Maryland Land Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.

Contents

Record Description

These records cover the years 1733 to 1968.

All Maryland land was first owned by the Calvert family proprietors who obtained it from the Crown. During the Revolutionary War, Maryland offered land grant lots as a bounty to entice recruits to fill Maryland's enlistment quotas. After land was transferred to private ownership, deeds and mortgages were filed with the county clerk. These records were created to follow the transfer of ownership and rights to individual tracks of land. They were instrumental in the formation of both local and state governments in Maryland.

Record Content

This collection may include any of the following types of records:

  • General transactions (purchases or sales)
  • Patents
  • Warrents
  • Deeds
  • Certificates
  • Judgements
  • Applications
  • Petitions
  • Affidavits

The key genealogical facts found in most land records are:

  • Date
  • Names of interested individuals such as grantor (seller), grantee (buyer), and witnesses
  • Legal description and location of land
  • Amount of money exchanged

How to Use the Record

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • Name
  • Other identifying information such as the location of the property and the transaction date.

Search this Collection

To search the collection fill in the requested information in the boxes on the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the individuals in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to look at the information on several individuals comparing the information about them to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life.
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Make a photocopy of the deed, or extract the genealogical information needed. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and census records.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Occupations listed can lead you to employment records or other types of records such as military records.
  • Search for the land transactions of a couple and their children. The parents may have sold or given property to a son or daughter. Such transactions confirm relationships that might not be found in other records.
  • Search for records of people in the county who shared a surname. These may have been the couple’s parents, uncles, or other relatives. Your ancestor may have been an heir who sold inherited land that had belonged to parents or grandparents.
  • To find later generations, search the land records a few years before and after a person’s death. Your ancestor may have sold or given land to his or her heirs before death, or the heirs may have sold the land after the individual died. For daughters, the names of their husbands are often provided. For sons, the given names of their wives may be included. Heirs may have sold their interest in the land to another heir even though the record may not indicate this. Continue this process for identifying each succeeding generation.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • Some counties were subdivided or the boundaries may have changed. Consider searching neighboring counties as well since that courthouse may have been more convenient for the person.
  • One deed does not usually give sufficient information about a couple and their children. A careful study of all deeds for the person or the family will yield a richer return of information.
  • For each parcel of land owned, you should obtain two documents: (1) the deed that documents when ownership transferred to the individual or the family and (2) the deed that documents when ownership was transferred to someone else.
  • Witnesses and neighbors, even those with a different surname, may have been relatives, in-laws, or even a widowed mother who has remarried. You may want to check the records of these witnesses and neighbors, especially if they are frequently found in your ancestor’s land records.
  • The information in the records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1900.
  • There is some variation in the information given from one record to another.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
  • Search the indexes for the “parent” county to find the original purchase of a parcel of land. You may also need to search a neighboring county since that courthouse may have been more convenient for the person to record the deed.
  • Check the land records of the people mentioned in your ancestor’s deeds to see if a different residence was ever mentioned for them.
  • Make a list of all residences mentioned in the records within a year or two of when your ancestors came to the county—regardless of surname. Then search the records of places that seem likely or that occur frequently.
  • Create a database for other people with the same surname who lived in the county. Doing this may help you identify which individuals were related. If your ancestor’s records do not contain the information you need, a county database might give you a more complete picture.
  • Search other areas of the index. For example, if the land was sold for taxes, the entry may be in the grantor index under “S” for “sheriff,” under “T” for “tax collector” or “treasurer,” under the names of those officials, or even under the county name. County histories or other records may give the names of these county officials.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

Maryland Land and Property

How You Can Contribute

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 Records.

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


Citations for This Collection

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection Citation:

"Maryland Land Records." Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2015.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record will be available with each record once the collection is published.

Image Citation

The citation for an image will be available on each image once the collection is published.

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  • This page was last modified on 10 June 2015, at 07:26.
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