Marriage licenses were the earliest "state" vital record in Maryland. Baltimore County Marriage licenses exist back to 1777. The early records from 1777 to 1851 would include both Baltimore County and what is now Baltimore City. These Records list the data, name of groom, and name of bride, and many of them list the name of the minister. There are at least two publications listing marriages from 1777 to 1799. There is a large card index by groom and bride surname of the marriage license files from 1777 to 1851 at the Maryland State Archives (MSA) in Annapolis. This card file may be the best source for information as I believe it was compiled from the records themselves and not microfilms.
Copies of the microfilms of Baltimore County marriages from MSA microfilms are being transcribed for this website. The films we are working on are
Baltimore County/City Marriage Records 1777-1832 (MSA WK.1396-97)
Baltimore County/City Marriage Records 1832-1851 (MSA WK 1397-98)
Baltimore County Marriage Licenses 1851-1886 (MSA CR 11,303)
Baltimore County Marriage Records 1886-1915 (MSA CR 11,304)
There are some limitations on these transcriptions. First, the clerks handwritting is not always clearly understood with some letters being hard to decipher. (Is it a T or F, is it an S or L, lower case letters such as a and o or e or i are not distinct. etc.), The films are "Best Copy Available" apparently some of the orignal filming was not alway in sharp focus which further adds in the difficulty of transcribing the films; also there is are exposure issues on some pages, so far it seems the bottom on every other page in the early films is so washed out that the names are illegible. So it is not possible to make a total accurate transcript from the microfilms. We can only provide a best effort at the transcription. I have started the transciption project at 1800, since those records from 1777 to 1799 have been available from other transcribers.
There are other sources of marriages available, paraticularly from the early records in the form of returns filed by ministers and also church records. This data appears in various publications of church records, also Robert Barnes has published a series of Maryland Marriages based on the minister returns and church records. These other sources can be checked in addition to the marriage licenses. It is noted here that a marriage license was not the sole required method for Marriage in Maryland, until the 1940s. Marriage by Banns was also legal. Also some Maryland couples (particularly in the northern part of the county) may have been married in Pennsylvania rather than Maryland.
Available now are over 10,000 transcripts of marriage licenses for Janurary 1800 through December 1816 sorted by:
GROOMS SURNAMES BEGINNING IN
|A||B||C||D||E||F||G||H||I & J||K||L||M||Mac & Mc||N||O||P||Q & R||S||T||U & V||W||X thru Z|
BRIDES SURNAME BEGINNING IN
|A||B||C||D||E||F||G||H||I & J||K||L||M||Mac & Mc||N||O||P||Q & R||S||T||U & V||W||X, Y, & Z|
Note for December 1807, it appears there is a page missing from the microfilm as the dates jump from 3 Dec 1807 at the end of one page to 24 Dec 1807 at the top of the next page
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This page updated 21 June 2006