2. Limited Jurisdiction – History
The constitutional provisions fail to describe the jurisdiction of the Orphans’ Court except to state that such courts shall have the power of Orphans’ Courts that existed at the time of the enactment of the Constitution. Thus, the constitutional underpinning of the Orphans’ Court jurisdiction represented a codification of colonial practice. The jurisdiction (or more precisely, the limits on the jurisdiction) grew from the power granted to the Colonial Governor to probate matters according to “law, equity and good conscience.” See Northrop and Schmuhl, Descendants’ Estates in Maryland, §2-1 (Michie 1994).