If you need an official copy of your own baptismal or marriage certificate, please see the Research and Reference page for instructions on how to request one.
What We Do and Do Not Have
Individuals interested in the sacramental records that have survived from the colonial and Revolutionary periods in Maryland will need to contact the Special Collections Research Center in the Joseph Mark Lauinger Library at Georgetown University, where the Archives of the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus are housed. The Jesuits were in charge of the mission to Catholics in the British colonies of North America. Please note that very few records have survived for these periods and none prior to 1759. The majority of these records have been transcribed and published in Edwin Beitzell's The Jesuit Missions of St. Mary's County (rev. ed.; priv. publ., 1976), Timothy O'Rourke’s Catholic Families of Southern Maryland: Records of Catholic Residents of St. Mary's County in the Eighteenth Century (Baltimore: Genealogical Publ. Co., 1985) and Colonial Source Records: Southern Maryland Catholic Families (Parsons, KS: Brefney Press, 1981), and F. Edward Wright’s Vital Records of the Jesuit Missions of the Eastern Shore, 1760-1800 (Silver Spring, MD: Family Line Publications, 1986). For those individuals researching their African American ancestors, an excellent resource is Agnes Kane Callum's Flowers of the Forest: Black Genealogical Journal (1982-1998), which has published surviving sacramental records for African Americans from these two periods. The Maryland Historical Society has this journal in its library.
Resources currently available online for colonial records:
Timothy J. O’Rourke’s Catholic Families of Southern Maryland, reprint (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2003). Limited Preview
The Archdiocese's earliest records are those for St. Peter’s pro-Cathedral (1770-1841) in Baltimore City and date back to 1782. These records have been transcribed and published by Mary and Stanley Piet as Early Catholic Church Records in Baltimore, Maryland, 1782-1800 (Westminster, MD: Family Line Publications, 1989). Also see Hans Grogaard and Mary Warfield, comp., Burials in Pro-Cathedral and Cathedral Cemeteries, Baltimore Maryland, 1791-1874 (Westminster, MD: Heritage Books, 2004). African American records have been published in Callum's Flowers of the Forest described above. For information on other Maryland church and civil records that have been published, visit the Heritage Books website.
Individuals interested in the sacramental records that have survived from the early republic and early national periods for parishes outside the current boundaries of the Archdiocese of Baltimore will need to contact the diocese responsible for that territory today for assistance. The Archdiocese does not have any sacramental records for parishes outside of its current boundaries in its holdings.
In the absence of sacramental records, civil records are another resource for researching your family's history. For example, county clerks in the state of Maryland have been required to issue marriage licenses since 1777 and court clerks have been required to record marriages by banns since 1890. The Maryland State Archives has created a number of indices to assist researchers who are interested in consulting these records. Another helpful resource is Edna Kanely’s Directory of Ministers and the Maryland Churches They Served, 1634-1990 (Westminster, MD: Family Line Publications, 1991), 2 vols.
Restrictions on Sacramental Records
Information contained in the records
Sacramental Registers on Microfilm
Efforts to microfilm the sacramental registers of the parishes that comprise the Archdiocese of Baltimore have been undertaken twice in the past seventy years. The first attempt was made in 1954 at the request of Archbishop Francis P. Keough. The Maryland State Archives initiated a second attempt beginning in 1977. A majority of the parishes participated in the first microfilming project. Less than half participated in the second. To see a list of all of the parishes that participated in one or both of the microfilming projects, please click here. The list has been organized first by county, second by city or town name, and third by parish name. Parish establishment date and the name of the microfilm collection have also been listed.
Please note that we only have records for the parishes within the current boundaries of the Archdiocese of Baltimore (est. 1789), which is comprised of the following counties: Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Baltimore City, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, and Washington. Records for parishes that now comprise the Archdiocese of Washington, DC (est. 1939), Diocese of Wilmington, DE (est. 1868), Diocese of Richmond (est. 1820), and Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston (est. 1850) can only be accessed through those respective dioceses.
The Maryland State Archives has begun to digitize the vital records it has on microfilm. Sacramental registers of the following Catholic parishes can be viewed online through the Maryland State Archives website. Search for the parish by name. Registers that have been digitized will be hyperlinked. A password provided by the State Archives is required to view the material online.
Microfilm copies of the registers microfilmed by the Maryland State Archives are available for researchers to work with at the Maryland State Archives and the Associated Archives at St. Mary's Seminary & University. The Maryland Historical Society has acquired copies of the Maryland State Archives' microfilm for the following parishes: Baltimore City - Basilica of the Assumption, St. Peter’s Pro-Cathedral, Holy Cross, Immaculate Conception, Sacred Heart of Jesus, St. Alphonsus, St. Ann, St. Francis Xavier, St. James the Less, St. John German, St. John the Evangelist, St. Mary Star of the Sea, St. Michael the Archangel, St. Patrick, St. Peter the Apostle, and St. Stanislaus; Outside Baltimore City - Mt. St. Mary’s/St. Mary’s of the Mountain, Emmitsburg, St. Augustine, Elkridge, St. Ignatius, Hickory, St. John the Evangelist, Frederick, St. John the Evangelist, Hydes/Long Green, St. Mary of the Mills, Laurel, St. Michael, Frostburg, and St. Mary of the Annunciation, Lonaconing.
The Maryland Historical Society also has acquired the microfilm for a number of Maryland parishes located in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., and the Diocese of Wilmington. Please check their online catalog for a complete listing.
The sacramental registers microfilmed by the Archdiocese are available for researchers to work with only at the Associated Archives. Parishes that do not appear on the list will have to be contacted directly. Click here for current parish contact information.
All genealogical requests must be submitted in writing. We DO NOT take genealogical requests over the telephone. You have the choice of submitting a sacramental records request form or a written request. Please click on the Contacts link for address information.
Please note that the Associated Archives only has the sacramental records for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore. We do not have government records (such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, death certificates, etc.), records from other Roman Catholic dioceses or religious denominations.Other Types of Records
Individuals interested in obtaining a copy of their student transcript should contact the elementary, middle, or secondary school directly if it is still open. If the school has been closed but the parish is still open, contact the parish for assistance. (Click here to search for school and parish contact information.)
Please note that in accordance with Maryland State law, the Archdiocese is not required to maintain the records for closed elementary schools.
The records for the following closed schools are maintained by the Maryland State Department of Education: The Cardinal Gibbons School, Baltimore, Mt. St. Agnes High School, Baltimore, St. Andrew's Business School, Baltimore, St. Martin's High School, Baltimore, St. Michael the Archangel Business School for Girls, Baltimore, St. Michael the Archangel High School, Baltimore, St. Paul's Commercial School, Baltimore, and Trinity Preparatory School, Ellicott City. Individuals interested in obatining a copy of their student transcript should contact the Nonpublic Schools Approval Branch of the Maryland State Department of Education directly for assistance.
If you are interested in the records of a private school that has been closed, contact the religious community that ran the school directly for assistance:
Individuals interested in post-secondary school records will need to contact the institution's Registrar's Office directly.
Sulpician Schools in Maryland
Note: St. Mary's Seminary & University has designated certain information contained in the records of its students as “Family History Information.” This includes: 1) full name, 2) date and place of birth and/or baptism, 3) parents’ names and place and date of marriage; 4) siblings’ names; 5) education; 6) sponsoring diocese; 7) date and place of ordination; 8) other similar information such as a photograph. Family History Information will be disclosed for deceased students only. Permission of a person authorized by St. Mary’s Seminary & University is required for access to Family History Information within 50 years of a student’s death. After 50 years there is no restriction on access to this information. If you are interested in obtaining information on students that attended a Sulpician school in Maryland, including St. Mary's College (1799-1852), for your family history, please submit your request in writing to the Associated Archives, providing as much information as you can on the student (ex., full name, place and/or date of birth, approximate years attended) along with your questions. There is a $10.00 research fee for each name submitted.
We have made available student lists that were prepared for each of the above institutions at different points in their history. Please click on the appropriate link to access the list as a .pdf document.
St. Charles College, 1848-1897
St. Mary's Seminary & University, 1791-1916
St. Mary's College, 1799-1852
Orphanage and Medical Records
Individuals interested in the records of orphanages operated in what is now the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., will need to contact the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., directly. Surviving records for the following orphanages are located at The Catholic University of America: St. Vincent's Orphan Asylum (1825-1968) and St. Rose's Industrial Home for Girls (1868-1946).
For information on all other orphanages, please contact the Archives and we will try to assist you in locating the records.
The Archives does not have medical records for any of the hospitals or clinics operated in the Archdiocese. Individuals will need to contact the hospital or clinic directly to request assistance.
Marriage Tribunal Records
New Cathedral Cemetery, Baltimore: The cemetery records of New Cathedral Cemetery, 1871-1977, have been microfilmed and are available for researchers to work with at the Associated Archives and the Maryland Historical Society. You may also contact New Cathedral Cemetery (4300 Old Frederick Road, Baltimore, MD, 21229; 410-566-7770) for assistance with your request.
St. Peter the Apostle Cemetery, Baltimore: The Maryland State Archives has in its holdings the Franke Collection of St. Peter the Apostle Cemetery Records, which contains an index of individuals buried in the cemetery and reproductions of surviving cemetery records.
If you are uncertain where the person you are searching for is buried, Find a Grave is a searchable online database with information on cemeteries around the country.
• Guides on how to read Latin baptismal and marriage records:
• Catholic Directory Collection
*: Except for the years 1862-1863, due to the Civil War.
• Archdiocese of Baltimore History Resources Online
The Catholic Red Book of Western Maryland (Baltimore: The Red Book Society, 1909).
• Maryland Resources Online
FamilySearch.org has made available through their website a number of free family history and geneaology records for Maryland, including: Deaths and Burials, 1877-1992; Marriages, 1666-1970; Civil War Service Records of Union and Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865; Naturalization Indexes, 1797-1951; and Probate Estate and Guardianship Files, 1796-1940.
• Other helpful websites include: