This is the first of what I plan to be a series of postings on doing research in my home county of Carroll in Maryland. Each post will feature a single repository–some well-known and some that may surprise you.
Carroll County was formed from parts of Frederick and Baltimore counties by an act of Assembly, passed March 25, 1836 and signed into law by the Governor on January 19, 1837, establishing Westminster as the County seat. The area that eventually became Carroll County was settled very early in Maryland history predominately by Scots-Irish and the descendants of the English from Southern Maryland. Later, the county received an influx of Germans from the neighboring state of Pennsylvania. Some early family names were Farquhar, Erb, Walls, Brown, Diggs, Levers [Livers], Taney, White, Schilling, Richards, Key, Owings, Shriver, Shipley, Winchester, Warfield, Hall, Davis, and Gist. “Whites Level”, land granted to Capt. John White on September 27, 1738, is the initial site of the original town of Westminster.
Carroll County records begin in 1837 when Carroll was formed from the western part of Baltimore County and the eastern part of Frederick County. The dividing line between those two counties prior to 1837 runs roughly southwest to northeast between present-day Mount Airy, through the eastern edge of Westminster to the Pennsylvania line slightly northwest of Manchester. Anyone looking for official county records before 1837 such as land transfers, wills, administrations, court cases and marriage records should search in the appropriate county. Before 1748, Frederick County was part of Prince George’s County. Baltimore County is an original county established in 1659.
Carroll County Genealogical Society
P. O. Box 1752
Westminster, MD 21158
The Carroll County Genealogical Society, Inc. (CCGS) was founded in 1981 to stimulate interest in genealogy and educate the membership and public in proper and ethical methods of genealogical research and gathering, recording and disseminating genealogical and historical information.
The Society’s collection is housed in the Genealogy Section of the Westminster Branch of the Carroll County Public Library located at 50 East Main Street, Westminster, MD 21157. The collection contains many books and compilations of family histories, biographies, records, maps, and local histories for Carroll and neighboring counties. The Genealogy Section of the Westminster Branch is owned and maintained by the Carroll County Genealogical Society and is accessible during all Library open hours.
The collection focuses on the regions of Central Maryland and South-Central Pennsylvania, but houses some books from other areas. Within the collection, the researcher will find:
- How-to books
- Family histories both published and unpublished manuscripts
- Family envelopes containing assorted research for the family contributed by members
- Bible records
- Church records
- Supplemental materials not included in the published cemetery books.
The CCGS website provides numerous databases for the researcher, such as the List of Carroll County Indentures (1837–1927); the 1850, 1860, and 1870 US Mortality Schedules for Carroll County, and the Lists of Qualified Voters in 1873 by Election District. An alphabetic list of all known Carroll County cemeteries that were in existence up to 1950 with a surname index can be found on the CCGS website at http://www.carr.org/ccgs/resource.html.
Since its inception, the Carroll County Genealogical Society (CCGS) volunteers have produced many publications that are useful to family researchers. Samplings of these publications include:
Carroll County, Maryland Marriages: 1900 through mid-1915
This book includes information from over 4,000 marriage licenses and returns providing name of bride and groom, age, residence, race, marital status, minister’s name, date and place of marriage. The marriages are listed in date order, but there is an alphabetic name index.
Index to Carroll County Records from the Register of Wills 1837–1898 These volumes include over 6,000 decedents and total 688 pages. The two volume set includes:
- Volume I–Index to Wills and Administrations
- Volume II–Index to Inventories and Sales of Real and Personal Property
Carroll County Cemeteries: Digital Edition 2011
This fully searchable compact disk (CD) combines all the material in the nine Carroll County cemetery books: the inscriptions (names, dates, ages, comments) plus the sketches, maps, and cemetery histories. Errors were corrected and newly found cemeteries added through July 2011. There is a master index to all 71,000+ names, and an alphabetic listing of more than 260 cemeteries with their locations and earliest dates of births and deaths represented. Also included is a Soundex index to the variations in name spellings, other helpful files such as a selection of commonly found verses and several photo essays covering aspects of the cemeteries and stone carvers.
These and other publications can be purchased from the Society using the order form provided on the website.
CCGS volunteers provide research assistance to anyone unable to visit Carroll County for an hourly fee plus postage and photocopying expenses. Please see the Research Policy & Request Form on the website.
The CCGS collections are available to the public during the Carroll County Public Library’s hours of operation, which are Monday – Thursday, 9 am – 8:45 pm, Friday and Saturday, 9 am – 5 pm and Sunday, 1 pm – 5 pm.