Maryland, Church Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Maryland, Church Records, 1668-1995
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Maryland, 
United States
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Flag of Maryland
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Location of Maryland
Record Description
Record Type Marriage Index
Collection years 1668-1995
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
Multiple denominations and churches, Maryland


What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

The collection consists of an index to selected marriage records throughout Maryland for the years 1668 to 1995.

Beginning in 1640, the Maryland General Assembly required the clergy to post marriage banns and keep registers of marriages. Marriage Banns alerted the community to the upcoming marriage through weekly announcements at the local church leading up to the marriage date. The marriage register recorded that the marriage event happened.

The Maryland General Assembly transferred the responsibility for recording marriages starting in 1695 to the Protestant Episcopal Church and their parishes. Therefore, during the colonial period, parish registers became the only place marriages were recorded. By 1777, the Clerk of the County Court was required by the Maryland General Assembly to supply marriage licenses. Marriage licenses were not always obtained by all those getting married.

Those excused from obtaining licenses included:

  • Quakers, due to religious practices
  • African-Americans, until 1777
  • Couples who's marriage banns were published for three Sunday's in the bride's resident county

A license created does not mean the marriage took place. Starting in 1865, the county court was required to record all vital events including marriages and send a copy to the Secretary of the Senate. The individual performing the marriage brought a copy of the marriage license back to the court to have the actual date of marriage recorded in the marriage register books. The creation of marriage records allowed the local clergy to record the religious sacraments utilized by their congregation. Later, the records were obtained by the Secretary of the State to keep track of the population and demographics in the state. These records are generally reliable but may be subject to error.

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images.

For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The following information may be found in these records:

  • Names of principle individuals
  • Age
  • Race
  • Residence
  • Marital status
  • Occupation
  • Date of event
  • Minister’s information including residence

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Digital Folder Number List[edit | edit source]

This collection was published as a DGS browse collection. The list does not contain any description of the DGS folder's content. A table listing each DGS number and its contents can be found at Maryland, Church Records Digital Folder Number List.

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the individual
  • The location or date of the event

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

Search by name by visiting the Collection Details Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images[edit | edit source]

To view images in this collection:
  1. Look at the Digital Folder Number List article to determine the folder/film number for the images you want to see
  2. Go to the Browse Page
  3. Select the Film number to view the images

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Add any new information to your records
  • Use the information to find vital records such as birth, baptism, marriage, and death
  • Search for immigration, military, land and probate records
  • Use the information to find additional family members in census records

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Try viewing the original record. Indexes and transcriptions may not include all the data found in the original records. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name
  • If your ancestor does not have a common name, collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you identify possible relatives that can be verified by records
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby locality in an area search
  • Try variant spellings of your ancestor’s name
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of Maryland.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?[edit | edit source]

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Historical Records/Guidelines for Articles.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.