The Baltimore Patriot & Mercantile Advertiser was published from 1817 through 1838. The work at hand is a faithful transcription of the marriage and death notices found in the Patriot for the years 1820 through 1824. Typically, the marriage notices include the date of the marriage ceremony and the names of the bride, groom, and officiating minister, sometimes including the place of the marriage, father of the bride or groom, or occupation of the groom. The death notices usually include the name of the deceased, date and place of death, and age of the deceased, sometimes also including the cause of death, names of surviving husbands and parents, number of surviving children, occupation of the deceased, circumstances surrounding an unusual death, date and location of the funeral, place of burial, religious affiliation, or other personal information. Many death notices include eulogies, shedding light upon the customs and mores prevailing in Baltimore at the time.
In order to assemble the most complete collection of Patriot issues, Mr. Ports visited numerous libraries and archives, over more than thirty years, before transcribing them for publication. Although the Patriot published many notices concerning people who married or died outside of Maryland, the author has included only those marriages and deaths having a Maryland connection. In all, the volume references between 12,000 and 15,000 marriages and deaths, all of them indexed. Besides the text itself, the book’s helpful Introduction includes a report on interments that cites causes and demographics of death, as well as a glossary of old medical terms used in the death notices.