Illinois Ancestors: Books list early Maryland marriage records

Illinois Ancestors: Books list early Maryland marriage records

The county clerks of Baltimore County, Md., began recording marriage licenses in 1777 — and those earliest records have been published.

Michael A. Ports has continued transcribing marriage records from the microfilm of the original records at the Maryland State Archives and has now published the information from these licenses in "Baltimore County, Maryland Marriage License, May 1, 1798, to February 11, 1815" (with about 10,000 marriages) and "Baltimore County, Maryland Marriage Licenses February 11, 1815, to April 30, 1823" (with about 6,000 marriages.)

These records are presented in chart form, in alphabetical order by the surname of the groom; other information includes the date of the license, license number, name of bride, surname of the minister, and page number.

There is a surname index to the brides. Only about 57 percent of the entries include the name of the minister. According to the site, "The absence of the minister's surname could indicate that the marriage did not take place, the minister failed to return the license after the ceremony, or the clerk failed to record the name after the return was received. A review of published marriages from local newspapers indicates that many of those marriages did take place."

For example, in the book having his earlier transcriptions, there is the following entry on page 116: "11 Feb 1815 / 358 / Hoover, Daniel / Catherine Lamott / [no minister listed] / page 266." It should be noted that the titles of both marriage books include the date "11 February 1815."

Upon a cursory examination, it appears that the earliest marriage license data in the second volume, is for 14 February 1815, when three licenses were issued: Peter Armstrong / Barthsheba Waterton (page 8), George Rush / Mary Krebs (page 176), and Eli Simkins / Maria Carnan (page 185).

Ports' introduction includes very helpful information pertaining to transcribing such handwritten entries. He explains the difficulty in deciphering such letters as ie versus ei, and a versus o, and he follows the guidelines in Kip Sperry's book, "Reading Early American Handwriting" — good advice for any researcher.

"Baltimore County, Maryland Marriage Licenses May 1, 1798, to February 11, 1815" is a 308-page, softcover book, ISBN 978-0-8063-5665-5, that can be ordered as item No. 8469 from Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc., 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Suite 260, Baltimore, MD 21211 at $36 plus shipping (first item $5.50; each additional item $2.50).

"Baltimore County, Maryland Marriage Licenses February 11, 1815, to April 30, 1823" is a 262-page, softcover book, ISBN 978-0-8063-5666-2, that can be ordered as item No. 8470 from the same publisher @ $36 plus shipping. Visa and MasterCard orders can also be placed at 800-296-6687 or online at

Free Irish e-magazine

The most current issue of "Irish Lives Remembered," (November 2013, Issue 18), free genealogy e-magazine that can be read/downloaded at, is now available.

This issue provides information on records available for anyone researching County Laois including an article, "The Surnames of County Laois."

Australian genealogist Shauna Hicks' article, "Finding the Irish in Colonial Victoria: Online Resources" covers specifics as well as a tip regarding maps.

Part 2 of "Irish Family History Research Online" by Fiona Fitzsimmons includes free resources that may be unfamiliar to some.

Sophia Hillen provides interesting information she has found on author Jane Austen's nieces in Ireland.

Pre-1858 wills are held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, and an index is available online; the magazine's article provides details.

A reunion of the Feerick family was held in September; photographs and family details are provided by descendants.

A July 1918 Morrisey family portrait is accompanied by information on props and wardrobe of that era.

Anyone with Irish ancestry is sure to enjoy this colorful, informative 64-page publication.

Remember JFK assassination?

Many people who were living on Nov. 22, 1963, can vividly recall details of where they were, what they were doing and what they were thinking when they first learned of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy that day — 50 years ago!

Have such details been included in your family records? They should be! Later generations need to be aware of personal feelings, especially regarding such a tragic event.

Perhaps your family's subsequent activities should also be noted. It is only by leaving a written record that those who follow us will get to know us better, to know our thoughts, our fears, our expectations — and even our dreams.

Queries, genealogical questions from researchers and genealogical materials readers would like to share will be printed in this column free. Joan Griffis may be reached via email at or by sending a letter to Illinois Ancestors, c/o The News-Gazette, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.

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