Worcester County, Maryland Genealogy

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United States
Maryland
Worcester County

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

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County Facts
County seat: Snow Hill
Organized: October 22, 1742
Parent County(s): Somerset[1]
Neighboring Counties
Somerset  • Wicomico  • Sussex (DE)  • Accomack (VA)
See County Maps
Courthouse
Worcester County Courthouse Snow Hill, Maryland.jpeg
Location Map
MD Worcester map.png
Adoption

County Information

Description

Worcester County was named for the Family of Marquess of Worcester. The County is located in the southeast area of the state.[2]

County Courthouse

Worcester County Courthouse
1 W Market Street
Snow Hill, MD 21863
Phone: 401-632-1194
Worcester County Website

Clerk of the Circuit Court has marriage records from 1866, divorce records from 1900 and court records from 1916.
Register of Wills has probate. [3]

Worcester County, Maryland Record Dates

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1898 1866 1898 1916 1742 1742 1790
Statewide registration for births and deaths started in 1898. General compliance by the 1910s.

Record Loss

Major fires in 1844 and 1893 destroyed the center of Snow Hill, including two successive Court Houses.[5]

For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:

Boundary Changes

Populated Places

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit Hometown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[8]

Cities
Towns
Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places


History Timeline

Resources

Bible Records

Biographies

Business, Commerce, and Occupations

Cemeteries

Cemeteries of Worcester County, Maryland online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Maryland Cemeteries for more information

 

Census Records

For tips on accessing Worcester County, Maryland Genealogy census records online, see: Maryland Census.

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1790 11,640
1800 16,370 40.6%
1810 16,971 3.7%
1820 17,421 2.7%
1830 18,273 4.9%
1840 18,377 0.6%
1850 18,859 2.6%
1860 20,661 9.6%
1870 16,419 −20.5%
1880 19,539 19.0%
1890 19,747 1.1%
1900 20,865 5.7%
1910 21,841 4.7%
1920 22,309 2.1%
1930 21,624 −3.1%
1940 21,245 −1.8%
1950 23,148 9.0%
1960 23,733 2.5%
1970 24,442 3.0%
1980 30,889 26.4%
1990 35,028 13.4%
2000 46,543 32.9%
2010 51,454 10.6%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

Federal Census reports available 1790-1930 including slave and veterans schedules.

Church Records

  • 1668-1995 Maryland, Church Records, 1668-1995 at FamilySearch — index
  • Maryland State Archives' Guide to Maryland Religious Institutions is not intended to be a complete listing of all Religious institutions in Maryland. It was originally based upon the churches recorded by the Federal Works Progress Administration during a records survey conducted from 1935 to 1941. It has been expanded by later acquisitions from religious organizations to the Maryland State Archives. The following records, taken from its collection, have been digitized and made available to view for free online:

Court Records

Directories

Emigration and Immigration

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 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.

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups

Funeral Homes

Genealogies

  • 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. [Worcester County families appear in Vols. 8-10, 12, 15, 17-18, 20, and 22.]
  • [Pilcher] Uhrbrock, Richard S. "Pilchers (Pilchards) and Reddens of Delmarva," The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 18, No. 3 (Jul.-Sepl 1974):187-195. To locate digital pages use search form at American Ancestors ($); first select Virginia Genealogist, The from the Database list. Then select Volume number. FHL Book 975.5 B2vg v. 18 (1974).
  • [Robins] Dorman, John Frederick. Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/5. 3 vols. Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2004-2007. Volume 2. FHL Book 975.5 H2j v. 2.

Guardianship

Land and Property Records

Local Histories

The 300 or fewer American Indians of Worcester county for the most part avoided fighting and preferred living next to their new British neighbors. They left the county by 1748 eventually ending up in Ontario.[9]

The first English/Scottish settlers of Worcester County were mostly religious dissenters (generally Presbyterian), voting with their feet by moving north from Accomack County, Virginia starting in the late 1630s. All social classes from gentlemen to freed indentured servants settled in the area. There is no evidence that transported convicts ever settled in Worcester as in other parts of Maryland and Virginia. The settlers were first attracted by furs, and by slowly expanding small farms in the forests. The ancestors of early Worcester settlers were almost all British.[9]

Before long Virginia authorities were giving land grants in the area over objections from Maryland. Virginia granted 27,800 acres of land to settlers in Worcester from 1645-1666, more than Maryland had granted. After many disputes the Maryland was forced to recognize most of these Virginia grants. Lord Baltimore’s official Maryland proprietary land grants started in Worcester in 1651. Many of his grants were large 3,000 and 4,000 acre grants.[9]

Maryland continued to dispute her border with Pennsylvania as well until the drawing of the Mason-Dixon Line in 1767. Old Worcester County was created about 1669 absorbing now extinct Durham County, and for awhile in 1672 claimed nearly all of the state of Delaware. But by 1685 the British Board of Trade and Foreign Plantations ruled old Worcester County, Maryland dissolved by degree, but the decree was not fully accepted until 1738. However, in 1742 a new Worcester was Country reconstituted out of the eastern part of Somerset County.[9]

In 1684 Maryland’s proprietary land grant system was replaced with a land-for-fee system which attracted large numbers of new settlers. For awhile tobacco was important both as a crop and as currency, but Worcester’s sandy soil could not grow the best quality. By 1700 indentured servitude began to decline and lifetime slavery became more prominent.[9]

By 1662 Quaker and Presbyterian “dissenters” leaving Episcopalian Virginia, together with some of their Episcopalian neighbors, and a few Huguenots were among the first settlers in Worcester County. Baptist ministers, including Francis Makemie, arrived in 1735. In 1766 Methodist circuit riders began to appear including William Barnes and Lorenzo Dow. In 1878 the first Catholic church, and in 1903 the first Jewish synagogue were built.[9]

Maps and Gazetteers

Mdworcester.jpg

Migration

Military Records

Revolutionary War

  • 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 et. al. 1967 reprint: FHL Collection 973 X2pc 1840. See Maryland, Worcester County on page 128.

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, Worcester County, pp. 159-160. Identifies War of 1812 veterans living in this county in 1883.

Civil War

Regiments. Service men in Worcester 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 Worcester:

- Purnell Legion, Maryland Infantry, Companies D and G.

Naturalization and Citizenship

Newspapers

Obituaries

Other Records

Periodicals

Probate Records

Online Probate Records

School Records

Tax Records

  • 1783 Worcester County Tax List of 1783: 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.

Vital Records

Birth

Marriage

Death

Divorce

Research Facilities

Archives

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.

Libraries

  • Worcester County Library, Snow Hill Branch
    307 North Washington Street
    Snow Hill, MD 21863
    Attn: Worcester Room
    Email: worrm@worcesterlibrary.org
    Website
  • Wicomico County Library
    122 S. Division Street
    Salisbury, MD 21801
    Phone: 410-749-3612
    Website

Museums

Societies

Websites

Research Guides

References

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Maryland.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Worcester, Maryland," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worcester_County,_Maryland."
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Maryland.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Worcester County, Maryland. Page 317-318 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 308-309.
  5. Truitt, Reginald V. & Les Callette, Millard G. Worcester County Maryland's Arcadia. Snow Hill, MD: Worcester County Historical Society, 1977, p. 144.
  6. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Maryland.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  7. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Maryland.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  8. Wikipedia contributors, "Worcester County, Maryland," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worcester_County%2C_Maryland, accessed 18 August 2018.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Reginald V. Truitt, and Millard G. Les Callette, WorldCat 3016672 Worcester County Maryland’s Arcadia] (Snow Hill, Md.: Worcester County Historical Society, 1977), 3-5. FHL Collection
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