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How to Find Public Records in Maryland

Public Records Search: Maryland State Archives

Online researchers many easily reach the Maryland State Archives by visiting msa.md.gov to obtain public records and information for Maryland-related searches. The Maryland State Archives contains records that go back as far as 1634 up through the present era. The website contains a wealth of information relative to searchers and the navigation process is streamlined making the site a great place to search for information.

The Maryland State Archives are located at 350 Rowe Boulevard, Annapolis, Maryland 21401. Their hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8 to 4:30 and on Saturday (limited staff) from 8:30 to Noon. The Maryland State Archives has a toll free number: 800-235-4045. Their fax number is 410-974-2525. Online researchers should note that most areas of research and interest are accessible right from the main page.

To become familiar with the archives, click on Archives of Maryland Online. This area is tailored for online researchers. The online archives provide access to more than 471, 000 documents. Among these vast holdings are city directories, probate records, military records, fiscal records, judicial records, land records, early state records, adoption records, birth records, municipal records, census records, criminal records, marriage records, divorce records, etc…

The reason that searching for Maryland archives is so streamlined is that researchers may click on the type of record they are searching for and they are linked to a page that helps them narrow their search along with information for submitting a request for this type of record and any fees associated with research and/or copies. For instance, click on Reference & Research link at the bottom of the Archives of Maryland Online page. The top portion of the page provides links to view and order records, but by scrolling down, researchers will see a list of links for all relevant archival searches.

As a sample search, click on marriage records. The subsequent page allows researchers to narrow down their search to colonial marriage records, marriage licenses 1776-1886, marriage records 1865+, marriage license applications 1886+, marriage certificates 1914 to the present—to name a few of the choices. There is also a choice for “requesting marriage record research” and “fee schedule and shipping information.”

The archives accepts requests via email (click on the link from whatever records page you happen to be in), traditional mail, telephone and fax. Be sure to check the fee schedule as there are nearly always fees for copies of materials. The fees and services spells out fees for basic research. This page also mentions some of the pertinent information that must accompany your request such as type of record, full name, approximate date and county. Again, it is to the researcher’s advantage to understand that each type of record may have a different submission process. Click on various records to find out the request and fee process as well as to understand the scope of the Archive’s holdings for specific record types.

The site also provides a list of independent researchers who are adept at searching the Maryland State Archives. Contact and fee information is located on the list. These professionals may be able to provide assistance for large research projects that the Archive’s staff cannot perform.

The great thing about the Maryland State Archives is their site’s streamlined presentation of information. They provide thorough descriptions of their records, services and fees. Surprisingly, this is not always the case for many other state archives. Also, these Archives appear to offer more to online researchers than other state sites. However, fees at this agency appear to be greater than at other state archives.

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