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Maryland Genealogy

Most Maryland genealogy records will date from around 1910, when the state began its own collection of birth and death registrations. Some counties can look farther back to 1865.

Maryland Vital Records

The privacy restrictions in Maryland are a bit tighter than other states, particularly for birth records. Copies of birth records are kept confidential for 100 years after the date of birth. During that time, you can only get a copy if it is your own certificate or for your child. Other relationships are not permitted. Death records also have a 100-year restriction, but during that time you only need to be a relation of some degree in order to make a document request. For a marriage record, they remain private permanently and can only be accessed by the bride or groom.

If you are looking into Maryland genealogy and fit these conditions, you can request a copy of any vital records from the Division of Vital Records in Baltimore. Not all records are kept here though. Birth records are held for 100 years, but they only hold death records from 1969. Marriage records are only kept from 1990. Records older than these dates are held at the State Archives. Be aware that the legal restrictions are still in place, and the Archives records must be requested (they are not out for public display).

Ordering from the Vital Records office just means you need a request form (from their website) and the search fee. Send this all to their office by mail for 2-week service or go in person for immediate copies. The fees are currently $12 for each record, with no refunds. You will need to provide copies of your own photo ID with your application along with the names, dates and locations of the events on the record.

Maryland State Archives

As mentioned above, many older vital records are stored at the State Archives in Annapolis. Because they are restricted by age and relationship, they may not be the most convenient options for Maryland genealogy studies. The Archives have much more so this can still be your next stop.

Their public holdings include old maps, newspaper archives, photographs, church records, government publications and a large online database of judicial and legal documents. The Archives website can provide details on what records can be searched and printed online.

You can visit the Archives to do your research for most days of the week, though they are closed Sundays and Mondays. It's free to enter though you will have to pay for photocopies while you are there.

Genealogy Groups

For more Maryland genealogy options, you can contact (or even join) one of the local groups. The Maryland Genealogical Society is the largest one and they cover the entire state. The Maryland Historical Society is also state-wide but they are interested in much more than just genealogy.

There are also many smaller groups (both historical and genealogical) for each county in Maryland. These groups can help you connect with people who know the local area and resources, and can also provide access to personal documents otherwise unreachable.

State Resources

Databases & Indexes



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