There are various resources for records of marriages in Baltimore County. Prior to 1777, the only recorded source of marriages will be in church records, including the monthly meeting minutes of the Quakers. In general, the Anglican Parishes of the Church of England were required to record the births, marriages and deaths of individuals in their parish according to an Act of the Assembly passed in July 1692. Compliance was not always 100%, but these records form the vital statistics for many of the early families of Baltimore County. Originally, there were three parishes in Baltimore (including todays Harford Co.), St Paul's on the Patapsco, St Johns on the Gunpowder River and St Georges on Bush River. The records for St Johns and St Georges Parishes survive from about 1696. However, it appears that the published accounts of St Paul's parish only begin at about 1717. As new parishes were formed, as chapels of ease, they also began to record the births, marriages, and deaths. These would include St Thomas Parish at Garrison Forest and St James Parish at Monkton. Sources for these church records are listed in this website's bibliography. Other sources for evidence or proof of marriages can be found in land records, wills, and probate or administrative records of estates. It was not uncommon to find the widow and her new husband as administrator of her former husband's estate. Published material on marriages from a variety of sources (including church records) are also listed in this web site's bibliography.
Starting at about the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the state of Maryland instituted marriage licences. Marriage licenses exist for Baltimore County from 1777 to the present. The early marraige license listings (up to about 1800) have been published in several sources. At the Maryland State Archives catalog (index card) files there are marriage licenses up to 1851 for Baltimore County indexed by bride and groom. A listing of the marriage licenses 15 to 21 February 1834 is given on this website.
It also should be considered, that a marriage license was not the only legal method of marriages in Maryland until about 1943. Banns were also a legal method of proclaiming a marriage until that time. Banns were the old english practice of announcing in church for at least 3 Sundays the intention of the couple to become married. Therefore, it is possible for a couple to become married without a license in Maryland until 1943.
Other methods of identifying a marriage in your research would be to consult marriage announcements in newspapers. A small collection of marriage announcements in Baltimore area newspapers is being collected for presentation on this website
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