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Maryland: Local History & Genealogy Resource Guide

Vital Records

Based on the date of the vital event (birth, death, marriage, divorce), determine whether you are seeking a state, territory, county, or parish level record. If the record you are seeking has been digitized, you can access it online, through the projects described below. If it has not been digitized or if you need a certified copy, contact the appropriate state or county office to view the record.

Timeline of Vital Records

Birth Records

  • Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene Division of Vital Records
    • Baltimore City: 1875-1921
    • County Level: 1898-1921
    • State Level: After 1921
Death Records
  • Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene Division of Vital Records
    • Baltimore City: 1875-2011
    • County Level: 1898-2011
    • State Level: After 2011
Marriage Records
  • Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene Division of Vital Records
    • State Level: 1951-2011 for all Maryland counties and Baltimore City
    • County Level: Before 1951, availability varies by county

Note: For records after 2011, contact the circuit court where the marriage occurred.

Divorce Records
  • Maryland State Archives
    • County Level: Before 1980, must obtain a case file number
    • County Level: After 1980, County Circuit Court where the divorce occurred

Note: Divorce records in the possession of the Archives vary considerably by date depending on the jurisdiction. In order to locate a divorce file it is necessary to know:

  • County that granted the divorce
  • Case number (can be found in indexes)
  • Names of the parties
  • Approximate date

Online Resources for Vital Records

The subscription resources marked with a padlock are available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress. If you are unable to visit the Library, you may be able to access these resources through your local public or academic library.

Using Ancestry Library Edition for Maryland

Begin your search through Ancestry's vast collections, by viewing the list designated as Maryland records External.

Using FamilySearch for Maryland

FamilySearch provides useful state and county wikis that make excellent starting points for research. The Maryland Wiki External includes links to each of its 23 counties and Baltimore City.

FamilySearch has digitized many of its microfilms containing county courthouse records including birth, death, and marriage. Not all records have been indexed yet, so search engine results may NOT show you the full range of FamilySearch data. You must browse the FamilySearch catalog External listings for each county to view the full set of records available. The vast amount of accessible original records is well worth your time to explore.

There is no fee to use FamilySearch, but you must create a free, personal account to access the databases and digital records.

Obtaining Copies of Vital Records

Visit Maryland Vital Records to learn instructions for obtaining copies of vital records.

Published Vital Records

Below are selected print publications for statewide vital records. The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are included when available.

To locate additional published materials, go to the Print Resources section of this guide for search tips on locating published county courthouse records, abstracts, and indexes that may aide you in locating original records at the county level.