Maryland Register of Wills Records - FamilySearch Historical Records
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Maryland Register of Wills Records, 1629-1999
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|Flag of Maryland|
|Location of Maryland|
|Prerogative Court. Hall of Records, Annapolis|
What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]
This collection is comprised of digital images from court records at the Register of Wills in Maryland. The collection includes records from 1629 to 1999. The records are arranged by county and then by date. The included dates and exact offices vary by county. Many of the volumes have an index at the back of the volume. Additional details will be added as they become available.
Each county began keeping probate records from the time the county was created. Orphan’s Court was the name of the probate court at the county level. Probate records were generally recorded in the county where the person lived. Estates were probated for approximately 25 percent of the heads of households in the United States before 1900, whether or not the individual left a will. Wills were more likely to have been found in rural communities than in larger cities and industrial areas.
Probate records were used to legally dispose of a person’s estate after his or her death. If the deceased had made a will, the probate process transferred the following from the deceased to an executor or executrix: the legal responsibility for payment of taxes, care and custody of dependent family members, liquidation of debts, and transfer of property title to heirs. If there was no will, the transfer went to an administrator or administratrix. A guardian or conservator was appointed if the deceased had heirs younger than 21 or if the heirs were incompetent due to disability or disease.
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.
To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]
|You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for Maryland, Register of Wills Records, 1629-1999.|
What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]
Probate records include petitions, inventories, wills, guardianships, accounts, decrees, and other court documents. Information found in this collection may include:
- Name of the testator or deceased
- Names of heirs, such as a spouse, children, relatives, and friends
- Name of the executor, administrator, or guardian
- Names of witnesses
- Residence of the testator
- Dates the documents were written and recorded
Collection Content[edit | edit source]
Sample Images[edit | edit source]
Coverage Table[edit | edit source]
The coverage table shows the places and time periods covered in the records for this collection. Most of the records in the collection are from the time periods listed in the table; however, the collection may have a few records from before or after the time period.
|County||Years Covered in Index|
|Baltimore City||not available|
How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]
Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:
- The name of the individual
- The date or location of the event
Search the Index[edit | edit source]
|This collection does not have a searchable index. Only images are available. See View the Images to access them.|
View the Images[edit | edit source]
View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
- Select the Name of County
- Select the Volume Title and Year to view the images.
|More images are available in the FamilySearch Catalog Maryland, Register of Wills Records, 1629-1999. Some catalog records link to multiple references. In this case, click on a reference to find a camera icon to see 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 a Probate record to identify adoptions, guardians, heirs and relatives
- Use a will to approximate a death date, then find a death certificate
- Use the information in the probate record to substitute for civil birth and death records for earlier years
- 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
- Search for church 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.
Related Family History Library Holdings[edit | edit source]
- Maryland Prerogative Court. Index to inventories of estates, 1718-1777
- Maryland Prerogative Court. Index to inventories and accounts : 1674-1718
- Maryland Prerogative Court. Index to balances of final distribution books, 1751-1775
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Known Issues[edit | edit source]
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.
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.