Thursday, October 22, 2009

Searching in the Maryland State Archives

I visited the Maryland State Archives in Annapolis. I was looking specifically for militia and volunteer Revolutionary War records for a client in hopes of getting birth information of his ancestor or additional family data. It’s not everyday that we find an ancestor in the states during the Revolutionary War, but believe me, there were a lot of Tucker’s.

Needless to say, the search became a needle in the haystack, but the experience was quite successful. The Maryland State Archives’ staff was the most helpful and knowledgeable group I have worked with in a State Archive (and I have visited many for research). The volunteer, that day, was resourceful and had experience in searching for that allusive soldier. She was able to suggest many overlooked options. Unfortunately, time was limited to too few hours and after giving the Tucker family about 5 hours Pro-Bono (do genealogist get to use this word?), my search had to come to an end. Anytime, I go to a new State Archive, I give my customers about 2 hours free. I chop this time up to my “education – learning the repository, retrieval system, and the online website and resources.” But, in this case, I was so intrigued; the customer got a full five hours, in addition to his paid time. (I applied the customer’s paid time to the NARA and DAR research I promised to do in DC.)

I was guided to the Maryland online site to begin my research. I would suggest you do this prior to going: http://www.msa.md.gov/. I also suggest you review the “Reference & Research” site: http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/homepage/html/refserv.html. Be sure to go to “Special Collections.” http://speccol.mdarchives.state.md.us/msa/speccol/catalog/cfm/dsp_online.cfm
This is where you can obtain more information on church records, maps, newspapers, etc.

Your choices are many and for this reason you should limit your search prior to arriving, based on your time. It will take a couple of days to get access after you set up a username password online. Note, however, at the Archive you have immediate access.

For me, I count this visit as educational hours; and for the client, well, he got a lot more than he bargained for and that’s always a plus. What’s even better is I’m familiar with the Maryland Archives, (in Spanish I would still use conocer not saber) and although I didn’t find that Tucker needle, my research for the client at the Md. State Archives, was thorough.


Kathleen Brandt
stradercom@aol.com