Using FamilySearch to Discover Maryland Wills

Posted by: Eileen A. Souza

Family Search has a database containing many records from the Register of Wills office of various counties in Maryland. It was updated November 3, 2014. This database contains administrative indexes, administrative accounts, administrative bonds, claims dockets, estate papers, executors and administrators, guardian accounts, indentures, inventories, minutes of proceedings, releases, sales of personal property, sales of real estate, will indexes and wills.

To access the wills go to www.familysearch.org. If you are not already a member, use the Free Account option to register. Once you are signed in, select the Search icon on the home page. On the map select the United States; then select Maryland. A list of databases for Maryland will appear.

Scroll down the page until you see Probate and Court. Select the database named Maryland Register of Wills Records, 1629-1999. On the next page, select “Browse through 1,933,787 images (the number of images will increase as they add records)”. You are presented with a list of counties. For this exercise, select Carroll. Scroll down the page of databases until you get to the ‘Ws’ and ‘Wills’.

To access the will books, first view the index for the years you are researching. The index is alphabetical by testator and provides the Liber No. [Book no.], Folio [Page], testator name, executor or administrator name, and date of probate. For example, “Will index 1837-1939 Vol HGB, no 1” contains as the first entry:

Ann Maria Angel is in Liber J.B. 1, Folio 428. The executor was J. Henry Hoppe and the estate was probated Aug. 10, 1846.

Using this information select “Wills 1837-1852, Vol JB, no. 1.” Then enter the folio number in the image box. This takes you to page 384 in the will book, which is 44 pages less than the page desired. So add 428 + 44 = 472. Then enter 472 into the image box, which takes you to Folio (page) 428 in the will book. At the bottom of the page is the start of the will for Ann Maria Angel. Adjusting the Folio or document page number is necessary to equate it to an image number.

Ann Maria Angel, Liber J.B. 1, Folio 428 (database image 472)

Ann Maria Angel, Liber J.B. 1, Folio 428 (database image 472)

Scrolling past the will book databases, you come to the will manuscripts. If the database name does not contain a vol (volume), then it is most likely one of the collections of loose wills rather than a will book. These wills are more difficult to access since they are arranged by year/month and then will number. To access, just select the years/months you wish to browse, for example, “Wills 1872 Apr-Dec, no 1121-1160”. This database contains 242 images, which you need to browse to see if the will you want is in this database. Most of these databases are under 300 images to make it easier to browse, so if you have a good idea of the date range, you should be able to find your will.

Please feel free to explore these and all the other Maryland databases available in this collection on Family Search. Thank you to all the volunteers who made this collection possible.

 

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