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Volume 813
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Preface

Howard County Certificates of Freedom, 1840-1863

Index
First page

The eight hundred and thirteenth volume of the Archives of Maryland Online was originally created between 1840-1863. The Archives of Maryland edition was published in 2009 by the Maryland State Archives.

In 1805 the General Assembly passed a law to identify free African Americans and to control the availability of freedom papers. As the lawmakers explained: "great mischiefs have arisen from slaves coming into possession of certificates of free Negroes, by running away and passing as free under the faith of such certificates" (1805 Laws of Maryland Chapter 66). The law required African Americans who were born free to record proof of their freedom in the county court. The court would then issue them a certificate of freedom. If the black person had been manumitted, the court clerk or register of wills would look up the manumitting document before issuing a certificate of freedom.

A typical certificate not only indicates how the black became free, but also lists physical characteristics that could be used to establish identity. These include height, eye color, complexion, and hair color and texture.

Editors note: Erroneous page numbering gives the appearance of missing pages, however, the volume seems complete. The index though does not contain all of the names found in the volume.

Volume 813
Source Document

HOWARD DISTRICT COURT (Certificates of Freedom)
   MSA CM1270-1
HOWARD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT (Certificates of Freedom)
   MSA CM1269-1
Preface


This information resource of the Maryland State Archives is presented here for fair use in the public domain. When this material is used, in whole or in part, proper citation and credit must be attributed to the Maryland State Archives. PLEASE NOTE: Rights assessment for associated source material is the responsibility of the user.


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