The Prerogative Court was the focal point for probate in colonial Maryland. All matters of probate went directly to the Prerogative Court, which was located in Annapolis, Maryland=s colonial capital. The Prerogative Court was also the colony=s court for equity cases–resolution of disputes over the settlement and distribution of an estate.
Compiler Vernon Skinner has completed the 19th volume of Abstracts of the Testamentary Proceedings of the Prerogative Court of Maryland, a series of books based upon this important source for Maryland genealogists. In compiling the series, Mr. Skinner has worked primarily from microfilm copies of the Prerogative Court records; however, he has also traveled to the Maryland State Archives to work directly with the original manuscripts in order to resolve problems associated with eighteenth-century handwriting or limitations of the microfilming process.
The series is arranged, volume by volume, chronologically by court session. Volume XIX consists of abstracts for the period 1730-34, as found in the remainder of Liber 29 of these records. In all, the latest book in this remarkable series refers to an additional 6,500 inhabitants of the Province of Maryland in the years just prior to 1730. For the most part, the transcriptions state the names of the principals (testators, heirs, witnesses, administrators, and so forth), as well as details of bequests, names of slaves, appraisers, and more.
Following is a representative abstract from Volume XVIX:
“Capt. Thomas Sheredine (BA) exhibited will of John Stokes, constituting Susannah Stokes executrix. Said Susannah was granted administration. Sureties: Humphry Wells Stokes, Peregrine Frisby. Also, renunciation of H. Wells Stokes (son), recommending his mother Susannah Stokes. Date: 6 September 1732.”