St. Mary's County Career Files

Dr. Lois Green Carr's Biographical Files of 17th and 18th Century Marylanders

This website preserves the path-breaking work of Dr. Lois Green Carr, distinguished historian and preeminent authority on life in 17th and 18th century Maryland. Supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Dr. Carr and her colleagues researched and wrote extensively about the economic and social history of Maryland’s lower western shore. As part of that work, they and the project’s research assistants recorded details about the lives of the region’s earliest residents. A grant from The Society of the Ark and the Dove enabled the Maryland State Archives to make these research notes accessible online.

St. Mary’s County Career File Records

The Career File consists of approximately 47,000 5x8 index cards and slips of paper with both typewritten and handwritten notes about more than 6,600 individuals identified as residing in St. Mary’s County at some time prior to the early 1700s. The records for a single individual vary from just a brief mention of a name to extensive biographical information. Researchers began by gathering information about St. Mary’s County residents from the provincial court records, which cover all aspects of early Maryland life. Probate records supplied information about family ties, wealth, occupations, assets, and land ownership. Researchers also examined the 1659 and 1704 St. Mary's County quitrent rolls to identify landowners not mentioned in other sources. They uncovered additional information by searching for known residents in MSA indexes of other seventeenth and eighteenth century records. The final step combined all of the information gathered into an alphabetical file, with summary cards prepared for each individual.

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