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. During 1761-1762 the court was meeting every two months.
Volume XXXI of Abstracts of the Testamentary Proceedings of the Prerogative Court of Maryland, compiled by Vernon Skinner, is derived from this important source for Maryland genealogists. 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, with a few exceptions, chronologically by court session. Volume XXXI consists of testamentary abstracts for the balance of 1761 and all of 1762. In all, the latest book in this distinguished 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.