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Volunteer Program

Want to help the Maryland State Archives? We need you!

We need enthusiastic volunteers who are interested in donating their time and talents! We are looking for individuals to assist us in caring for and making our collections more accessible. We welcome anyone who is eager to lend a hand from high school students to senior citizens, and we have many diverse opportunities available to meet varied time, interest and experience levels. Professional archivists will provide all the necessary training, equipment and tools, if you provide the hours and the energy. We can work with individuals seeking academic credit, field work, professional experience or community service hours, as well. We even have assignments that can be done remotely from the comfort of your own home.

Interested? Please check out the list of potential volunteer assignments below with more detailed information. Then, click on How to Volunteer for instructions on how to apply to the program. If you have additional questions? Please contact

Thank you so much for your consideration! We appreciate any time you can share with us!

Probate Record Volunteer
The Maryland State Archives is participating in a joint project with the Comptroller of the Treasury, the Registers of Wills, and FamilySearch to have the state's probate records from 1634 to 1940 indexed, scanned, and made available online. Volunteers can perform one or both of the following jobs:

  • Removing staples and paperclips
  • Unfolding and flattening documents
  • Creating cover sheets for each record with identifying information found by reading the documents
  • Labeling folders

  • Indexing
  • Confirming the information on cover sheets by reading the documents
  • Typing information from the cover sheet into a spreadsheet

The Imaging Services Department's main function is to responsibly digitize and make accessible images that are of use and value to our researchers. Volunteers are needed for assistance with digital imaging projects ranging from original records to Microfilm. This is not only a great opportunity to help the Maryland State Archives but to also learn proper records handling and archival quality scanning techniques.

Training will be provided covering several scanners and quality control techniques.

What our Volunteers do - There are several stages to the digitization process from prepping originals to be scanned to adding descriptive metadata to images. Several long term projects need assistance with these important steps before making images accessible to the public. Below is a description of main types of work:

  • Digitization- Image acquisition spanning different collections using different methods of capture. Operators will learn digitization to archival standards
  • Post Scan Processing- This may include cropping of images, uploading of images to our archival repository and/or OCR/PDF creation
  • Image Quality Control- Review of images to assure quality. Metadata review and or adding descriptive Metadata to images

Availability - The Imaging Services Department can accommodate as many or as few hours as you would like to volunteer. We are very flexible with scheduling. We have volunteer hours available Monday through Friday between 8:30 and 5:00.


The Maryland State Archives serves as the central depository for government records of permanent value. Its holdings date from Maryland's founding in 1634, and include colonial and state executive, legislative, and judicial records; county probate, land, and court records; church records; business records; state publications and reports; and special collections of private papers, maps, photographs, and newspapers.The records of all state agencies, boards, and commissions that were abolished or have concluded their work must be transferred to the Archives.

The Archives has long made online access to records a core mission. For example, our Guide to Government Records has 3,358,887 images (852 GB) of record material online. Our MDLandRec and Plats websites have a combined 275,167,990 images (62.7 TB) from our collections online. In total, we currently have 321 million files online (169 TB ).

However, image counts are only part of the story, because making records truly accessible involves more than just creating and uploading digital images. Archives’ staff are dedicated to providing the information needed to make sense of the records as an authoritative source, as well as the tools needed to locate any specific record among hundreds of millions. The Archives’ staff inventory records in order to provide detailed listings of documents within record series


The goal of this project is to process Maryland State Archives collections to make them more discoverable and accessible to the general public through in person visits or online.


  • Assist with the processing of government records for public access
  • Assist with creation of record inventory
  • Assist with preparing records to be digitized


  • Read records (including handwritten material) in order to identify by type
  • Organize records by content, date, alphabetically, etc.
  • Remove fasteners, including staples, grommets, paperclips
  • Unfold documents
  • Create written and/or typed inventories
  • Folder and/or box records
  • Label folders and/or boxes
  • Review documents and report any conservation concerns. Introductory handling and preservation training will be provided.


  • Word processing and spreadsheet capability (Google Docs and Google Sheets are preferred for this project)
  • Ability to read print or handwritten text. Ability to read cursive writing as well is preferred.
  • Ability to organize items in chronological or alphabetical order.
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Ability to work independently and report on work performed
  • Working knowledge of spreadsheets (Google Sheets or Excel), database systems, word processing and basic html.
  • Basic familiarity with archival theory and principles is preferred.

Schedule/Hours Requirement

  • Total Hours: 4 hrs weekly minimum TBD
  • Onsite locations:
    • TBD

Professional Development Opportunities

  • Field study/volunteer personnel have the opportunity to meet staff across departments at the Maryland State Archives, learning about various operations. Public outreach events are also open to the intern/volunteer, to further learning and professional development.

For more information, contact:

About this position:

If you are a people person with some experience in genealogical research, then you could be a great fit for the Reference Volunteer Program at the Maryland State Archives. We are looking for a Friday volunteer from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Our program currently runs April through October. Our volunteers help further the Reference Department’s mission of creating a friendly and welcoming environment for visitors of all research levels.

Volunteers will assist with basic computer questions and advise researchers on Maryland genealogical research, with support from our reference archivists.

The Maryland State Archives is very pleased to announce that we are using the crowd-sourcing platform FromThePage to transcribe vital records, and we ask our friends, patrons, genealogists, and all those interested in making Maryland records accessible to help in this effort. This is a remote volunteer opportunity.

Projects on FromThePage rely on volunteers to transcribe displayed documents using a simple interface. For Maryland vital records this consists of a fielded form into which information such as names, dates, and certificate numbers are typed. Getting started as a volunteer is as easy as going to the Fromthepage website and clicking on the “Sign Up” navigation button. You’ll give your name and email address and create a password for the site. Then just click on “Collections” and then search for "Maryland State Archives" projects.

Our first project involves the transcription of marriage certificates for the purpose of creating searchable bride and groom indexes. Indexing either does not exist for some years or the indexes that were created as paper documents became torn and illegible before they could be scanned. These partial indexes are missing whole sections, requiring a time-consuming manual search to locate a certificate when an index entry cannot be found. The creation of complete indexes will allow patrons to search for references online and allow our staff to fulfill orders quickly.

Marriage certificates are among the most requested records here at the Maryland State Archives. These records are needed to apply for a Real ID, driver’s license, passport, Social Security and health benefits, a mortgage, and for other important life events. Women especially need these documents to prove name changes over the course of a life that might include divorce, remarriage, or death of a spouse. Transcription volunteers are helping make this process easier and, in some cases, are providing access to records that otherwise might never be found.

If you are interested in volunteering for this online transcription project please contact Liz Coelho, Director of Special Projects, at

Benefits for volunteers include purchasing publications and merchandise at staff discounts, receiving the newsletter email, free regular copies of scanned records from our search room computers, invitations to internal staff professional development events, and using the search room computers and reference library on Mondays when it is closed to the public. (Please note, however, that original records are not available on Monday.)

To volunteer at the Archives please download and complete the volunteer application and return it to the Archives at or by mail to:

    Jennifer Abbott
    Maryland State Archives
    350 Rowe Blvd.
    Annapolis, MD 21401

In addition to your application, please include an email or note that indicates what opportunities listed above that you are most interested in and what your proposed schedule would be (what specific days/hours you would like to volunteer). If you cannot begin immediately, please also indicate a desired start date, for example if you are are student who is looking to volunteer during a certain semester. If you have any questions, please contact:

Download Volunteer Application: (PDF Format)    (Word Format)

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© Copyright July 16, 2024 Maryland State Archives