. (Password required. Apply online) is an incredible resource but it can be a little intimidating to the new user. Here are some tips that should help you in your research:
The archive is broken down by County. Deeds are usually found in the County in which they are currently located. Land Patents for Western MD generally start in Prince Georges County in the early 1700s and then progress to Frederick County, Washington County, Allegany County and, finally, Garrett County.
Deeds are found in the Search Land Indices
section. Washington, Allegany and Garrett deeds are first indexed by the last name. You will then be directed to a detailed index with family names, first names, dates and a Book/Liber Letter and then a Page/Filio number. Enter the Book and Page number in the top, right search block to see the original deed or transaction.
It's not unusual to be presented with a request to choose which type of record you want to see. Deeds are found in the Court - Land Records.
Frederick County's index is more complicated. Deeds are indexed by last name and then first name. Choose the date range you want to search from the list of options. You will be directed to an old style address book with lettered tabs on the side. The "Jump To Index Page" requires you enter a letter. Unfortunately, the letter you enter has no correlation to the Lettered section of the address book. The letter "Y" will take you to the "L" section of the book. After that, pages are numbered by the letter "Z" plus a page number. The easiest way to search these pages is to use the "Next Ten Pages" option.
When you arrive at the letter section of the last name you are seeking, you will see a list of letters and numbers at the bottom. These are the first name options. The number under the letter is the index page number. (Sometimes there are two index sections). Enter the index page number. You will be presented a index which lists last names and first names by date. Hopefully, you'll find the name you're looking for with book and page info.
Searching for Land Patents is a bit easier. Land Patents are located in the Plats.Net - Digital Image Reference System, by County. After choosing Plats you will be presented a list of options, choose the first, "County Land Survey, Subdivision, and Condominium Plats". Again you will be presented a list of options. To search by patent name or owner, used the "Advanced Search". Choose the "Date" option to begin with the earliest. (Ignore the N/A dates.)
Land Patents are listed by the patent holder and the date they where patented. This can differ from the person the land was surveyed for and the survey date. The information on survey date, patent date and owners is on the folder cover (First page). The original survey document is usually the second or third option. Sometimes files are presented in JPG and TIF formats. The TIF files are large, require a separate viewer and are hard to read. I usually stick with the JPG files. (The file types are not indicated. TIF files are much larger than their JPG counterpart. Check the file size to help determine which is which.)
Many of the Land Patents issued for Western MD can be found in the Frederick County records (Some are in Washington County). If you are searching a patent in the Allegany or Garrett records and find the folder images marked "0", go to the previous County by date.
Finally, misspellings are common in old records. I've had to have to break descriptive owner or patent names into single words or a small group of letters to find what I was looking for. (i.e. Small Meadows
is searched using "Small" or "Meadow" without the "s".)