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Allegany Includes Cumberland, Frostburg, George's Creek, and Lonaconing.
Anne Arundel Includes Admiral, Annapolis, Camp Meade, Fort George G. Meade, Glen Burnie, Hanover, Severna Park, and Shadyside.
Baltimore City Includes Baltimore City.
Baltimore County Includes Arbutus, Catonsville, Cockeysville, Dundalk, Essex, Fullerton, Garrison, Glyndon, Halethorpe, Hereford, Loch Raven, Lutherville, Middle River, Owings Mills, Parkville, Pikesville, Powhatan, Randallstown, Reisterstown, Ruxton, Sparrows Point, Timonium, and Towson.
Calvert Includes Barstow, Chesapeake Beach, North Beach, and Prince Frederick.
Caroline Includes Denton, Federalsburg, Greensboro, Preston, and Ridgely.
Carroll Includes Hampstead, New Windsor, Manchester, Mount Airy, Silver Run, Sykesville, Taneytown, Union Bridge, Uniontown, and Westminster.
Cecil Includes Chesapeake City, Elkton, North East, Perryville, Port Deposit, and Rising Sun.
Charles Includes La Plata, Port Tobacco, and Waldorf.
Dorchester Includes Cambridge, Hurlock, and Vienna.
Frederick Includes Brunswick, Emmitsburg, Frederick, Libertytown, Mechanicstown, Middletown, Mount Airy, Myersville, Thurmont, Walkersville, and Woodsboro.
Garrett Includes Grantsville, Kitzmiller, and Oakland.
Harford Includes Aberdeen, Abingdon, Bel Air, Darlington, Havre de Grace, and Joppa.
Howard Includes Columbia, Ellicott City, Savage, and Simpsonville.
Kent Includes Chestertown.
Montgomery Includes Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Clarksburgh, Damascus, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Kensington, Laytonsville, Olney, Potomac, Rockville, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, and Wheaton.
Prince George's Includes Adelphi, Beltsville, Bladensburg, Bowie, Brandywine, Brentwood, Capitol Heights, Cheverly, Clinton, College Park, District Heights, Forest Heights, Glen Dale, Greenbelt, Hyattsville, Landover, Lanham, Laurel, Marlton, Mount Rainier, New Carrollton, Oxon Hill, Riverdale, Seabrook, Takoma Park, Temple Hills, and Upper Marlboro.
Queen Anne's Includes Centreville, Chester, Grasonville, Queenstown, and Stevensville.
St. Mary's Includes Leonardtown and Lexington Park.
Somerset Includes Crisfield, Marion Station, and Princess Anne.
Talbot Includes Easton, Oxford, St. Michaels, and Trappe.
Washington Includes Boonsboro, Clearspring, Elizabeth Town, Hagerstown, Hancock, Keedysville, Sharpsburg, and Williamsport.
Wicomico Includes Salisbury and Sharptown.
Worcester Includes Berlin, Newtown, Ocean City, Pocomoke City, and Snow Hill.
Unknown Churches whose county is unknown or not recorded.


About This GuideAbout This Guide

The Guide to Maryland Religious Records is not intended to be a complete listing of all religious institutions in Maryland. Instead, it is originally based upon the churches recorded by the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) during a records survey conducted from 1935 to 1941. It has been expanded by later acquisitions from religious organizations to the Maryland State Archives.

Our Guide shows two types of records. Those that are inventoried in the government record series MSA S 1512, HALL OF RECORDS COMMISSION (Historical Records Survey, Churches) 1935-1941 and those in the custody of the Archives’ Special Collections. These records are significant since systematic recording of vital records was not established until 1875 for Baltimore City and 1898 for Maryland counties, religious records are often the only source for birth and death information.

Primary access to the collections is through microfilm for religious records in the custody of the Archives. Due to the often fragile condition of these paper volumes, we do not circulate original parish registers.

In many cases, the WPA historical records survey file is the only information available at the Maryland State Archives regarding the records of a particular religious organization. The WPA record will appear with its corresponding series number in MSA S 1512.

Please note: The Archdiocese of Baltimore has restricted access to post-1940 Roman Catholic baptisms. We cannot provide access to these records without the permission of the Archdiocese.
Types of Religious Records at MSATypes of Religious Records at MSA

There are five basic types of religious records which are preserved. Exact titles of these records will vary, but they basically consist of:

Administrative Records. These often include minutes of the Board of Trustees, session minutes, official board minutes, and vestry minutes.

Vital Records. Usually membership records, registers of births, marriages, deaths, etc. In some denominations, such information is recorded in the administrative records.

Financial Records. Usually treasurer's records, account books, and steward's records.

Miscellaneous Records. Those records unique to a particular denomination, such as Bar Mitzvah and Bas Mitzvah records, class books, missionary records, or cemetery records.

Loose Papers or Documents. May be composed of letters, plats, deeds, loose minutes, receipts, etc.
Research GuidesResearch Guides

Maryland State Archives, Guide to Government Records: Understanding Church Records

See also the Maryland State Archives Library Homepage for the particular denomination you intend to research, see the Religious History section.

Kanely, Edna A., compiler, The Genealogical Council of Maryland. Directory of Maryland Church Records. Westminster, Md. : Family Line Publications, [1993], 1987.

Kanely, Edna Agatha. Directory of ministers and the Maryland churches they served, 1634-1990 2 volumes. Westminster, Md.: Family Line Publications, 1991.

The Guide to Maryland Religious Institutions is dedicated to the memory of Phebe R. Jacobsen (1922-2000), former senior archivist of the Maryland State Archives, whose diligence, careful research, and love of history made this guide possible.

This web site is presented for reference purposes under the doctrine of fair use. When this material is used, in whole or in part, proper citation and credit must be attributed to the Maryland State Archives. PLEASE NOTE: The site may contain material from other sources which may be under copyright. Rights assessment, and full originating source citation, is the responsibility of the user.

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