Monday, October 8, 2018

Hidden History - Bills of Lading and Bottomree

Bills of Lading and Bottomree in the Colonial Maryland Land Records

Land records, especially from the colonial era, are an overlooked treasure trove for genealogists and historians. Sifting through the records is time-consuming and tedious, but well worth the effort.

While researching my own family history in Maryland's land records, skimming through the thousands of pages available online, I've come across quite a few items of interest which can be found only by viewing each page.

Every book of land records includes an index, but the index refers only to actual land deeds and includes only the names of the primary buyer and seller. During the colonial era, the Maryland land record books included a wide variety of other types of records: the sale of slaves, the marks of stray animals, supersedeas and judgment cases, even the occasional bill of lading. None of those records were included in the index.

Since I was taking the time to skim every page, I decided to keep track of these hidden treasures. I'll be posting them here to aid other researchers in their work.