Maryland History

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The following important events in the history of Maryland affected political jurisdictions, record keeping, and family movements.

1632 A charter was granted to Cecilius Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore. Maryland remained a proprietary colony until 1776, except for the years 1691 to 1715 when the colony reverted to the crown.

1634: The ships Ark and Dove brought about 200 Catholic and Protestant English settlers to the Western Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, where St. Mary's was established.

1653:  Baltimore was founded. It soon became a major port and commercial center.

1763-1767:  The Maryland-Pennsylvania boundary was established by the Mason-Dixon Line.

1776: Maryland adopted a Declaration of Rights and a state constitution.

1788 ( April 28,) Maryland officially became a state in the Union by ratifying the Constitution.

1791:  Maryland ceded sixty square miles for the District of Columbia.

1802:  The property qualification for voting in local elections was removed.

1812-1815:  The War of 1812 involved many Maryland residents, and some battles were fought in Maryland.

1818: The National Road was completed from Cumberland to Wheeling.

1851:  Baltimore City became an independent city and started keeping court, land, and probate records separately from the county.

1861-1865 Maryland soldiers fought on both sides during the Civil War.

1864:  Slaves in Maryland were emancipated.

Sources for studying the history of Maryland include:

Chapelle, Suzanne Ellery Greene, ed. Maryland, A History of Its People. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986. (Family History Library book 975.2 H2mj)

Scharf, John Thomas. History of Maryland . . . Three Volumes. 1879. Reprint, Hatboro, Pennsylvania: Tradition Press, 1967. (Family History Library book 975.2 H2sj). Volumes one and two have been indexed (FHL book 975.2 H2s index). The index covers the years 1600 to 1812.

Walsh, Richard, and William Lloyd Fox, eds. Maryland: A History, 1632-1974. Reprint, 1974. Baltimore, Maryland: Maryland Historical Society, 1974. (Family History Library book 975.2 H2wr)

The Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog lists histories under: