Kinsearching September 2, 2012




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

     Did any of your colonial forebears settle in what are now called the Mid-Atlantic States? If they did, perhaps they were early inhabitants of the area that became the Old Line State. In that case, you may be interested in the new reprint of MARYLAND RENT ROLLS: BALTIMORE AND ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTIES, 1700-1707, 1705-1724. The volume is a consolidation of articles that appeared in the Maryland Historical Magazine during the years 1924-1931.

     The rent rolls were the private sets of manuscript books that the Proprietors of Maryland assembled at various times during the colonial period to keep account of land grants and landowners from whom a quit rent--an early form of property tax—was due. Receiving land from the Crown before settlement began, the Proprietors then distributed tracts to people by gift, in return for importing colonists and for other services, or by sale. Counties were divided into “hundreds,” whose boundaries often varied. (Electoral districts later replaced the hundreds.) Genealogists should also keep in mind that original counties like Baltimore were larger during the colonial era than they are today.

     For Baltimore County, the material describes the grants in the hundreds of Gunpowder, Patapsco, and Spesutia from the earliest to those in 1700 as well as later corrections up to 1724. Documents for Anne Arundel County pertain to the hundreds of Herring Creek, Middle Neck, South River, West River, and a combined Broad and Town Neck and concern the rent rolls for 1707 as well as some corrections from 1705-1724. Generally, the entries identify the name of the landowner and give a description of his grant, including the date, location, and acreage. In addition, the record usually furnishes names of people associated with the grant, such as former owners or their widow, children, other heirs, or neighbors and relatives.

     Although rent rolls may sound like “dry” material as s resource, they may provide much genealogical information and clues for further research. For example, genealogists may be able to trace the remarriage of the widow of an original grantee or find the names of heirs who later owned the tract of land. Since few ships’ passenger lists for eighteenth-century Maryland exist, locating the exact date of an individual’s arrival in the colony can be difficult. The receiving of a land grant, however, proves that the person had been in the area at least by that specific time. Since tracts were named by their owners, they may provide clues to the settlers’ place of origin. In 1682, for instance, Henry HANSLAP named his tract “Ayno” after the English parish from which he immigrated. As a result, genealogists with roots in the Old Line State will want to check for family information in MARYLAND RENT ROLLS: BALTIMORE AND ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTIES, 1700-1707, 1705-1724.

     Reprinted for the first time in 1976, the 274-page publication has soft covers, a preface, a foreword, a brief introduction, and a full name index. To the book's price of $29.50, 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 FedEx ground service, the cost is $7.50 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. The volume (item order 3770) 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

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