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Vital Records of Baltimore City

Vital records for Baltimore City are housed at the Maryland State Archives in Annapolis (see the Maryland State Archives site for more information). The systematic recording of birth records and death records in Maryland begins in 1875 for Baltimore City and in 1898 for the other Maryland counties.  An index to Maryland’s death certificates (post-1875/1898) is available online at at this link. Also available on the guide are marriage records. The Guide also contains a detailed page on Probate records, which includes wills, inventories, accounts, indentures, renunciations, and petitions.

For Baltimore births and deaths prior to 1875, you will need to examine church records. The Maryland State Archives has a significant collection of church records on microfilm and they are cataloged in the Archives’ Guide to Religious Records. The Maryland Historical Society and the Enoch Pratt Free Library also have church records on microfilm. If you are unable to locate the records you need at these institutions, then you’ll need to contact the church directly for access.

If you do not know which church to check, you can do a couple of things — you can check the Baltimore City Directories to find an address for your ancestor and then take a look at city maps to see what churches are in the vicinity of that address. As an alternative, you could check Baltimore City marriages at the State Archives for the marriage of your ancestors, note the name of the minister who performed the marriage, and then look for the minister’s name in Edna Kanely’s book Directory of Maryland Ministers (a copy is available at the State Archives). This directory will tell you the church affiliation of the minister so you’ll have an idea of which church to start with.

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