I recently attended a webinar hosted by the Illinois State Genealogical Society called "Some Great, Seldom-Used Resources: A Genealogical Potpourri." Tim Pinnick did a great job of bringing to light several resources I had no idea existed, including one called "Baltimore Life Insurance Company, Genealogical Abstracts" by Jerry M. Hynson.
From the Introduction, written by Sharon Ann Murphy, PhD Candidate, Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia:
Incorporated by the state of Maryland in December 1830, the Baltimore Life Insurance Company was among the first to actively sell life insurance in the United States....The Baltimore Life sold their first policy in May 1831 and had only 25 policies on their books by the end of that year. But as early as 1833 the company was able to move into second place in the industry behind the New York Life Insurance and Trust Company, and by 1835 they possessed approximately 24% of the overall American market share.
....the Baltimore Life was the only company positioned to sell life insurance in the South, although its business was largely confined to Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C.
As I have several brick walls in the areas covered by Hynson's book, I purchased a copy, which arrived today!!
Here are a couple of examples of the information contained in the book:
Clendenine, Dr. Alexander: Born 8 July 1791, York District of South Carolina. Resides in Baltimore, Maryland. Physician. On an extended trip to the Southern and western states of the U.S. Insured by his wife Mary Louisa Clendenin 25 April 1842.
Funk, Solomon: Born in Mansfield, Ohio in 1825. Resides in Hannibal, Missouri. Cabinetmaker. 25 March 1849.
Giles, John (Negro): Born in St. Mary's County, Maryland. Age 26 as of December 1842. Servant/Slave owned by Seraphim Masi, Washington, D.C. Purchased by Mr. Masi to prevent separation of Giles from his family. 13 April 1842.
Stull, E.W.: Note requesting life insurance on self for 3 year period, while in the military service. No other data given. 23 November 1836.
Unfortunately, at first glance, it appears that none of my ancestors took out a life insurance policy with the Baltimore Life Insurance Policy. However, it's still an interesting glimpse into life in the first half of the 19th century in America.
I would be happy to do a quick look-up if you think your ancestors might be listed in this great little resource. Direct email me at email@example.com with the surname you are looking for.
Hope everyone is having a great weekend.