The debt books list persons owning land, giving the names of the parcel(s) and the acreage of each tract that the person owned for each year rent was collected. They are arranged by county, by year, and then by the name of the person paying the rent. The great value of the Provincial Land Office debt books is that they enable the genealogist to track land ownership over various years in cases of intestate estates, land inherited by women, and land that is not specified in a will.
Frederick County’s debt books are extant for 1750 to 1773, with breaks. The information in this series is presented in a tabular form as follows: liber and folio citation, with any pertinent date; name of the person paying the taxes; and name of the tract of land and amount of acreage. Each Frederick County volume is indexed by the name of the land owner and his/her track, and, on average, each volume identifies about 10,000 parcels of land. Mr. Skinner notes that the debt books reveal that, besides Frederick County itself, landowners resided in seven other Maryland counties, four other colonies, and the city of London. Researchers should note that Frederick County record clerks indicated the town of ownership until 1772, when there was no mention of towns. Also owing to the fact that Frederick County was carved from Prince George’s, the author has repeated the 1750 entries in both his Prince George’s volumes and those for Frederick.