The Archivist's Bulldog

Vol. 11 No. 13, Newsletter of the Maryland State Archives, June 9, 1997


The Maryland State Archives and the Anne Arundel County Schools have been awarded a two-year grant of $170,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to train teachers in the use of internet technology in the classroom. The NEH has also awarded an additional $5000 to match the gift of the same amount from the 21st Century Education Foundation. State Archivist Dr. Edward C. Papenfuse and Anne Arundel County Schools Superintendent Dr. Carol Parham made the announcement of the grant today.

The grant will be used for a two-week summer institute at the Archives in Annapolis, from August 4-15, and for school-year activities in 1997 and 1998. Teachers from twelve county schools will be trained in the use of the technology of the internet in the classroom, as well as the use of facsimiles of original documents to enrich the teaching of history and social studies. The grant will also provide the schools with direct access to government information and services available through Maryland Electronic Capital which is maintained by the Archives. The teachers first work in the electronic classroom at the Archives and then in computer labs in their own schools.

Governor Parris N. Glendening said in his support of the grant application: "This project has my support because of the experiences it provides for students to develop important skills. In today's economy, most high-paying jobs require skills in finding, analyzing, and manipulating information. This program also is consistent with my administration's efforts to link Maryland students with the latest in information technology" Dr. Parham said of the project: "The power of this program is in its focus on learning. Anne Arundel County students in the project are using original historic documents in an interactive classroom, and teachers are developing materials in their own lessons. The program provides access to new sources of information and supports professional development with help from the Maryland State Archives staff, county curriculum leaders and visiting scholars."

This program continues a partnership between the Archives and the Anne Arundel County Schools which began two years ago with workshops to train teachers in the electronic classroom at the Archives. Most of the computers in this classroom have been funded by the Anne Arundel County Schools. The Anne Arundel County schools taking part in the program will be: Annapolis High, Bates Middle, Georgetown East Elementary, Arundel High, Crofton Middle, Waugh Chapel Elementary, Chesapeake High, Chesapeake Bay Middle, Bodkin Elementary, Northeast High, George Fox Middle, and Solley Elementary.


Ed accepts portrait from Mrs. Audrey Teurke-O'Meara

A previously unknown 18th century portrait of a member of the Calvert family has been donated to the state by a Maryland family. The portrait is believed to be by Charles Bridges, an English portraitist who worked primarily in Virginia from 1735-1745, and is entitled "A Member of the Calvert Family." Members of the Tuerke family came to the Maryland State Archives on Wednesday, June 18 at 1:30 p.m. to present the portrait to the Maryland Commission on Artistic Property. The portrait was accepted for the state by Maryland State Archivist Dr. Edward C. Papenfuse.

The portrait was given to the state by Mrs. Audrey Tuerke-O'Meara of Easton whose late husband, William A. Tuerke, Jr., inherited it from his father, Willam A. Tuerke, Sr. of Rose Hill Farm in Pikesville, on his death in 1972. The portrait has been in the Tuerke family since the 1930s. Mrs. Tuerke-O'Meara said in giving the gift: "I feel that in donating this portrait to the state of Maryland it is exactly where it should be. This painting has been in the Tuerke family for 70 years, and I am honored today to present it with the knowledge that it will always be cared for and held in a place of honor in the Archives of Maryland."

Preliminary research by the Archives' staff indicates that the subject of the portrait may be Benedict Calvert, 1724-1788, who had close ties to both Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties. Benedict Calvert was born in England, the illegitimate son of Charles Calvert, the fifth Lord Baltimore; the identity of his mother was never revealed. He immigrated to Maryland in 1742 and lived on Francis Street in Annapolis. In 1748, he married his cousin Elizabeth Calvert, daughter of Charles Calvert, Governor of Maryland, and moved to the Calvert House on State Circle in Annapolis where they lived until the early 1760s when they moved to Mt. Airy in Prince George's County. Benedict held a number of public positions, including being a member of the Upper House, a member of the Council and an Annapolis councilman.

Charles Bridges, ca. 1670-1747, was born in England and went to Virginia around 1735 where he painted portraits of members of a number of the artistocratic families. His best known portrait is of Alexander Spottswood which is now in Colonial Williamsburg. Very little is known of his career in England and only one painting attributed to him has been identified from the period before his immigration to Virginia.


On July 1, we welcomed Emily Oland Squires as an Archivist IV. She is a former intern and volunteer who will be directing the Archives' biographical research. Shirley Salisbury has been reclassified as an Archivist II.


Another in our series of workshops on using records at the Archives and elsewhere to do genealogical research was held on June 28. Thirty three participants took part in the all-day worshop which focused on using vital records and was led by Pat Anderson, Bob Barnes, Mary Meyer and Henry Peden. These leaders donated their time and talent and, as a result, the workshop raised $1239 for our endowment fund. The workshop was so oversubscribed that the leaders have agreed to do another one on August 2 for those who tried to sign up and could not get in. There are a few places left.

by Pat Melville

As usual during the spring months, the Archives helped many students with papers and other projects for history classes. Many of the research topics discussed in this report covering the second quarter of 1997 fall within this category.

Economic topics included lime kilns, grist mills, minority businesses, Weverton Manufacturing Co., and Oakland Mill in Baltimore County. Women's studies involved their roles in maritime history and women of achievement in Maryland. Background research for archaeological sites pertained to Londontown and Bloodsworth Island. Political subjects concerned the Declaration of Rights, Compact of 1785, and Democratic Party in the 1850s.

Elements of the civil rights movement in the 20th century were featured in several research endeavors, including the historical phase in general, riots in Cambridge, Black Panther Party in Maryland, school desegration in Baltimore County, and Thurgood Marshall and the Brown case. Related African-American topics pertained to exiles from the United States, slave ships, underground railroad, and schools in Prince George's County from 1865 to 1945.

Land studies concerned shore erosion and agriculture and land use on Sotterly Plantation in St. Mary's County. Education subjects included redistricting for schools in Anne Arundel County, Maryland State Agricultural College, and St. John's College. Local area topics involved Arnold, Eastport, and inhabitants of Green Street in Annapolis.

Biographical endeavors centered around Dr. Samuel Mudd, Governor Francis Nicholson, Dr. Alexander Hamilton, Leonard Calvert, and Pennsylvania legislators in the colonial and Revoluntary periods. Civil War studies included soldiers from Howard County and Annapolis and Baltimore City during that time period. Transportation research pertained to train depots in Maryland, small boats of the 17th century, and roads and highways from 1930 to 1940.

One researcher was investigating Maryland privateers in the Revolutionary War, and another the founding of Maryland. Miscellaneous topics included suburban sprawl, first Latter-day Saint Church in Maryland (in Capital Heights), Eastern Shore baseball teams, witchcraft trials, and yachting in Annapolis.

by Heather Ravanbakhsh

Baltimore City Death Records, 1875-1972

In 1874 Baltimore City's Mayor and City Council passed an ordinance for the registration of deaths in the city. The ordinance required that the Commissioner of Health record the "full name of the deceased, color, sex, age, married or single, occupation, birthplace, date of death, cause of death, when a minor, the name of the father and mother, ward, street and number of house, date of burial, date of certificate, date of registration" (No. 86, Ordinances of 1874). The early certificates also include the names of the attending physician and the informant, as well as date and place of burial. In 1903, the city revised the form to include the date of birth and the place of residence of the deceased. In 1919, the form was again revised to include the name of the deceased's spouse. For a brief period of time, from 1914 to 1919 Baltimore also maintained a separate group of death certificates for patients who died in hospitals. The Baltimore City death records are arranged in numerical order by certificate number, making them roughly chronological. However, to conduct an efficient search, a researcher should use the death index to obtain a certificate number, rather than searching though the certificates one by one.

Although the State Board of Health began regulating death registration for the 23 counties in 1898, Baltimore City continued to maintain its own records until 1972. At some point the city microfilmed the death certificates, and unfortunately the original certificates for the years 1875 to 1949 were destroyed after the filming. The only extant copies of these certificates are now the microfilm copies. The Maryland State Archives holds the Baltimore City death records in the following series:

County Death Records, 1898-1972

In 1898, the General Assembly passed a law regarding the registration of deaths in the 23 counties. The law declared that "the secretary of the State Board of Health shall be the State Registrar of Vital Statistics for Maryland; he shall. . . prepare the necessary methods, books, and forms for accurate registration of . . .deaths; and shall supply the local registrars, health officers, ministers, physicians, undertakers, midwives and other persons. . . the proper blanks, forms and books of record" (Chapter 312, Acts of 1898). This law initiated the recording of deaths in the 23 counties. It did not affect the city of Baltimore, however, because Baltimore's Health Department had been registering deaths since 1875. Initially, compliance with with the law on the local level was incomplete. As the state Board of Health gradually increased its control over the local boards, registration became more reliable. Researchers should keep in mind, however, that as late as 1914 the Board of Health was still trying to increase compliance with the law, and some deaths went unrecorded.

The 1898 law dictated that "the record of a death shall state the date and place of its occurence, name, age, sex, color, condition, birth place, cause of death, duration of illness; the names, residence and color of parents, and the name and and address of the attending physician." By 1911, the death records also included occupation, birth date, place of burial, and the name of the informant. In 1931 the Bureau of Vital Statistics added the residence of the deceased and the name of the spouse, if any. From 1898 to 1923 and from 1931 to 1972 the certificates are arranged chronologically by year and month, then alphabetically by county, and finally alphabetically by surname. The records from 1924 to 1930 are arranged first by year, then by county, and then alphabetically by surname. Both arrangements make it possible to find a death record if the name, county, and month and year of death are known. The Archives does have indexes in which to look up the date and place of death if that information is uncertain.

The Maryland State Archives holds the following death records for the 23 counties:

State Death Records (City and County), 1972-1987

On July 1, 1972 the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Division of Vital Records took over the responsibility of registering Baltimore City deaths from the Baltimore City Health Department, Bureau of Vital Statistics. Thereafter, the separate series maintained by the two agencies became a single series of records covering both Baltimore City and the 23 counties:

These death records give the name, sex, race, age, marital status, birthplace, and occupation of the deceased; the date, place, and cause of death; names and birthplaces of parents; name of spouse, if any; names of attending physician and informant; and the date and place of burial. The certificates are arranged chronologically by month and year, then alphabetically by jurisdiction, and finally alphabetically by surname of the deceased.

The index for these death records is in electronic format, accessible internally by the Archives' staff.

Founded 1987

Edward C. Papenfuse, State Archivist
Patricia V. Melville, Editor
Mimi Calver, Assistant Editor
Lynne MacAdam,Production Editor
Rita Molter, Circulation

The Maryland State Archives is an independent agency in the Office of Governor Parris N. Glendening and is advised by the Hall of Records Commission. The Chairman of the Hall of Records Commission is the Honorable Louis L. Goldstein, Comptroller, and the Vice Chairman is the Honorable Robert M. Bell, Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals.

The Archivists' Bulldog is issued bi-monthly to publicize records collections, finding aids, and other activities of the Archives and its staff. Subscription cost is $25 per year, and the proceeds go to the State Archives Fund. To subscribe, please send your name, address, and remittance to: the Maryland State Archives, 350 Rowe Boulevard, Annapolis, Maryland 21401-1686. Phone: MD toll free: (800) 235 4045; or (410) 260-6400. FAX: (410) 974 3895. E-mail: The Editor welcomes editorial comments and contributions from the public.

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