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Access Western Maryland's History Online and In-Person

We offer local history and genealogy resources online and in person.  Our materials come from the John Clinton Frye Western Maryland Room (WMR), located at the Hagerstown branch, from Western Maryland's Historical Library (WHILBR), and from databases like Ancestry Library Edition, available inside the library with your library card.  Browse our resources below, and learn how to visit the WMR and attend the McCauley Lecture Series.

Getting Started

WCFL is home to many Western Maryland and local genealogy (family history) resources. Do you need help getting started with your genealogy or local history research? Contact us with your questions and we can help you navigate our resources, get started with your research, and more!

Contact Us

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Get Started with Featured Resources

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Visit the Western Maryland Room

The John Clinton Frye Western Maryland Room is home to archival collections, a local history lecture series, monthly genealogy meetings, and more.

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Genealogy Get Started Guide

Not sure where to start researching your family history? Check out this guide with answers to all of your questions.

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Historic Newspaper Indexing Project, 1790-1890

The Historic Newspaper Indexing Project began in 1980 as an aid to patrons researching Washington County history and genealogy.

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Western Maryland's Historical Library (WHILBR)

View images from the collections of Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties historical societies and individuals of the three counties.

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Ancestry Library Edition

Genealogical and local history information.

This resource is available inside library only.

From the Western Maryland Room

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Western Maryland Room Vertical Files

Our vertical file is a large local history subject file collection. View these resources to learn about a variety of topics.

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Processed Collections

Find processed archival collections in the Western Maryland Room catalogued in the Library catalog. Search the Catalog and click on All Items and choose W. Md. Room Items. Search collection, and you will find a number of them listed.

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New Books at the Western Maryland Room

Find the newest materials added to the Western Maryland Room in the catalog.

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Church Records

Records from local churches. Additional church records and original documents are available for viewing in the Western Maryland Room.

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Marriage Records Index

Index to Washington County Maryland, Marriage Licenses, 1861-1919, 1927-1949

Available online and in person at the Western Maryland Room.

Collection of Cemetery Record books for Washington County Maryland.
Cemetery and Death Records

Cemetery and Death Records compiled by local churches. Additional records for some of the local cemeteries are available for viewing in the Western Maryland Room.

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Telephone Directories

Hagerstown phone service started in 1883.  The Western Maryland Room have several directories available,.  There are a few directories available online from Western Maryland's Historical Library (WHILBR).

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County and Regional Histories

View ledgers and letters complied by local families of Washington County Maryland online. Additional resources like this can be viewed in the Western Maryland Room.

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School Records

School Records for Washington County and some surrounding counties. Some information on school records is available online. Area school yearbooks and other research material is available to patrons in the Western Maryland Room.

Digital Collections (online only)

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Obituary Locator

Use this database to search an index of the obituaries from the Hagerstown, MD, Morning Herald and Daily Mail, published between 1790 - and the current year.

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Land Records resources

Land patents of Washington County, Maryland (1730-1830) are available on the Western Maryland's Historical Library (WHILBR) website.

Land records for Washington County 1776-present are available on the Maryland State Archives website. Start with applying for a password at MDLandRec.Net.

Please note that you will need to remember the alphabetical range to use from the following list:

Land Certificates, Patented

  • 1-99 A-Ag
  • 100-199 Al-Ch
  • 200-299 Ch-Fa
  • 300-399 Fa-Gr
  • 400-499 Gr-Ke
  • 500-599 Ki-Mo
  • 600-699 Mo-Pi
  • 700-799 Pi-Resurvey
  • 800-899 Resurvey-Sm
  • 900-999 Sm-Vi
  • 1000-1099 Vi-Z

Land Certificates, Unpatented

  • 1-99 A-Fa
  • 100-199 Fa-Lo
  • 200-299 Lo-Resurvey
  • 300-399 Resurvey-Wa
  • 400-499 Wa-Yo
Land Records

This collection contains many resources for counties surrounding Washington County. Available from Western Maryland Historical Library and Maryland State Archives.

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City Directory 1893-1894

Hagerstown City Directory published in 1893 available from Digital Maryland.

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Court Records resources

In Cooperation with the Maryland State Archives and the Washington County Free Library, the Following Historic Records of the Washington County Clerk of Circuit Court are Available Online:

* Note: Court Dockets available here do not include Chancery (Equity) cases, as those cases were maintained in a separate series. The index to the Court Dockets appears at the beginning of each Docket. If there is no index included for a particular Docket, the index is no longer available due to fire, theft, or other unknown circumstance.

Court Records

Historic Records of the Washington County Clerk of Circuit Court.

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1877 Illustrated Atlas

Hagerstown phone service started in 1883. Listing is a published directory from 1907, available from the Western Maryland Historical Library (WHILBR) and Western Maryland Room.

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Sanborn Maps (Library of Congress)

Digital Sanborn Maps Library of Congress edition, 1867-1970 provides access to more that 660,000 large-scale maps for more than 12,000 American towns and cities.

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Ira Lourie's Johnson Map Project

The Johnson U.S. Map Project represents the work of Dr. Ira S. Lourie. He is a child psychiatrist who has been an avid map collector since 1978 and whose mapping related interests include both the maps of Maryland and the atlases of Alvin J. Johnson.

Premium Digital Resources

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Ancestry Library Edition

Access and learn about your family history. This resource offers genealogical and local history information.

This resource is available inside library only.

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Heritage Quest

Resources in this premium genealogy database from ProQuest include the US Federal Census 1790-1930.