In 1865 Maryland passed An Act to provide for the Registration of Births, Marriages, and Deaths (Chapter 130, Acts of 1865) which required that all births be registered at the county circuit court. The court clerks recorded the date of the births, the place of birth, the name of the child, the names of the parents, the occupation of the father, the residence of the parents, and the date of the record. The clerks also usually recorded the sex and race of the child. Occasionally an entry will include the parent's names, but not the name of the child. The entries are arranged alphabetically by the first letter of the surname and then chronologically.
A number of birth registers were begun by the court clerks, but compliance with the law was poor. Very few citizens of Maryland took the trouble to register births with the circuit court, so present day researchers must still rely on church records for this time.