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Land Office and Prerogative Court Records of Colonial Maryland
Volume 415, Page 7   View pdf image (33K)
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As the fourth in its series of publications the Maryland Hall of
Records Commission has prepared for students of Maryland history
and genealogy this work on colonial land and probate records.
Since the county land records and the records of the deputy com-
missaries general, the county probate officers, are not yet all in
Annapolis, it has been thought wise to restrict the scope of these
studies to (1) the records which were created by the proprietary
and royal land agents and to (2) the archives of the central probate

Maryland is fortunate to have preserved such complete land and
probate records. Doubtless much credit for this good fortune is
due to the fact that the record-making agencies were centralized
throughout the colonial period, in St. Mary's City until 1694 and
after that in Annapolis. They were ever under the watchful eye
of the General Assembly whose proceedings bear witness of the con-
cern felt for those records which protected the property rights of
Marylanders. Except for one early incident which accounted for
minor losses, these records have escaped the perils of warfare, civil
and foreign. They have not been decimated by fire or theft, nor
suffered seriously from the other hazards of peace which have caused
such grave losses elsewhere. They are all now to be found in the
modern fireproof vaults of the Hall of Records building where they
receive the best care which a generous State can provide.

All the records considered in these studies are well known to
students of Marylandiana. They have been used and cited by
specialists for several generations. It is the hope of the authors
that this study will widen their usefulness. In the case of the
Land records there has never before been a comprehensive list, or
catalogue, or finding medium of any kind which might serve to
orient the student. It has been fortunate that for the last forty-five
years the present Chief Clerk of the Land Office, Mr. Arthur Trader,
has been a member of its staff. A generation of students has pro-
fited from his interest in, and his knowledge of, these records. Justi-
fication for a published list is twofold: the quality of record cus-
todians is certain to vary and students not resident in Annapolis
are enabled to prepare themselves in advance for studies here.


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Land Office and Prerogative Court Records of Colonial Maryland
Volume 415, Page 7   View pdf image (33K)
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