RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 11, 2016



KINSEARCHING

by

Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825
kinsearching@gmail.com
 

     Always industrious, Vernon L. Skinner, Jr., continues to enlarge his latest series, ABSTRACTS OF THE DEBT BOOKS OF THE PROVINCIAL LAND OFFICE OF MARYLAND. His most recent additions are DORCHESTER COUNTY, VOLUME I – LIBER 54: 1734-1759; LIBER 20: 1734, 1737, 1756; LIBER 21: 1758 and VOLUME II – LIBER 21: 1766, 1767, 1770. Located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Dorchester County, established in 1668, was one of the Province’s original counties.

     On behalf of the Lord Proprietor, the Provincial Land Office of Maryland had the responsibility of distributing land from 1634 to 1777. The Lord Proprietor’s rent rolls and debt books were the means by which he kept track of the money due him. Although these records commenced in 1715, many are no longer extant.

     Skinner arranges the Dorchester County material in tabular form. Categories are the name of the person owning the land, the name of the tract of land, the amount of acreage, and the amount of taxes due. The data also furnish the source’s citation and sometimes provide additional details. The 1737 entry for Rebecca WALL, for example, lists her as a widow. An entry for 1755 states that John DAWSON was the son of Richard and paid money on “Addition to Timber Tree Neck,” surveyed for Richard Dawson in 1753. Apparently, there were two John Dawsons in the area since another entry for the same year gives information on John DAWSON, son of Jonas, who owned the tract known as “No Name.”

     Many individuals who had land in Dorchester lived elsewhere. For absentee landowners, their place of residence was given. In 1758, for instance, William NICOLLS owned 3 pieces of land in Dorchester but lived in Talbot County. Owners also resided in other Maryland counties, neighboring American colonies, and as far afield as England, Barbados, and Bermuda.

     Utilizing the debt books, researchers may be able to trace land ownership over a period of years in cases where land was inherited by women, people died intestate (without a will), or land was not specified in a will. Besides appreciating the value of this important colonial resource, especially its miscellaneous details, genealogists will welcome the easy access Skinner provides to the often ignored material in ABSTRACTS OF THE DEBT BOOKS OF THE PROVINCIAL LAND OFFICE OF MARYLAND, DORCHESTER COUNTY, VOLUME I – LIBER 54: 1734-1759; LIBER 20: 1734, 1737, 1756; LIBER 21: 1758 and VOLUME II – LIBER 21: 1766, 1767, 1770.

     The first volume has 407 pages while the second volume has 339 pages. Both have soft covers, an introduction, and an index to names of all individuals and tracts of land.

     Each volume costs $35.00. To the books’ price, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $5.50 for one book and $2.50 for each additional copy; for UPS, the cost is $7.50 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. The volumes (item orders #8533 and 8534) may be purchased by check, MasterCard, or Visa from Clearfield Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211 (for phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website www.genealogical.com).


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