When I started researching our house, I started with our deed. That would be my recommendation to anyone taking on this kind of project.
Go to this website and find your deed first (if you don’t have it handy).
You’re going to choose Baltimore City from the first pulldown and STREET ADDRESS in the second pulldown. Click <continue>. On the next page, follow the instructions: next to street name, put your street name with no “avenue”, “lane” etc. Smith Avenue is just “Smith”. You will get search results where you can click on your name. There’s your deed. What you will need is the entire “Deed Reference” Number.
If you scroll down, you’ll see the previous owner info and their deed reference numbers. You’ll see letters before the deed reference numbers – these are the clerk initials and can be helpful to enter at the next step.
Now you go to: https://mdlandrec.net/main/index.cfm and create an account.
Once that’s working, choose Baltimore City from the pulldown and then this screen will come up.
Your deed reference has 2 sets of numbers. The first should be between /00000/ 000 or something like that. The first number is the “Book” and the second is the “Page”. Enter those, press “Go!” and you should get your deed.
In other deeds, you’ll see Book referred to as “Liber” and Page referred to as “Folio”.
In that deed, you will find reference to previous deeds. You look those up the same way and keep working your way back. It’s really important to note when it says something like “lot of ground conveyed by Elisabeth T. Graham and husband to Thomas M. Brown and wife by Deed dated August 11, 1889 and recorded among the land records of Baltimore County in Liber NBN No. 459, folio 238” that you switch on that pulldown at MDLANDREC to “Baltimore County” and then:
Clerk: NBN Book: 459 Page: 238
The clerk initials were a type-o. It’s really NBM, which I found after getting an error and only using the Book and Page/Folio numbers. From the list I get on the next page, I can see that I should click the one From 1899 because the rest of the info matches up.
From there, I can find more deeds and put more info together. I would recommend starting with the previous owners and going back methodically – even if the current deed jumps back pretty far. I’ve learned a lot by doing it slowly.
Once you have names and you’re putting the stories together, you can start to look up census info and once we’re able to be out and about again, you’ll have a starting point with the historical society – you may need the one in baltimore county in addition to the one in the city.
For other info:
You can also search by address in newspapers, the library of congress maps, books… To get you started:
https://www.prattlibrary.org/research/databases/maryland-newspapers (I think this is where I started, but i’m out of time to keep looking)