Understanding What You Find In Early Maryland Records
By Eleanor M. V. Cook
Questions often arise as researchers, whether novice or experienced, find information in the records. What is a "hundred" and what does the word "quarter" mean? How can a will be probated in January 1731 when the man died in December 1731? Why did a mother think she was entitled to part of her son's personal property when he died intestate and left a wife? When were guardians appointed for minors? Does it mean Charles County was moved when a record says land was once in that jurisdiction?
Researchers using early records remember trying to decipher oddly formed letters or to determine the meaning of an obscure legal term. These and other difficult questions can require considerable research, if one can find out where to look. Rather than leaving each person to ascertain the answers, some of the bits and pieces of knowledge gained over the years are gathered here to help researchers interpret Maryland records. This is still a work in progress, so comments and suggestions are welcome.
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