If property passes to a minor (a person under the age of 18) and there is no other provision under the Will protecting the property, the Orphans’ Court may appoint someone to serve as Guardian for the property of the minor. If the assets exceeded a certain dollar amount, annual reports were required to be filed with the Court and a bond was required. The Orphans’ Court, under certain circumstances, also appointed someone Guardian of the person of the minor. In these cases, the Guardian was responsible for caring for the minor and making decisions regarding health care and education. This collection contains digital images of the Washington County Maryland of the Orphans’ Court from its beginning in 1777 up to 1986.
In 1805 the General Assembly passed a law to identify free African Americans and to control the availability of freedom papers. The law required African Americans who were born free to record proof of their freedom in the county court. The court would then issue them a certificate of freedom. If the black person had been manumitted, the court clerk or register of wills would look up the manumitting document before issuing a certificate of freedom. A typical certificate not only indicates how the individual became free, but also lists physical characteristics that could be used to establish identity. These include height, eye color, complexion, and hair color and texture.