I have a brick wall…as we all do. Mine is Joseph Favourite from Frederick county, Maryland. He lived and died in the difficult time period, as far as records are concerned, between the end of the revolutionary war and the 1850 census. I live in Arizona, so travelling to the records repositories on the East Coast to search these original records is difficult for me. About six weeks ago I found a goldmine online; two actually. Those are what I want to share on this Follow Friday posting.
The first is a website, MidMdRoots at http://midmdroots.com/ . This site is created and maintained by Dorinda Davis Shepley. The areas of interest in Maryland are Carroll, Frederick and Washington counties mainly. The site is very well organized and labeled, so finding her resources is extremely easy. Ms. Shepley has included some very useful external links to area historical societies, online newspaper abstracts, area museum websites and other places of interest in the area. There is user submitted information on surnames, cemetery transcriptions and photo galleries. The really wonderful information for me however was her transcriptions of the Frederick county Equity Court Records. Equity Court Records were initiated to resolve a case “equitably” for those involved. It seems to be mostly in connection with estates and probates. In my case, Christian Kuhn died with a will and codicil all in order. However he named an executor to sell his land and distribute the proceeds to his children (all named by the way). The problem apparently arose when the executor renounced his duties. No provision was made in the Will for this. Without an executor, the land could not be sold. Suit was brought in the Equity court to resolved the issue by requesting a Trustee to sell the property and report to the court, at which time the legatees received their disbursement. So the record of this case provided me the father of my ancestor, Sarah Kuhn, wife of my brick wall Joseph Favorite. It also provided me a few more tidbits about Joseph. But Ms. Shepley’s website provided everything I needed to find the original of this information at the Maryland Archives site. I was able to read and download in pdf the entire Equity court case which was twenty pages. For anyone looking for uncommon court records this is definitely a site to check out.
The second website is also a Maryland resource. It is the Maryland Digital Image Retrieval System for Maryland Land Records. The url is http://mdlandrec.net/ . This online resource provides modern day land records as many sites do, but in addition, it provides access to early land records as well. The site is free, but users must submit an application and receive a user name and password via email. This takes a few days to receive your login information but then you have access to these early land records. For Frederick county, the records start in 1748; for Baltimore county, 1653; for Prince George county, 1696; for Carroll county, 1837 and for Washington county, 1776. There is a Users Guide to help with the site and I would recommend reading it. There are indexes to the different record books and with the information from the index you can get to the Original Record. Land records can provide so much information to the genealogist in determining family connections, the opportunity to have access to these original records is incredible.
I hope these two resources will help someone who is researching in Mid Maryland. They certainly helped me.