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Researching Historic Houses

A guide to the process and resources for researching historic properties in Maryland.

Information From Wills

Wills can give you a wide range of information regarding your property. Some examples of information you may find includes:

  • List of family memebers and benefactors
  • An idea of the owner's personal wealth
  • The value of the property at the time of death
  • A basic property discription

Probate Documents

Probate documents typically contain a list of items and their value that belonged to the property owner at the time of death. Many historic probate document contain exhaustive lists of items contained in each room of an estate. These types of documents give us good insight on the daily lives of the occupants on things such as social status and the use of each room.

Register of Wills

In Maryland the archive of wills and probate documents are maintained at the country level. In doing a quick search on-line at The Maryland's Register of Wills, you can find the docket number and location of the estate records for the property you are researching. Using this information, you can go to the register of wills for the county where the will originated and access the complete docket. Some historic wills are not yet recorded in the database and it is necessary to look up the estate in the index provided at the register of wills.