St. Mary’s County Historical Society
Research Center
Research Library voluteer with researchers
Our Research Center contains items relating to the history, geography, government, genealogy, culture, and customs of Maryland, with the bulk of the collection relating to St. Mary's County.

Records that are available  contain a variety of items ranging from maps, surveys, business records, and government records, club and organization minutes, school records, diaries, marriage licenses, music, ships' lists, newspaper clippings, family genealogies, letters, almanacs, telephone directories, postcards, family movies, documents of all types, military records, church records, paintings, books and more.

The Research Center is located on the second floor of Tudor Hall. The Center is open on a regular schedule and is staffed with volunteer researchers to assist you. A small fee is charged to non- members.
Based on their availability, our genealogists will conduct research by request on a first-come first-served basis for a fee to help the Historical Society. Please contact the Society for research availability!

Note: Research materials do NOT circulate.
WIFI Connection Available - Bring Your Laptop or use our Desktop

Some of the Available Research Materials
African-American Research Guide: A Research Guide to African-American Genealogical Resources Available at the St. Mary’s County Historical Society (SMCHS).
Archives of Maryland: Provincial Court/Assembly Proceedings and more, 72 volumes, 1637 to 1782, indexed
Maryland Historical Magazine: 1906 to date, bound and indexed

Chronicles of St. Mary's: 1953 to present, some bound and indexed. Use our desktop to display & read issues. View Subject/Author Indices years 1953-1999 or 2000-Present.

Birth/Baptismal Records: Birth Index of St. Mary's, Charles and Calvert Counties from 1898 to 1919 is available. For earlier births, extant church records must serve.
  •  Anglican/Episcopal:
    •  1744-1915 (not complete). Microfilm transcribed on to cards.
    •  1744-1765 only St. Andrews (not complete). Microfilm transcribed on to cards
  •  Catholic:
    •  1765-1820 Diaries of Frs. Walton, Bolton, and Mosely, S.J. Orig. in Provincial Archives of the Society of Jesus, Georgetown Univ., Washington, D.C. The Historical Society has the microfilm. Published in History of Jesuit Missions of St. Mary' s County, Md., by Edwin Beitzell
    •  1820-1859 Parish registers. Most of these have been transcribed onto cards and are among the collections
  •  Methodist:
    •  1894-1900 Transcribed onto cards in the collection
Churches and Parishes:  See:  Research Guide to Church and Parish Resources Avaiable at the St. Mary's County Historical Society.  November 2017.
Census Records: 
  •  St Mary's County: 1790 thru 1820, 1840 thru 1880, 1900 Thru 1930; 1940 Index is available on CD
  •  Charles County: 1790 thru 1880
Marriage Records: St. Mary's County marriage records began in 1794 and are available and are extant to date. Marriage data from all known sources, including official, church, newspapers, and inferred data from probate court and other sources, have been compiled and published in Marriages and Deaths in St. Mary's County, Md. 1634-1900, by Margaret K. Fresco. This book is also available from our bookstore.

Death Records: Deaths occurring in Maryland counties were not officially registered before 1898. As with births, extant church records and other sources must be used. Deaths from all known sources up to 1900 are included in the book cited under Marriage Records, above.

Probate Records: St. Mary's County wills, 1658-1969, are available on microfilm. Other probate records from 1634-1788 are at the State Archives in Annapolis, some of which we have in transcribed hard copy; wills dated 1658 to date are available for research at the Courthouse in Leonardtown Md. and to 1960, on microfilm in our collection.

Land Records: St. Mary's County Deed Books, 1637-1831 burned in the Court House fire of 1831. Except for a volume of re-recorded deeds beginning in the late 1700s, deed records begin in 1831. There are other series of land records that help to replace the lost deeds.
  • Patent (Land) Records 1,2,3,AB&H,Q and 4: 1637-1661: microfilm.
  • Proprietary Manor Leaseholds:1700 - 1768: Hardcopy Book, Gauis M. Brumbaugh, V2.
  • Provincial Rent Rolls: 1660, 1685,1704,1743, 1765: Cover 1635-1765: microfilm & PDFs
  • Provincial Debt Books: 1753-1774 (except 1772): microfilm & Land database.
  • Deed Abstracts: 1786-1829: Indexed microfilm. Also indexed & bookmarked PDFs.
  • Tax Assessment Records: 1793-1846 (not inclusive): microfilm and/or index cards. They are also available in a transcribed/indexed hard copy & PDFs.
  • Alienation and Transfers: 1786-1829: microfilm & PDFs.
  • Surveyor's Journals.
    • Benjamin Tippett's Journals A & B, ca 1840-1870, microfilm & PDFs.
    • George B. Dent's  Journals A thru F, ca 1860-1905, microfilm,hard copy & PDFs.
    • Charles A. Heard's Journals A thru F, 6A & Unlabeled, ca 1907-1939, PDFs only
    • Lewis C. Thompson's Journal A, ca 1907-1915, PDF only
Military Records: The majority of military records prior to 1831 including all Revolutionary War records burned. Prisoner lists for Point Lookout Prison Camp for Confederates are available on microfilm.

Newspapers: The St. Mary's BEACON, 1852-1960, and The St. Mary's ENTERPRISE, 1883-1989 are available on microfilm. The St. Mary's County Library System has begun digitization of the Enterprise beginning in 1923. Those are available at the libraries in St. Mary's County and here at the Historical Society as well as online. Some issues are missing from both series but there is an inventory of issues for each newspaper. In the future we hope to help provide both the Beacon and the Enterprise online.

Subject Historical Files: Material relating to history, government, geography, culture and customs of St. Mary's County, 12 file drawers.

Family History Files: Research records relating to specific families, 19 file drawers.

Some of the above records have been published and are available for sale at the Bookstore or via mail.
Last update: {PAH} 27 Feb 2019,