Maryland Archives, Libraries, and Societies

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This entry was originally written by Roger D. Joslyn, CG, FUGA, FGBS, FASG for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
Maryland sil.png
the Maryland Family History Research series.
History of Maryland
Maryland Vital Records
Census Records for Maryland
Background Sources for Maryland
Maryland Maps
Maryland Land Records
Maryland Probate Records
Maryland Court Records
Maryland Tax Records
Maryland Cemetery Records
Maryland Church Records
Maryland Military Records
Maryland Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Maryland Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Maryland Immigration
Maryland Naturalization
Ethnic Groups of Maryland
Maryland County Resources
Map of Maryland

Maryland State Archives

350 Rowe Blvd.
Annapolis, MD 21401

In a beautiful building that opened in 1986, the Maryland State Archives, formerly the Hall of Records, is the central place for original source record research. Generally, one can expect to find all colonial governmental records as well as those from statehood up to 1900 and in many cases much later, as it is the official depository for all 'state' records created before 28 April 1788, and for noncurrent records of state agencies, counties, and towns. Some service is available by mail; write for details and fees. Bulletin No. 17: A Guide to the Index Holdings of the Maryland State Archives is available for a nominal fee. The state archives sells microfilm of newspapers (see Maryland Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections). The Archives of Maryland and several hundred other volumes of governmental records and historical publications are available on the state archives' website at

Maryland Genealogical Society

201 W. Monument St.
Baltimore, MD 21201-4674

Not a library, the society is the publisher of the Maryland Genealogical Society Bulletin Maryland Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections.

Maryland State Law Library

361 Rowe Blvd.
Annapolis, MD 21401-1697

Primarily a law library, it also has a large collection of useful books, maps, newspapers, the federal censuses and 1850 mortality schedules, and other items on microfilm. A guide to the library's genealogical holdings is available for a nominal fee.

Maryland Historical Society

201 W. Monument St.
Baltimore, MD 21201-4674

The society provides a free list of genealogists or, for a fee, will have a professional genealogist check their indexed holdings. The society publishes the Maryland Historical Magazine Maryland Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections). In 1883, it also began The Archives of Maryland, now published by the Maryland State Archives, which sells back issues. See also the published guide to the society's collection under Background Sources for Maryland.

George Peabody Library of Johns Hopkins University

17 E. Mount Vernon Pl.
Baltimore, MD 21202

Formerly the Peabody Institute Library, it is best known for its British collection of over 2,500 published English and Welsh parish registers and British and German heraldry. While its Maryland collection is not strong, the library has a wide variety of published material, including periodicals, for New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions.

Baltimore City Archives

211 E. Pleasant St., Rm. 201
Baltimore, MD 21202

This archives has a name index to the municipal records (1756'1938), compiled by the Works Progress Administration (WPA); indexes to Port of Baltimore ships' passenger lists kept by the city (1833'66) and those from the National Archives (1820'1909); and the index to naturalizations in the U.S. circuit and district courts for Maryland (Baltimore City) (1797'1951). These indexes can be searched for a fee of $4 per request. Other useful records here, dating from 1729, include maps, tax records from 1798, an 1868 police census (incomplete), and voter registrations (1838, 1839, 1868, and 1877'89). For more detail, consult William G. LeFurgy, The Records of A City: A Guide to the Baltimore City Archives (Baltimore: City Archives and Records Management Office, 1984).