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 Maryland’s colonial capital, Annapolis. The Prerogative Court was also the colony’s court for equity cases–resolution of disputes over the settlement and distribution of an estate.
With the volume at hand, compiler Vernon Skinner has assembled his twenty-third collection of abstractions based upon this important source for Maryland genealogists, entitled Abstracts of the Testamentary Proceedings of the Prerogative Court of Maryland. In compiling the series, Mr. Skinner has worked primarily from microfilm copies of the Prerogative Court records; however, when necessary to resolve problems of paleography, he has consulted the original manuscripts, located at the Maryland State Archives in Annapolis.
The series is arranged, volume by volume, chronologically by court session. Volume XXIII consists of abstracts for the period 1741-1744, as found in the remainder of Liber 31 of the records. In all, the latest book in this remarkable series refers to an additional 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, administrators, and so forth), as well as details of bequests, names of slaves, appraisers, and more.