II. BASIC COUNTY RECORDS
The functions and responsibilities of the several county offices whose records are listed in
this volume are essentially the same from county to county. It is only natural therefore that
the records which reflect the activities of these offices should also be similar. Thus, every
register of wills has in his custody Wills, Inventories, Guardian Accounts and numerous other
record series that are created in the course of settling the estates of deceased persons. In
similar fashion, each clerk of court has certain characteristic records, such as, Land Records,
Judgments and Court Minutes.
However, the manner and form in which such records are kept may vary from county
to county. For example, Guardian Accounts may appear as a separate series in one county,
may be combined with Administration Accounts in another county or may be recorded among
the Orphans Court Proceedings of a third county. In each case the record is basically the same.
To describe such basic records as they occur in county after county would be needlessly
repetitious. For this reason, it has been deemed advisable to describe in detail the key records
of each county office included in this volume. Thus, when the records of each individual office
are listed, it will be necessary to describe only those items which have unusual characteristics
or which have not been previously described.
Basic Records of the Circuit Court
LAND RECORDS (DEEDS)
Primarily a record of instruments pertaining to real property, such as, deeds, assignments,
leases, mortgages, releases of mortgages, powers of attorney, agreements and rights-of-way. In
addition, the earlier volumes served as a sort of catch-all in which various other instruments
were recorded. Some of these were eventually established as separate series, as for example,
chattel mortgages, bills of sale, indentures of apprenticeship, manumissions of slaves, com-
missions and qualifications of civil officers, vital records and incorporations of church, social
and business organizations. Other instruments found recorded in this series are cattle marks,
certificates of strays, records of convicts brought to Maryland as servants, certificates of im-
portation or removal of slaves, publications of freight rates, proofs of age and election returns.
As indicated above, mortgages were originally recorded in the Land Records. In some
counties, mortgages have been established as a separate series; in others they are recorded in
separate volumes, but numbered seriatim with the Land Records.
Record of proceedings of commissioners appointed to reestablish the boundaries of tracts
of land where the original boundary markers have disappeared. (See Chapter 45, 1715;
Chapter 9, 1717; Chapter 8, 1723.) Often, a plat of the tract is part of the record. In most
counties, Land Commissions are recorded in special volumes, but in some instances, they may
be found in the Land Records or Judgments.