No less than seventeen Baltimore newspapers were drawn on in the making of this compilation. The book began as a compilation of marriages and deaths from Baltimore’s Federal Gazette, published in an unbroken run from its inception in 1796 through the year 1816. Recognizing that deaths and marriages reported in one newspaper did not always appear in other newspapers and seeking comprehensiveness, Mr. Barnes ultimately decided to include vital records from all Baltimore newspapers for this period–seventeen in all.
The text consists of some 7,500 abstracts, identifying, at the very least, an additional 5,000 persons, mainly brides, parents, and relatives. These relationships lend an enriching dimension to the abstracts and elevate them from the humdrum of genealogical records. Entries throughout are arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the deceased or the bridegroom, and there is a surname index to brides and others mentioned in the entry. Each entry is keyed to a specific source, a code for which may be found at the beginning of the volume. Since it is doubtful that the newspapers consulted for this work can be found in a single repository outside of Maryland, the researcher now has access to a range of fugitive material previously out of his reach.