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About MDLANDREC

What records are available on this website?
Mdlandrec.net is a digital repository for all instruments recorded and verified for inclusion in the land record volumes by the Clerk of the Circuit Court offices of Maryland's 23 counties and Baltimore City and their related indices.

What records are not available on this website?
Records not found in land record books and related indices are not included in Mdlandrec.net. Among those not available are chattel records, tax liens and tax judgments, tax assessments, blue prints, and equity records. However, in some rare instances, certain types of instruments not usually found in land record books (such as equity and chattel records) were included in some land record books, and therefore were made part of Mdlandrec.

Land surveys, and condominium and subdivision plats not recorded in land records are not available on Mdlandrec.net, but they may be available online through www.plats.net.

Information about tax bills and assessments cannot be found on this site, and related questions should be directed to the State Department of Assessment and Taxation (SDAT). Additional information is available at the SDAT website, www.dat.state.md.us. or through the local tax billing and collection offices, which are listed at www.dat.state.md.us/sdatweb/taxcollectors.html.

Where does the data on Mdlandrec.net come from?
Circuit Court staff enters electronic indexing information into the Judicial Information System (JIS) mainframe; the data then transfers to Mdlandrec.net where it can be retrieved through the electronic search system. At the time of recordation, Circuit Court staff scan instrument pages at the Courthouse and images electronically transfer to the Maryland State Archives. Older images of both land records and indices were scanned from microfilm or paper originals.

What technical specification are recommended for Mdlandrec.net?
Mdlandrec.net has been tested to work with Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox and requires a browser that permits cookies, is enabled for JavaScript, and allows pop-up windows. Also, Adobe Reader is required to properly view images. For optimal printing, we suggest that you set page scaling to shrink large pages or to fit images to paper.

How is the "verified through date" calculated?
The "verified through date" is the recordation date through which Court staff has verified all indexing without any gaps. In cases where previously verified instruments or indexing are being reviewed or changed by the Circuit Court, the date may move back temporarily. The "verified through date" may change daily. Inquiries about changes to the "verified through date" should be directed to the Circuit Court for that county.

How soon after a deed is recorded will it be viewable on Mdlandrec.net?
Once all the instruments in a particular book have been verified, images from that book are released to the State Archives. In general, it takes about two to five business days for images to appear on Mdlandrec.net. Indexing for newly recorded instruments will appear on the site before the images.

Where are the original land records located?
The records are located either in the Circuit Court where they were recorded or at the Maryland State Archives. Listings of records housed in the Maryland State Archives can be found through the Guide to Government Records available at http://guide.mdsa.net/.

What does it mean if a series is marked as "original"?
Index series are marked "original" if the images in the series were scanned directly from the originals in the courthouse, as opposed to master negative microfilm or originals in possession of the Maryland State Archives.

What do liber and folio mean?
Liber means book and folio means page.

What is a transcript?
A transcript is a written copy of a record. In some cases, the Court created a transcript of land record volumes. Whenever possible, Mdlandrec.net presents images of both the original and its transcript. Viewing both may help users decipher difficult text. However, because of possible variations between them, the transcript should not be viewed without also referring to the original record. Also, please note that the page numbers in the indices refer to the original record and may not match the page numbers of the transcript.

What is a series?
A series is a group of similar records created by the same government unit. Series in Mdlandrec.net include land records, mortgage records, grantor indices, and grantee indices. The creator is the court which produced the records.

Why are there different series for a County Court and a Circuit Court?
The Maryland Constitution of 1851 abolished the County Courts, replacing them with the Circuit Courts that continue to the present. Though basically the same in function, the County Courts and Circuit Courts are distinguished as separate creators and their respective records are separated into different series. For Baltimore City, land records were recorded by the Baltimore City Superior Court from 1851 until 1982, when it was replaced by the Baltimore City Circuit Court.

What is the difference between an electronic index and a non-electronic virtual index?
A combination of the current and past electronic judicial indexing system, the electronic index is searchable. In Maryland, each county has searchable book/page, name and Soundex indexing back through a particular year. The date range is noted for each electronic index. Virtual indices are digital images of bound paper index volumes with no data search capabilities.

Documents entered in electronic indexes can be searched as instruments. Documents not entered in the electronic index can only be accessed in single book and page searches.

Some index entries are marked as "history records" or "changed records." What does this mean?
When a Circuit Court makes a change to an index entry, the old index entry often is retained and marked as a history record. History records are crossed out on Mdlandrec.net to help differentiate them from current index entries. New index entries that replace history records are marked as changed records.

What is the difference between "active" and "retired" index series?
Mdlandrec.net provides access to all land record indexing created by the County Circuit Courts. The Courts decided to "retire" some indices from active use at the courthouse and sent them to the Maryland State Archives, either on microfilm or in their original paper format. In some cases, the Court sent one set of indices to the State Archives, kept another set at the Court, and continued to create index entries in the set of indices at the Court. In order to provide complete access to all land records and indexing, Mdlandrec.net provides access to both "retired" and "active" indices. Users are encouraged to search all available indexing when searching title.

Why are some images in black and white while other images are in shades of gray?
In digitizing Maryland's land records, the State Archives has endeavored to obtain the most legible image possible from the source. The quality of the original paper or microfilm instruments varies widely over time and across jurisdictions. Often, portions of documents (such as signatures, seals, stamps, and marginal notations) appear very light on the original. In other cases, the text of the document has become lighter or smudged over time as individuals paged through books. In these cases, the State Archives chose to digitize the document in gray scale in order to obtain the most legible image and to avoid loss of content.

Unlike a bi-tonal image, where every pixel is either black or white, a gray scale image captures pixels in a continuum of 256 different shades of gray. Materials are scanned in gray scale in order to capture fine details that often disappear in a black-and-white scan. Gray scale images may have a larger file size than black-and-white images, may sometimes appear "dark" and/or "fuzzy", and may use more toner when printed, but the gray scale scan is necessary to capture all of the detail found in the original document.

The Archives is exploring options for converting gray scale scans to more user-friendly formats for use on the Web.

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