Skip to content

Welcome to the Baltimore City Archives

Commemorating the 1814 Battle of Baltimore
msa_sc_5890-1-63homepage_detail

Explore Records Relating to the War of 1812 in Baltimore

ADDRESS: 2615 Mathews St, Baltimore MD 21218 [Directions]
PHONE: 410-396-3884
HOURS (by appointment only): Monday-Friday, 9:00am-3:00pm
***[See Upcoming Holiday Closings for days we are closed]***
E-MAIL: baltimorecityarchives@gmail.com

RESEARCH:
If you are interested in researching through our records, please visit our Research at the Baltimore City Archives page.

RESEARCH APPOINTMENTS:
If you are interested in scheduling a research appointment, please visit our Planning Your Visit page. The City Archives is pleased to host researchers, but due to staffing limitations, all visits must be by appointment.

FEES AND CHARGES:
Research appointments (during which researchers are welcome to bring digital cameras- see Policies) are free to the public by appointment only. If you are interested in our other services (research, digitization, prints), please visit Fees and Charges.

THE STATUS OF THE BCA:
The Baltimore City Archives, in conjunction with the Maryland State Archives, is the central depository for Baltimore City government records of permanent value.

In order to fully explore the public record of the public history of Baltimore City, it is essential that researchers both understand the nature and extent of the public record and lend their support to its preservation and access.

Through a memorandum of understanding between the City of Baltimore and the Maryland State Archives, with matching funds provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission for the online cataloging of the historical records of Baltimore City into the Maryland State Archives Guide to Government Records, some stability, however fragile, has come to the records of Baltimore City.

The years of neglect from the late 1980s until just a few years ago took their toll. Archival records such as early papers of the mayors of Baltimore contain fungal/mold decay and pest damage from previous buildings with leaky ceilings and poor pest control. A new adequate storage facility has been rented by the City, and more funding is being sought to strengthen our ability to restore, preserve, and access the permanent public records of Baltimore. Please join financially in support of the Baltimore City Archives by donating today at the Friends of the Maryland State Archives website.

79 Comments leave one →
  1. Ray Glenn Klinger permalink
    July 16, 2013 6:35 pm

    I’d like to acquire a copy of my Birth Certificate.

  2. Eerik permalink
    July 31, 2013 7:39 pm

    How true is it that many [city] records were lost in the 1904 Baltimore Fire? Specifically, property/real estate records? There seems to be a sort of urban legend in Baltimore among real estate professionals the 1904 Fire wiped-out dates of when buildings were constructed — hence a generic rounded-off date for the date a structure was built.

  3. August 8, 2013 11:01 am

    The courthouse and city hall were not lost in the fire and no records stored there were destroyed by the fire. The generic rounded off date appears in the Assessment and Taxation records because research on the building construction dates was not done with the available evidence. The urban legend is just that, a legend.

    Ed Papenfuse
    City Archivist pro temp

    • Eerik permalink
      August 8, 2013 2:44 pm

      I knew the courthouse and city hall escaped the fire but wasn’t 100% certain whether the city may have had a smaller municipal owned or rented storage/archive elsewhere within the burnt district. While it is well known about the many downtown businesses that managed to evacuate vital documents — however in many instances there just wasn’t enough time or means to transport everything. With all the uncertainty of the path of the fire, I wonder if the courthouse and city hall contents were being evacuated? After all, the fire could not have come closer to either building. (And if I am replying to a response from the Edward C. Papenfuse: many thanks! Both for your clarification and a wonderful book of Maryland maps that adorns my bookshelf!)

  4. Doris Keil-Shamieh permalink
    August 12, 2013 1:48 pm

    What kinds of records does the Baltimore City Archives hold? I’m researching my family from the early 1800s. Would your archives hold any information that may help me?

  5. Regina Mildenberger permalink
    September 1, 2013 6:16 pm

    Have a copy of my birth certificate from Baltimore 1943 it is not recognized by DMV for new license. Why?

    • Amy James permalink*
      September 23, 2013 11:48 am

      Regina, I don’t have the answer to that. Birth certificates are court records and therefore the responsibility of the State Archives. They may be able to answer your question.

    • Antoinette Munford permalink
      October 1, 2013 8:11 pm

      Regina, I too was born in the 1940’s and thought I had a birth certificate that my mother gave to me. It was a yellowish-gold record of birth, but not a true birth certificate. Had to send for the real deal for a cost of $25.

  6. Antoinette Munford permalink
    September 13, 2013 4:45 pm

    My family genealogy research came to a halt because most of the 1890 Census records were destroyed in a fire. The 1890 records are pertinent for me to find my ancestors, where they lived in Baltimore and what they were doing at that time. Are there any 1890 Maryland or Baltimore City Census for that year? What other records are available to search? I have done some research of the Baltimore City Directories, but apparently, my ancestors had pretty common names, and because there are so many with the same name, I cannot be sure I have the correct ancestor. Thank you for your assistance.

    • Amy James permalink*
      September 23, 2013 11:51 am

      Antoinette,
      Unfortunately, we don’t have any type of yearly census that could help you. You can see the resources we have for genealogical research on our page- Guide to the Baltimore City Archives for Genealogists: http://baltimorecityhistory.net/guide-to-the-baltimore-city-archives-for-genealogists/

    • Joanne Berends permalink
      July 4, 2014 11:46 am

      The University of Maryland site (through Archive.org) has Baltimore city directories you can see online. IT has helped me considerably.

      http://lib.guides.umd.edu/content.php?pid=355337&sid=2905985

      Also, Archive.org has census records and many books. I don’t know who owns that site but they are great and it is free. However, you have to sift through it because it isn’t easy to find books, etc. on it so I go to google and type in the info I am looking for and then add archive.org and it helps.

  7. David Clurman permalink
    October 3, 2013 12:58 pm

    I am attempting to locate land records from the 1850s. I’ve been to http://www.mdlandrec.net and looked at the indexes and found entries for the transactions that I wish to view. However, I don’t see any documents related to the actual transfer of property – only the index. Where can I see the deeds that the index refers to? Thank you!

    • Amy James permalink*
      October 3, 2013 1:01 pm

      Mdlandrec.net is maintained by the Maryland State Archives, who also cares for those records. You can contact them via e-mail at msa.helpdesk@maryland.gov or by phone at 410-260-6400 or toll free 1-800-235-4045.

  8. October 8, 2013 6:50 pm

    My 3rd great-greatparents came from Baltimore,Maryland. Charles Adams b 1829 how do you get a copy from that date when they didn’t start recording dates until 1875. I went to the church where they were married to get the marriage license and couldn’t get it they were locked up in a volt. I usually go on the Mormon site but they show no image. Thanks, Debra Miller. xstitchdeb@yahoo.com

    • Amy James permalink*
      October 22, 2013 7:15 pm

      Unfortunately, we can’t help too much with that. The Maryland State Archives holds all of the birth, death, marriage, and other court records for the state, and they also maintain a lot of different church records, so I would suggest getting in touch with them.

  9. Jason Otremba permalink
    October 23, 2013 3:44 pm

    The Archived Baltimore Sun periodically gave Pre-prohibition listings for “Liquor license petitions”. For example, June 4, 1906 states ” Office of the Liquor License Commissioners, Room 306, Courthouse”, then listed the Name address and Ward. Do further records exist for these listings? Where are they archived?

    • Amy James permalink*
      October 23, 2013 3:51 pm

      Unfortunately, nothing from the Liquor Board prior to the repeal of Prohibition has survived.

  10. Robert Rawa permalink
    October 25, 2013 12:27 am

    Heard United church of Christ Gave their records to MSS recently since their closing of church at 1728 eastern ave Balto 21231. How can I find Batismal Certificate from 1931 or 1932?

    • Amy James permalink*
      October 25, 2013 10:56 am

      Robert, I would presume you need to contact them. We don’t have the records here.

  11. David Oktavec permalink
    November 6, 2013 4:52 am

    Trying to find the class roster from 1961 and 1962 at what was then Saint Paul’s Roman Catholic Church and School at N. Caroline and Oliver St. in Baltimore Md.

    • Amy James permalink*
      November 6, 2013 12:05 pm

      David- unfortunately, we do not house materials like that. However, the archdiocese has their own archives on Roland Ave. I would suggest checking with them. http://www.archbalt.org/about-us/archives.cfm

      • David Oktavec permalink
        November 27, 2013 1:39 pm

        Thanks Amy, I will give that a try. Have a GREAT and BLESSED Thanksgiving and Christmas season.

  12. LynetricBbridges permalink
    December 26, 2013 9:42 pm

    I am searching for a picture of the apartment projects located at 800 Bethune Road in Cherry Hill

    • Amy James permalink*
      January 9, 2014 2:30 pm

      Unfortunately, we probably don’t have pictures of those apartment projects- most of the pictures we have of housing document houses before they were demolished. I would suggest checking with the Maryland Historical Society, or the Maryland Department at the Enoch Pratt Free Library to see if either of them can help you.

  13. Kate Brower permalink
    January 3, 2014 8:48 pm

    I am looking to find the building plans for a particular property — 1823 Madison Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21217. Do you have these records and is it possible to get a digital copy?

    Thank you.

    • Amy James permalink*
      January 9, 2014 2:28 pm

      Kate,
      If those plans exist in the city government system (which they simply might not, depending on when the building was built, and for whom), they would be at Plans Examining (you can see their contact info here: http://www.baltimorehousing.org/permit_procedure)

      • Kate Brower permalink
        January 9, 2014 8:41 pm

        Thank you!

  14. January 9, 2014 3:21 pm

    What is a bounty application? I have several Baltimore ancestors who made a 4774 bounty application around 1862 and 1863. Thank you.

    • Amy James permalink*
      January 9, 2014 8:03 pm

      The bounty applications were typically family members applying for the money owed to Union soldiers in the Civil War. Without knowing your specific circumstance, my guess would be that your ancestors were all listed on the same bounty application for money owed, and the HRS number for that bounty application for that year (1862 or 1863) is 4774.

  15. Joanne Berends permalink
    January 13, 2014 12:44 am

    My great grandmother was born in either Austria or Germany. She came to this country in
    1882 and wasn’t naturalized. During World War ONE she had to go and fill out a form. Do
    you have any suggestions as to what kind of form she may have filled out? Thanks for
    any insight you can give us on this.

    • Amy James permalink*
      January 13, 2014 12:23 pm

      I would suggest contacting the National Archives and Records Administration to see what they could tell you about that. It sounds like maybe she had to declare loyalty to the US.

      • Joanne Berends permalink
        January 13, 2014 1:41 pm

        Thanks Amy. I did find something called a Declaration of Intention. I’ll have to look into that.

  16. Karen Nicolaus permalink
    January 23, 2014 1:30 am

    I need to determine if 2 addresses existed in 1988. They are:

    1109 Orleans Street, Baltimore 21202 – James Washington

    404 West Baltimore Street, 21201 – William M. Toadvine

    Neither of these addresses exists as far as I can tell in Md. Land Records now, but perhaps there was construction since that time? Do you house City Directories or have any other resources which can determine whether they were valid addresses in 1988? Please advise. Thanks so much.

    • Amy James permalink*
      January 31, 2014 3:31 pm

      Karen, we do not have City directories or any other resources like that for 1988. MD Land Records are your best bet, so I would suggest contacting the Maryland State Archives (they maintain MDLandRec) and getting help using the resources there to answer your question.

    • Jason Otremba permalink
      January 31, 2014 9:57 pm

      1109 Orleans St would have been on block #1313. The MD Land Records block book for years 1977 to 1988 has no entries for 1313. Page 422 is for block 1312 & page 423 is for block 1314.

      • Amy James permalink*
        February 3, 2014 11:55 am

        I would still suggest contacting the Maryland State Archives, just to verify.

  17. January 30, 2014 3:53 pm

    I need to find out the date of my parents actual marriage date and even though I am in ancestry.com I can find it no where. I just need the date not even paper work how do i find it and why can I not find it?? 1963/1964 Baltimore County Beulah B Deal and Stuart M Jessop (FEB13,1913) (March 1 1899)

    • Amy James permalink*
      January 31, 2014 3:28 pm

      Melanie- marriage records are located at the Maryland State Archives. I would suggest contacting them for more information.

  18. Joanne permalink
    January 31, 2014 6:57 pm

    When I was up in Maryland my SIL took advantage of a special and joined ancestry.com and she called them when we couldn’t find our ancestors who were married in 1893. They told her that in Maryland their records are only from the early 1800s and on back nothing after that. I did find on either this site or a link to the MD state archives my ancestors married in 1864. It was the same form my mom and her cousin found in the 1990s when they went to the state archives. Ancestry.com told my sister in law that they don’t like to give out information about people who could still be living to just anyone.

  19. Jason Otremba permalink
    January 31, 2014 7:59 pm

    Through the name index I found a card for Frank Bumba. What further information is available and what is the process for finding it?
    The card stated: ” Bumba, Frank. 1900 – (600) Lay Tracks.”
    Also, what do the numbers mean?

    • Amy James permalink*
      February 3, 2014 12:49 pm

      Jason, if you want to view the record itself, please contact us at baltimorecityarchives[at]gmail[dot]com, or make an appointment through our research appointment form here: http://baltimorecityhistory.net/about-3/research-appointments/. As for the numbers, the first number- 1900, is the year the record was created. The (600) is the number that the WPA’s Historical Records Survey assigned to this record when they surveyed our collections in the 1930s. They started at 1 for each year they surveyed, and went until there were no more records for that year, so this is the 600th record they surveyed from 1900. You can use our Conversion chart to see which record group this is a part of today: http://baltimorecityhistory.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/wpa_hrs_record_groups.pdf

  20. Hannah Jones permalink
    February 20, 2014 9:14 am

    How would you prefer I cite the materials I viewed at the archives in my paper? For example, if I want to cite “Hospital, Report Relating to,” RG19, Series 1, Box 1, Item 225?

    • Amy James permalink*
      February 20, 2014 12:52 pm

      Hannah,
      You’re actually combining two methods of citation on the record that you mentioned. Unfortunately, our system is confusing because there is a legacy method of cataloging and a newer method of cataloging. So, for the record you mention, you can either cite it with its MSA citation (preferred), or you can cite it with its HRS citation. The MSA citation would be BRG19-1-1-2, which you can find by going into the Guide to Government Records (guide.mdsa.net), and typing in the beginning of the citation (BRG19-1) into the “Jump by Series ID” box. From there, you can click down through the details to the item you wish to cite, and the citation is listed on the right hand side of the screen (http://guide.mdsa.net/series.cfm?action=viewSeries&ID=brg19-1-1)- you don’t need to include the BCA part of the citation, because you should also be including the full name of our archives, “Baltimore City Archives” in with the citation. You can also cite by the older arrangement, which is the HRS number, or the Item number that you mention in your comment. To cite with that, you need to include the year and HRS number like this: 1798 (225), and “Baltimore City Archives”. Each year the numbers start back at 1, so you can’t just cite the HRS number, because there is a 225 for every year that was indexed. Hope this is helpful to you- if not, please let me know what I need to clarify!

  21. Diane Williams permalink
    March 12, 2014 10:29 pm

    My great grandfather was a photographer in Baltimore ca 1860-1870. I would love to find out more information about him. His name was William L Spedden. He was also a photographer in Washington DC
    I would appreciate any suggestions or ideas you can offer.

    • Amy James permalink*
      March 19, 2014 3:14 pm

      Diane, if we have any records related to your great grandfather, he should be in our name index, which you can access here: http://guide.mdsa.net/series.cfm?action=viewDetailedSeries&ID=BRG76-3. I would suggest also contacting the Maryland State Archives, the Maryland Historical Society, and the Maryland Department of the Enoch Pratt Free Library. They all have much more robust cultural photograph collections and may be able to help you in your search.

      • Diane Williams permalink
        March 20, 2014 6:45 pm

        Thank-you so much!

  22. Joanne Berends permalink
    April 2, 2014 1:56 am

    Where would 305 North Point road in Canton in the 1880 census be in today’s Baltimore city? Thanks.

    • Amy James permalink*
      April 2, 2014 11:12 am

      In Practical Points for Conveyancers (http://baltimorecityhistory.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/duvall_practicalpoints.pdf), L.M. Duvall says that Point Rd is now Broadway. Looking at the 1887 street directory within the city directory (when renumbering occurred), 305 N. then is now 943 N., which is not Canton but the neighbhorhood now called Middle East, around Johns Hopkins’ medical campus. Does the census say that Point Rd. was in Canton?

      • Joanne Berends permalink
        May 13, 2014 3:00 pm

        Yes it does. Sorry for the delay in answering.

  23. fotyc permalink
    May 8, 2014 1:36 pm

    I am trying to get into part two of the Baltimore City block maps, part one is working fine but I believe my neighborhood is in part two and I get page not available errors for that. I think it used to work… I am doing research about the original owners of the land in my area and would like to get a copy of the block map and lay it over some older maps I found of the ownership prior to first development.

    • Amy James permalink*
      May 14, 2014 11:55 am

      We’ll work on getting that fixed for you.

    • Amy James permalink*
      May 14, 2014 2:50 pm

      It has been determined that access to the block book maps is going to be made available through Maryland Land Records instead of through a separate site. MDLandRec is free to the public- take a look at our page for land records for more details: http://baltimorecityhistory.net/land-records-for-baltimore-city/. Once you sign in and select Baltimore City, there is a link to the Active Indices as one of the options on the left, and the maps are under there. More are available under the Plats.net link.

    • July 4, 2014 1:19 pm

      Unfortunately mdlandrec.net does not do a very good job with the maps associated with the blockbooks which is what Fotye seems to be searching for. If my e-pub of the block maps is to be taken off line or off the site, please let me know. As to her specific request, it would be helpful to me that when there are access problems for an epub that I have created and placed on line, that they be forwarded to me for correction/response. In this case it would appear that there is interest in the Catonsville area and the overlaying of historical mapping related to that area. The earliest mapping of the Catonsville area includes some very accurate plats prepared at the death of Charles Carroll of Carrollton as part of Mary Carroll Caton’s inheritance. Charles Carroll of Carrollton controlled the the assets of his daughter and son-in-law Richard Caton which included the lands that became Catonsville. You might also want to direct her attention to http://lostneighborhoods.org which is meant to help those who wish to understand and make use of the historical mapping of ‘neighborhoods’. As to her specific request, Catonsville is included in the Sanborn series and the Bromley atlases for Baltimore County, including the annotated one I placed on line, and they overlay well on Google Earth. Ed Papenfuse, Maryland State Archivist, retired.

  24. Thomas M Storr permalink
    May 14, 2014 11:40 am

    i would like to order birth records

    • Amy James permalink*
      May 14, 2014 11:52 am

      Thomas- you’ll need to contact the Maryland State Archives for birth records. You can contact them at 410-260-6487 or by e-mail at msa.helpdesk[at]maryland[dot]gov.

  25. Joanne Berends permalink
    June 6, 2014 11:46 pm

    I can’t find French Street on a current map of Baltimore. I was looking at the 1864 city directory online. Does it go by another name now/? Thanks.

  26. June 27, 2014 2:34 pm

    I’m wondering when the Baltimore City civil service (and/or more generally the Maryland State civil service) was desegregated. Was it in 1964 or possibly before? Thanks!

    • Amy James permalink*
      July 14, 2014 10:45 am

      Maxwell,

      I asked the Records Manager and Legislative Reference and unfortunately we do not have the answer. The Civil Rights act of 1964 would have mandated it, but several of the mayors before that time were progressive and may have pushed for it before then, but we could not find any evidence one way or another.

  27. July 1, 2014 2:49 pm

    I am looking for bank records and business licenses for Baltimore Town from about 1750 through 1825.

    • Amy James permalink*
      July 3, 2014 4:04 pm

      Kate, as we primarily have the city government’s records, we do not have any bank records in our collections. What might be helpful for you, depending upon what exactly you are looking for, is our reports and returns from inspectors and auction houses, etc. http://guide.mdsa.net/series.cfm?action=viewSeries&ID=brg41-1 You can go down through the details and see what information is on each record.

      • July 4, 2014 12:45 pm

        For the period, the only large collection of banking records that I know of are the Baltimore Savings Bank records which we salvaged several years ago and are now at the Maryland State Archives (MSA SC4313). I have images of the records relating to ca. 1818-1830 that can be made into an e-pub.

        Ed Papenfuse, Maryland State Archivist, retired.

  28. dave britt permalink
    July 8, 2014 11:39 pm

    seeking information on an cesntero born in Baltimore Town, MD 1792. Do oyu have records for birth, with parents listed?
    Also, do you have historical tax or business info on ancestors that lived in Baltimore town in 1790?

  29. Dan Hughes permalink
    July 9, 2014 6:39 pm

    Does anyone know where the “Methodist burying ground” is or was in Baltimore? I’m looking for an ancestor whose obituary lists him as being buried there in 1820. Thanks.

  30. Joanne Berends permalink
    July 11, 2014 9:14 pm

    If I were looking up land records for 1880 for 305 North Point Rd in Canton, what would that translate as today? What would be the house number on Broadway?

  31. Karen Younge permalink
    July 12, 2014 9:27 am

    I’m trying to find records relating to the manumission of Clara Osier by William Osier in 1842, to find out whether Clara was William’s wife or his sister or neither. Using the “African Americans in Baltimore” link, I found the record. It’s a sworn statement by a person named Thomas Scott that Clara Osier is in fact the person who was manumitted, and referring to the actual record of manumission in Liber TK No. 66 folio (left blank). The clerk refers to these as “Records of Baltimore County” in some of the other entries in the book.

    I’ve looked at the Maryland State Archives site, but can’t tell if the Certificates of Freedom microfilm at the archives (CM821, 1806-1851) is the same microfilm as at your African Americans in Baltimore link. What I need to know is which film to request on interlibrary loan to see Liber TK No 66. Since the folio number is left out I need to get the whole film so I can scan through and find the page with Clara’s record.

    Also, in trying to figure out which record is which, I found William Osier in the WPA surname index. The two entries are:
    “1850 (1083) Union Manufacturing Co Stockholders” and
    “1864” (159) Protest – Arch St.
    Which microfilm do I need to request to see those two items, or otherwise obtain copies of them?

    • Amy James permalink*
      July 14, 2014 10:24 am

      Karen,

      For the Baltimore County court records, you will need to contact the Maryland State Archives for that information, as all court records are held there (msa[dot]helpdesk[at]maryland[dot]gov or by phone at 410-260-6400 or toll free 1-800-235-4045). As for the WPA Name index, those are original records held here. You can either schedule an appointment to come in and see them (http://baltimorecityhistory.net/about-3/research-appointments/), or request that they be digitized at a fee of $35 for less than 100 pages or $50 for more than 100 pages.

      • Karen Younge permalink
        July 14, 2014 7:36 pm

        Thanks for replying so fast. What is the mailing address and procedure to request digitization? Is there a form I need to fill out, or do I just send a letter saying which records I want, a check, and an SASE?

      • Amy James permalink*
        July 15, 2014 10:27 am

        Please send us an e-mail with your request and we can respond from there.

  32. James Risk permalink
    July 14, 2014 7:35 pm

    My doctoral dissertation looks at the technological development (marine telegraph, harbor and coast surveys, dredging, wharves, lighthouses, etc.) of American ports in the Early Republic. I am using Baltimore as my mid-Atlantic case study and wanted to see if the Baltimore City Archives might had records pertaining to those topics or if those would be in the state archives.

    If the city archives doe shave records pertaining to these topics, I would like to make an appointment for next week (July 21-25) as I will be in Baltimore to research at the Maryland Historical Society.

    Thank you.

    • Amy James permalink*
      July 15, 2014 10:28 am

      James,

      Send us an e-mail with exactly what information you are hoping to find for what time period, and we can go from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 33 other followers

%d bloggers like this: