Research in Maryland

Research in Maryland is an essential guidebook for family historians who have traced their ancestors back to Maryland. It also is an invaluable resource for those whose colonial ancestors lived in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania as far north as Philadelphia, and parts of what are Virginia and West Virginia. These lands were also once part of “Maryland Colony,” which King Charles I bestowed on the 2nd Baron Baltimore in 1632.

In the late seventeenth century, the area now known as Delaware was given to James, Duke of York, the brother of King Charles II. It wasn’t until 1750 that the boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania was finalize. That boundary is known as the Mason-Dixon Line. Thirty years later, border disputes with Virginia were resolved. Research in Maryland provides information on where all these land records can be found. The author also explains the system of land grants in pre-colonial and colonial periods as well as after America’s independence.

Curiously, the state and local governments of Maryland did not begin to keep vital records of birth and death until the late nineteenth century.  Accessing religious records are thus vital to family historians. Research in Maryland provides information on the five basic types of religious records and where family historians can locate church records for Episcopalians, Lutherans, Methodists, Roman Catholics, and Quakers. The book also includes an overview of the state’s major repositories; and county, court, ethnic, military, and tax records. Other valuable resources are also covered in this concise guidebook.

Published by NGS, Research in Maryland is one volume in the Research in the States series edited by Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FUGA, FVGS. It is available for purchase in the NGS online store in both PDF and print versions.


Patricia O’Brien Shawker, CG, (1956–2015) was a professional genealogist who served as the director of the National Institute of Genealogical Research for seven years. A former trustee and past treasurer of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) Education Fund, she also was a past treasurer of NGS. Shawker was an active member of the Maryland Genealogical Society and a volunteer staff aide at NARA.