BaltimoreAmerica’s secondmost populous city early in the 19th century despite its relative youth among the coloniesis notable both as a port of entry and the place where a War of 1812 battle inspired Francis Scott Key to write the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Today, Baltimore’s genealogical resources will keep you up until dawn’s early light discovering your ancestors.
Newspapers: Today’s big kahuna, The Sun, is part of a GenealogyBank subscription (covering 1837 to 1922 and 1990 to the present), but more than a dozen other Baltimore newspapers are in various online collections. For example, several African-American newspapers, including the Afro-American (1902-1992) are searchable in Google News. The Maryland State Archives has a broad collection of titles on microfilm.
County: Baltimore County until 1851; now an independent city
Area: 92 square miles
Motto: The Greatest City in America
Primary historical ethnic groups: African-American, English, German
- Baltimore City GenWeb
- Baltimore City, MD Genealogy Forum
- Baltimore, Maryland, Genealogy and History
- FamilySearch Wiki: Baltimore City
- Directory of Maryland Church Records by Edna Kanley (Family Line Publications)
- Guide to Genealogical Research in Maryland, 5th Edition, by Henry Peden (Maryland Historical Society)
- Maryland Naturalization Abstracts, Vol. 1: Baltimore County and Baltimore City 1784-1851 by Robert Andrew Oszakiewski (Family Line Publications)
- Mount Carmel Cemetery Records, Baltimore, Maryland, 5 volumes, by Baltimore County Genealogical Society (Family Line Publications)
- The Very Quiet Baltimoreans: A Guide to the Historic Cemeteries and Burial Sites of Baltimore by Jane Bromley Wilson and Barbara Alexandra Treadaway (White Mane Publishing)
Organizations and Archives
- Baltimore City Archives
2615 Mathews St., Baltimore, MD 21218, (410) 396-3884
- Baltimore County Genealogical Society
Box 10085, Towson, MD 21285-0085
- Enoch Pratt Free Library
Maryland Room, 400 Cathedral St., Baltimore, MD 21201, (410) 396-5430
- Maryland Division of Vital Records
6550 Reisterstown Road Plaza, Baltimore, MD 21215, (410) 764-3038
- Maryland Genealogical Society
201 W. Monument St., Baltimore, MD 21201
- Maryland Historical Society
201 W. Monument St., Baltimore, MD 21201, (410) 685-3750
- Maryland State Archives
350 Rowe Blvd., Annapolis, MD 21401, (410) 260-6400
Top Historic Sites
901 West Pratt St., Baltimore, MD 21223, (410) 752-2490
Situated where the country’s first commercial long-distance railroad was born in 1829, this 40-acre campus is home to the most comprehensive American railroad collection in the world.
2. Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum
203 N. Amity St., Baltimore, MD, (410) 396-4883
The modest brick home of the renowned writer, who lived here in the 1830s, is now restored and also houses the Poe Society of Baltimore.
3. Great Blacks in Wax Museum
1601 E. North Ave #3, Baltimore, MD 21213, (410) 563-3404
The figures portrayed here show the “power, courage and tenacity” of the city’s African-American population. Included are area natives such as Frederick Douglass and Thurgood Marshall.
4. Historic Ships in Baltimore
301 E. Pratt St., Suite 2, Baltimore, MD 21202, (410) 539-1797
From the US Navy’s first ship, Constellation, to a submarine and a Coast Guard cutter, this site covers the gamut of life at sea with exhibits and relics.
5. Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African-American History and Culture
830 E. Pratt St., Baltimore, MD 21202, (443) 263-1800
Records at a Glance
Privacy restrictions: Only relatives and legal representatives can access certificates created less than 100 years ago.
Research tips: Records open for research are at the Maryland State Archives.
Research tips: The state archives has certificates from 1914 to 2003; the city circuit court has recent records. The state archives has sporadic marriage registrations as early as 1776.
Research tips: Certificates up to 2001 are at the state archives; the Division of Vital Records has later records.
Research tips: Directories were printed every two or three years until 1822 and annually thereafter. Many from 1816 to 1923 are digitized. The Enoch Pratt Free Library has the largest collection of original directories.
1706 | Port of Baltimore founded
1776 | Second Continental Congress meets in city
1797 | USS Constellation launched as Navy’s first ship
1814 | Americans defeat British in Battle of Baltimore
1821 | First Catholic cathedral in US finished
1824 | Baltimore & Ohio Railroad chartered
1873 | Johns Hopkins University founded
1873 | Pimlico Race Course hosts first Preakness Stakes
1886 | Enoch Pratt Free Library founded
1904 | Great Baltimore Fire leads to national firefighting standards
1980 | Inner Harbor revitalized