Kinsearching October 24, 2010




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     Making excellent progress in the continuation of his distinguished series of genealogical extracts, V. L. Skinner, Jr., recently completed the twenty-sixth volume in the set: ABSTRACTS OF THE TESTAMENTARY PROCEEDINGS OF THE PREROGATIVE COURT OF MARYLAND, VOLUME XXVI: 1749-1750, 1752–1753. LIBERS 32 (PP. 257–END),33–1 (PP. 1-217) & 33–2 (PP. 1-126). His latest publication refers to approximately 7,000 eighteenth-century Marylanders.

     During the colonial era, the Prerogative Court was the focal point for probate proceedings in Maryland. All probate matters went directly to the court, which was located in the provincial capital of Annapolis. As the colony’s population grew, administration of probate was delegated to the various county courts although the data related to probate were still required to be filed at the Prerogative Court. (Since administrators were sometimes lax in abiding by these rules, however, researchers may find some material only at the county level while other information may only be at the Prerogative Court.) Documents filed in the court include administration bonds, wills, inventories, administration accounts, final balances, and summonses.

     In addition, the Prerogative Court was the colonial court for equity cases, which dealt with the resolution of disputes over the settlement and distribution of estates. Any depositions concerning a case were recorded in the minutes. Researchers should be aware that some cases dragged on for several years.

     As in his previous volumes in the set, Skinner arranges material in chronological order by court session. Although details may differ from entry to entry, the data generally supply the names of the principals involved (testators, heirs, guardians, witnesses, and administrators, for example), and facts such as the bequests and the names of appraisers and slaves. A few recurring surnames in the records are ARMSTRONG, BARNES, BECK, BOON/BOONE, BOWEN/BOWENS, CALDER, CLEMENS/CLEMENTS/CLEMONS, COOLEY, DULANY, FRISBY, LANE, MEDLEY, RIDER, ROACH, TILGHMAN, TOLSON, TRIPPE, and WARFIELD.

     Because evidence of the existence of early inhabitants and their activities may not be available elsewhere, genealogists tracing forebears in the Old Line State will want to see if there is any helpful material about their family lines in ABSTRACTS OF THE TESTAMENTARY PROCEEDINGS OF THE PREROGATIVE COURT OF MARYLAND, VOLUME XXVI: 1749-1750, 1752–1753. LIBERS 32 (PP. 257–END), 33–1 (PP. 1-217) & 33–2 (PP. 1-126). Many genealogists will also be eagerly awaiting the publication of Skinner’s next addition to the series.

     The soft-cover work has 302 pages, an introduction which includes a list of abbreviations used in the book, a full name index, and an index to equity cases. To the book's price of $29.50, buyers should add the charges for postage and handling. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $5.50 for one book and $2.50 for each additional copy; for FedEx ground service, the cost is $7.50 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. VOLUME XXVI (item order 9502) may be purchased by check, money order, MasterCard, or Visa from Clearfield Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211-1953. For phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website

     The 2 April 1836 issue of Niles’ Weekly Register, published in Baltimore, carried this item: “Died, at Washington, on the 22d ult. gen. (sic) Mountjoy Baily, in his 82d year....” According to the death notice, BAILY was an officer in the Revolution.

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