Wills and other probate records, important evidentiary sources for anyone searching for clues related to family and local history, are available online for many counties in Maryland. We shared a post about the Maryland probate records online from FamilySearch several years ago, but since these records continue growing, we are updating the post.
- FamilySearch, a nonprofit family history organization, has the Maryland, Probate Estate and Guardian Ship Files, 1796-1940. The name index and images from the Register of Wills office in several counties is available online in this records group. Currently, the following jurisdictions are represented: Allegany (1779-1946), Baltimore City (1922-1941), Calvert (1882-1940), Caroline (1838-1940), Cecil (1851-1940), Garrett (1873-1946), Kent (1749-1940), Prince George’s (1796-1940), and Queen Anne’s (1833-1940), Somerset (1789-1946), Wicomico (1868-1940).
- The Maryland Office of the Register of Wills maintains the online estate search index. A State of Maryland product, it provides public access to information from estate records maintained by the county Register of Wills. The data range varies from county to county and this product is only an index. In jurisdictions such as Cecil, Kent and Queen Anne’s the index appears to go back to the first entries. Since this is only an index, I use it to find a date of death or a date of the filing of the estate. Online patrons may order copies of the documents for a fee.
FamilySearch, the free resource, provides genealogists and others with a vast array of records. But to access the actual documents, in most cases (including wills) you must register for a free account. Be sure to do that as it opens up valuable records as you dig into the past. Byutv.org also has a number of streaming shows to help you understand how to do genealogical research. In one of the segments, there is a show on learning about the kinds of records that are generated by the probate process and the interesting details found in the wills. The next time you are undertaking a family history research project, check out these powerful collections.