Icon How To Place An Order

Placing Research & Copy Orders

Please note: The current response time for research and copy orders varies based on a number of factors outside of the Archives’ control, including volume of requests, budget, and available staffing.  While typical response time is approximately three weeks, it may take longer.  We ask that you are patient and bear with us while we complete the work as soon as possible.  Orders for documents required in active court cases or for the health, safety or welfare of persons can be prioritized.  However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to meet your deadlines.  For more prompt service, please visit the Archives during our regular Hours of Operation.

GENEALOGICAL and HISTORICAL RESEARCH

Archives staff cannot undertake detailed genealogical or historical research.  We do not search unindexed records or create scholarly works based on record materials.  Research for specific pieces of historical information is beyond the scope of the Archives’ resources.  For such research services, please see the list of Genealogists & Researchers.

The Archives offers research in specific documents such as vital records, legal records, and special collections (church records, newspapers, family records) for one name, in one index, and provides a copy of one document.  For special collections, the fee is $35.00, for public record fees, see below.  All copies of public records are certified.  Private records may not be certified.  Please see the Order Forms page to obtain the appropriate form for specific records.

VITAL RECORDS RESEARCH (Birth & Death Records)

See How To Order Birth And Death Records for specific information.  Copies of both types of records cost $25.00.  All copies are certified.  Please see the Order Forms page to obtain the appropriate form.

GENERAL RESEARCH (Public records such as marriages, divorces, criminal dispositions, tax assessments, charters and articles of incorporation, etc.)

For general research we will need to know:

  1. Type of record (divorce, will, etc.)
  2. Jurisdiction (county or Baltimore City)
  3. Court, agency, or department 
  4. Date of record (Court files are indexed by the initial filing or charge date, NOT by the decree or disposition date)
  5. Names of persons, companies, or institutions involved 
  6. Other relevant information (street address, charge, etc.)
  7. Case number, if known 

The more specific and complete the information you provide, the higher the likelihood the record will be located.

The reference staff will search for one name, in one index, and provide a copy of one document for $35.00.  Lengthy documents will be provided on CD-ROM. All copies are certified.  Please see the Order Forms page to obtain the appropriate form.

CRIMINAL DOCKET ENTRY or DISPOSITION

Please note: The Maryland State Archives cannot conduct criminal background checks. For such searches from 1982 until the present, please contact:

Criminal Justice Information System, Central Repository

300 East Joppa Rd., Suite 1000

Towson, MD 21286-3020

(410) 653-4463

In order to locate a specific criminal record, we need to know the following information:

  1. Full name and date of birth of defendant
  2. Jurisdiction (specific county or Baltimore City) in which the case was heard
  3. Court (Circuit Court, District Court, Court of Appeals, etc.) in which the case was heard
  4. Date of record (Court files are indexed by the initial charge date, NOT by the disposition date)
  5. Charge
  6. Other relevant information (street address, etc.)
  7. Case number, if known

The more specific and complete the information you provide, the higher the likelihood the record will be located.

The reference staff will search for one name, in one index, and provide a copy of one document for $35.00.  Lengthy documents will be provided on CD-ROM. All copies are certified.  Please see the Order Forms page to obtain the appropriate form.

LEGAL RECORD RESEARCH (Other than divorce documents and criminal dispositions)

In order to locate a civil or criminal court case, we require the following information:

  1. Name of defendant and/or plaintiff 
  2. Jurisdiction (county or Baltimore City) in which the case was heard
  3. Court (Circuit Court, District Court, Court of Appeals, etc.) in which the case was heard
  4. Date of record (Court files are indexed by the initial charge date, NOT by the disposition date)
  5. Charge (for criminal files)
  6. Case number, if known

Archives staff will research to locate the case file and provide a copy for a fee of $50.00. Lengthy documents will be provided on CD-ROM. All copies are certified.  Please see the Order Forms page to obtain the appropriate form.

See the Guide to Government Records for our court record holdings. Many are found among the Transferred Records series.

METHODS OF PLACING AN ORDER

You may place an order for research or copy services for legal purposes via mail, email, or FAX. We require full contact information (name, mailing address, phone, and FAX and/or email when applicable). Orders are processed in the order in which they are received.  We will accept credit card payments using Visa or Mastercard. Orders must include cardholder's full name, card number, expiration date, and "v-code" (the numbers on the signature line on the back of the card). Checks and money orders are also accepted. Please do not send cash.

Please keep in mind that all copy and research fees are non-refundable, even if no information is found. However, we will mail you a report on the search and suggestions for further research. We will also determine what agency may hold the records you need and will advise, providing you with contact information.