10. Vital Records General Information in Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygience (accessed 24 April 2017).
  11. Home in Maryland Genealogical Society (accessed 25 April 2017).
  12. 12.00 12.01 12.02 12.03 12.04 12.05 12.06 12.07 12.08 12.09 12.10 Dollarhide and Bremer, 55.
  13. Maryland Historical Trust Library in Maryland Historical Trust in (accessed 25 April 2017).
  14. Just for Specialized Audiences in Maryland State Law Library (accessed 25 April 2017).
  15. Guide to the BCA for Genealogists in Baltimore City Archives (accessed 25 April 2017).
  16. Dr. David M. Gillespie Special Collections: Home in Lewis J. Ort Library (accessed 20 January 2017).
  17. Home in Jewish Genealogical Society of Maryland (accessed 24 April 2017).
  18. George Peabody Library in Special Collections & Archives in Johns Hopkins Sheridan Libraries & University Museums (accessed 20 January 2017).
  19. About Us in Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society (accessed 24 April 2017).
  20. Library information in Prince George's County Genealogical Society (accessed 7 January 2017).
  21. Genealogy in St. Mary's Seminary & University (accessed 24 April 2017).
  22. Reference and Research Services in St. Mary's Seminary & University (accessed 25 April 2017).
  23. Nabb Research Center in Salisbury University (accessed 25 April 2017).
  24. Genealogy in Talbot County Free Library (accessed 13 September 2015).
  25. Home in Lovely Lane Museum (accessed 24 April 2017).
  26. Dollarhide and Bremer, 105.
  27. 27.0 27.1 Dollarhide and Bremer, 97.
  28. Family and Local History in Handley Regional Library (accessed 28 December 2013).
  29. Dollarhide and Bremer, 95.
  30. About Our Collections in Historical Society of Pennsylvania (accessed 27 December 2013).
  31. About the Library and Collections in Historical Society of Washington, D.C. (accessed 7 January 2017).
  32. Research in Historical Society of Washington, D.C. (accessed 7 January 2017).
  33. Research Topics at the Pennsylvania State Archives in Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (accessed 23 December 2013).