The following important events in the history of Maryland affected political jurisdictions, record keeping, and family movements.
1632 The King of England granted a charter for a colony where British Roman Catholics could settle in North America between Virginia and what would become Pennsylvania. The charter was granted to Cecilius Calvert, (Lord Baltimore).
1632-1691, and 1715-1776 Maryland was a proprietary colony. The Calvert family proprietors (and Governor's Council) issued land grants to entice settlers to the colony before 1680. Starting in 1680 they changed to a headrights system.For more details see the Maryland Land and Property page.
1634-: Virginia leaders refused to recognize the Maryland charter and continued to sell-off Maryland land on the Delmarva Peninsula. This resulted in decades of border conflicts and uncertain land and tax claims, and attempts by Virginians to incite Indians against Maryland.
1649 Maryland passed the Religious Toleration Act to protect Catholics and immigrating Puritans from each other and create an environment to attract more immigrants.Eight years of religious wars followed anyway.
1682 Pennsylvania began to assert ownership of what became Delaware and northern parts of Maryland. The Maryland citizens resisted including the murder of a pushy Pennsylvania tax collector. These border conflicts would not be fully resolved until the drawing of the Mason-Dixon line between 1763 and 1767.
1706: Baltimore port was founded. It soon became a major port and commercial center.
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.
As tobacco and later cotton farming grew in the South (including Maryland) so did the African slave trade. After 1808, when importation of slaves was banned, the internal slave trade resulted in many slaves from Maryland being moved to more western states like Tennessee and Kentucky. At the start of the Civil War the slave trade was the second largest money making enterprise in Maryland.
1812-1815: The War of 1812 involved many Maryland residents, and some battles were fought in Maryland.
1834-1853: Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O), the oldest common carrier railroad in America, in 1834 reached Harper's Ferry, (West) Virginia. In 1853 it was extended to Wheeling (West) Virginia on the Ohio River.Underground Railroad," a series of safe-houses leading farther north into Canada. The Underground Railroad helped runaways avoid being re-enslaved as a result of fugitive slave laws.
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, but the state of Maryland stayed in the Union.
1864: Remaining slaves in Maryland were emancipated.
State Histories Useful to Genealogists
Good genealogists strive to understand the life and times of their ancestors. In this sense, any history is useful.
But certain kinds of state, county, and local histories, especially older histories published between 1845 and 1945, often include biographical sketches of prominent individuals. The sketches usually tend toward the lauditory, but may include some genealogical details. If these histories are indexed or alphabetical, check for an ancestor's name. Some examples for the State of Maryland are:
- Ethan Allen, History of Maryland: to Which Are Added Brief Biographies of Distinguished Statesmen, Philanthropists, Theologians, etc. (1866; Reprint Fort Wayne, Ind.: Allen County Public Library, 1988?) [FHL book 975.2 H2aL; fiche 6125065]. Digitized in 2007 by Google Book. Includes 18 biographical sketches of prominent citizens.
- Matthew Page Andrews, and Henry Fletcher Powell, Tercentenary History of Maryland, 4 vols. (Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub., 1925). [FHL book 975.2 H2t]. Volumes 2-4 contain biographical sketches.
- Ronald Hoffman, and Sally D. Mason, Princes of Ireland, Planters of Maryland: a Carroll Saga, 1500-1782 (Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, c2000). [FHL book 975.2 H2hr]. 11 pages of a Carroll family descendancy chart.
- Francis Sims McGrath, Pillars of Maryland (Richmond, Va: Dietz Press, c1950; Reprint, 198-). [FHL book 975.2 H2mcg]. Almost entirely biographical sketches.
- Harry Wright Newman, The Flowering of the Maryland Palatinate: an Intimate and Objective History of the Province of Maryland to the Overthrow of Proprietary Rule in 1654, with Accounts of Lord Baltimore's Settlement at Avalon (Washington, D.C.: H.W. Newman, 1961). [FHL book 975.2 H2nh]. About half the book is biographical sketches.
- Hester Dorsey Richardson, Side-lights on Maryland History: with Sketches of Early Maryland Families, 2 vols. (First published serially in the Baltimore Sunday Sun from May 17, 1903 to December 25, 1904; Reprint Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1913; Reprint 1967). [FHL book 975.2 H2r 1967; film 1697311]. Digitized by BYU Family History Archives, Vol. 1, Vol. 2. Unusually detailed history including lists of settlers and document transcripts mentioning citizens.
- J. Thomas Scharf, History of Western Maryland: Being a History of Frederick, Montgomery, Carroll, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties from the Earliest Period to the Present Day; Including Biographical Sketches of Their Representative Men, 2 vols. (1882; Reprint Baltimore: Regional Pub., 1968). [FHL book 975.2 H2s 1968; fiche 6046813]. Several indexes have been published.
- Raphael Thomas Semmes, Captains and Mariners of Early Maryland (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1937). [FHL book 975.2 H2sr ; fiche 6049133].
To find more books and articles about Maryland history use the Internet Google search for phases like "Maryland history."
The Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog lists many more histories under topics like:
- MARYLAND, [COUNTY] - HISTORY
- MARYLAND, [COUNTY], [TOWN] - HISTORY
- James McSherry, History of Maryland from Its First Settlement in 1634 to the Year 1848 (Balitmore: John Murphy, 1849), 22-25. Digitized in 2006 by Google Book.
- John Leeds Bozman, History of Maryland from Its First Settlement in 1633 to the Restoration in 1660 (Baltimore: James Lucas and E.K. Deaver, 1837) [FHL book 975.2 H2bj], 2: 9-22. Digitized in 2007 by Google Book.
- McSherry, 25-33.
- Reginald V. Truitt, and Millard G. Les Callette, Worcester County Maryland’s Arcadia (Snow Hill, Md.: Worcester County Historical Society, 1977), 23-24, 33. [FHL book 975.221 H2t; fiche 6087644].
- Bozman, 2:33-35.
- Wikipedia contributors, "Maryland Toleration Act," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Maryland_Toleration_Act&oldid=269468219 (accessed February 17, 2009).
- Wikipedia contributors, "Maryland—History," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Maryland&oldid=271243474 (accessed February 17, 2009).
- Richard Wilson, and Jack Bridner, Maryland: Its Past and Present (Lanham, Md.: Maryland Historical Press, 1981) [FHL book 975.2 H2wi], 83-84.
- Richard Walsh, and William Lloyd Fox, Maryland: A History 1632-1974 (Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1974) [FHL book H2wr], 24-28.
- Wikipedia contributors, "Baltimore," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Baltimore&oldid=271615328 (accessed February 18, 2009).
- Wilson and Brinder, 81-82.
- Wikipedia contributors, "Mason-Dixon Line," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mason-Dixon_Line&oldid=270916560 (accessed February 18, 2009).
- Wikipedia contributors, "Slavery in the United States," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Slavery_in_the_United_States&oldid=271360102 (accessed February 18, 2009).
- Wilson and Bridner, 113-16.
- Wilson and Bridner, 117-19.
- Wilson and Bridner, 120-22.
- Wilson and Bridner, 126-27.
- Wilson and Brinder, 136-42.
- Wilson and Brinder, 142.
- Wikipedia contributors, "Great Baltimore Fire," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Great_Baltimore_Fire&oldid=269520358 (accessed February 18, 2009).