Source Information

Ancestry.com. Maryland, Catholic Families, 1753-1851 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2016.
Original data:

O'Rourke, Timothy J. Catholic Families of Southern Maryland: Records of Catholic Residents of St. Mary's County in the Eighteenth Century. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2003.

Koch, Richard T. Western Maryland Catholics, 1819-1851. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2000.

About Maryland, Catholic Families, 1753-1851

Catholic Families of Southern Maryland

"St. Mary's County is where it all began," writes Thomas Spalding in the introduction to this book. "There was established the first Catholic parish, the first Catholic school, the first community of religious men in English-speaking America." Moreover, St. Mary's residents played a key role in the development of the Catholic Church throughout the whole of America, providing the spearhead of the westward expansion of Catholicism. In 1785, for example, the first of many Catholic families from St. Mary's crossed the mountains to find land in Kentucky, while a few years later, driven by economic necessity, others migrated to Georgia, Missouri, Louisiana, and Texas. So great was the number of St. Mary's Catholics who moved to Kentucky, in fact, that a diocese was created for them in 1808.

These early families left a mighty progeny, and those of us today who seek ancestral connections will welcome the appearance of this book, for here are collected many of the earliest surviving records of the Catholic families of St. Mary's County, Maryland. The most significant portion of the work contains the marriages and baptisms from the Jesuit parishes of St. Francis Xavier and St. Inigoes, which, in the case of baptisms (1767-1794), give the names of children, parents, and godparents, and the date of baptism; and in the case of marriages (1767-1784), the names of the married partners and the date of marriage. Other records include congregation lists (1768-1769), rent rolls (various dates), births (various dates), subscribers to the Oath of Allegiance (1778), militia lists (1794), and voters' lists (1789-1790). Taken together, these records comprise an indispensable reference source and represent the most complete collection of such materials in print.

Western Maryland Catholics, 1819-1851

This is a collection of birth, baptismal, marriage, and death records for the parishes of St. Ignatius in Mt. Savage, and St. Mary's in Cumberland, Maryland. As such it makes available many of the oldest extant genealogical records for Catholics in Allegany County. An outgrowth of the authors' "St. Ignatius and St. Mary," this new book incorporates all of the data from that work and is six times longer. At the outset the compilers present a brief history of Catholicism in Western Maryland, identifying all the priests who served the Church from 1819 to 1851 and delineating the growth of the congregations in terms of meeting places, frequency of sermons, and so on. This is followed by name lists of persons who appeared at Easter Confession, confirmation, communion, or who pledged financial support for the parish priest. Next comes hundreds of marriages, arranged chronologically, giving the names of the betrothed and the officiating minister, the place of the wedding, and, frequently, the names of witnesses. The volume continues with a Register of Baptisms, which is arranged chronologically and integrates four separate original baptismal ledgers. Most of the nearly 2,500 entries give the name of child, date of birth, date of baptism, names of parents, and names of sponsors. The death and burial entries, which conclude the text, mostly span the period 1837-1851, giving the decedent's name and date of death, and, on occasion, his/her age at death, place of death, father's name, or that of other relations. Judging from the 12,000-name index at the back of the volume, for sheer coverage this must be the starting point for Western Maryland Catholic genealogy.