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PGCGS Prince George's County
Genealogical Society

Early Records of the White Marsh Church
Prince George's County, Maryland

This church is known today as Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Bowie, MD

Four books of important church records have been combined into a 402 page volume with individual indexes provided for the books. Original records have been transcribed from Latin. While dates in the four books run from 1819 to 1904, the dates are not continuous. Gaps in the records occurred due to fires, loss, etc. The Society is indebted to the late Msgr. John F. Hogan and Msgr. Charles J. Parry, former and current pastors of Sacred Heart for their encouragement and support of this project.

Book One: Diaries of Father Dietz and Father Wiget, 1853-1892, pages 1-34
Book Two: Diary of Father Gardiner, 1897-1904, pages 35-104; index to both Diaries, pages 105-112
Book Three: Baptismal Records 1853-1872; Confirmation Records Sep 16, 1860;
Partial Index from original book. Pages 1-97 & index, pages 99-134
Book Four: Catalogue of Members 1819; Baptisms 1819-1833; Marriages
1818-1857 (incomplete)
; Burials 1819-1822 & 1874-1897; Communions 1819.
Pages 1-94 & index pages 95-122

The Early Records of the White Marsh Church present the trials and tribulations of establishing a church, and the clergy associated with same. Most importantly it provides a fascinating history of the people who populated the area, every day landowners, large farm and plantation owners, their families and those of their slaves.

These families were white, black, free and slave. The book is full of their names, dates, relationships both familial and property, and provides birth, marriage and death information before registration of vital statistics became mandatory in 1898. This book is undoubtedly the most important work the Society has published that contributes to African American ancestral research.

Geographically these records primarily cover portions of Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties but also contain references to Baltimore, Charles and St. Mary’s Counties and Washington, DC.

As for location, White Marsh was described as being 14 miles from Annapolis, 33 miles from Baltimore, southwest of Upper Marlboro and 8 miles south of Queen Anne. In its time, the White Marsh Plantation, lying in both Anne Arundel and Prince George’s Counties, consisted of 4,000 acres, with two farms. In 1832 there were 104 slaves on the White Marsh Plantation.

The Prince George’s County Genealogical Society is pleased to announce its newest publication. The book is available at the Society’s Library, at meetings and by mail. Contact: PGCGS, POB 819, Bowie, MD 20718-0819;, or 301-262-2063.