The Prerogative Court was the focal point for probate in colonial Maryland, and it was also the colony’s court for equity cases–resolution of disputes over the settlement and distribution of an estate. The following documents were filed in this court: administration bonds, wills, inventories, administration accounts, and final balances. With respect to [sometimes lengthy] equity cases, depositions were taken and recorded in the minutes of the court. For the years 1772-1774, most of the entries for the docket involve situations where the personal representative has not filed the proper documents. Beginning with March 1772, three court sessions (six months) are presented at the same time.
This series of Prerogative Court transcripts is arranged, with a few exceptions, chronologically by court session. Volume XL refers to nearly 7,000 colonial inhabitants of the Province of Maryland. For the most part, the transcriptions state the names of the principals (testators, heirs, guardians, witnesses, and so forth), details of bequests, names of slaves, appraisers, and more.