Delaware Archives and Libraries

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These repositories preserve sources, maintain indexes, and provide services to help genealogists document their ancestors who lived in Delaware.

Wiki Articles on Major Repositories for Delaware

Allen County Public Library IN · American Swedish Historical Museum PA · Delaware Genealogical Society · Delaware Historical Society Library · Delaware Public Archives · Delaware State University Jason Library · Dorchester County Central Public Library MD · Dover Public Library · Free Library of Philadelphia PA · Hagley Museum and Library · Historical Society of Pennsylvania PA · Library of Congress DC · Maryland Historical Society · Maryland State Archives · National Archives I in DC · National Archives at Philadelphia PA · Office of Vital Statistics · Pennsylvania State Archives · Salisbury University Nabb Research Center MD · Talbot County Free Library MD · University of Delaware Morris Library · Wilmington Public Library

Online Records of Delaware

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Links to online databases and indexes that may include vital records, biographies, cemeteries, censuses, histories, immigration records, land records, maps, military records, naturalizations, newspapers, obituaries, or probate records.


National Repositories

Library of Congress Jefferson Building in Washington DC

Library of Congress

101 Independence Ave. SE
Thomas Jefferson Building, LJ G4
Washington, D.C. 20540-4660
Telephone:[1]  Reading Room: 202-707-5537
Fax:[1]  202-707-1957
E-mail:  Ask a Librarian[1]
Internet: http://www.loc.gov/rr/genealogy/

The LC "Local History and Genealogy Reading Room" has moved to the main reading room, but services are unchanged. They are part of the world's largest library including 50,000 genealogies, 100,000 local histories, and collections of manuscripts, microfilms, maps, newspapers, photographs, and published material, strong in North American, British Isles, and German sources.[2] Delaware family history is well represented.

National Archives I

Researchers' entrance to National Archives I in Washington DC
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington DC
Telephone:  1-866-272-6272
Fax:  301-837-0483
E-mail: National Archives and Records Administration
Internet: http://archives.gov/
Archives I has nationwide censuses, pre-WWI military service and pensions, passenger lists, naturalizations, passports, federal bounty land, homesteads, bankruptcy, ethnic sources, prisons, and federal employees. The National Archives Building in Washington, DC (Archives I), houses textual and microfilm records relating to genealogy, American Indians, pre-World War II military and naval-maritime matters, the New Deal, the District of Columbia, the Federal courts, and Congress.[3] Their collection includes many people who settled in Delaware.

National Archives at Philadelphia

Sign at the entrance to the National Archives at Philadelphia
14700 Townsend Road
Philadelphia, PA 19154-1096
Telephone: 215-305-2044
Fax: 215-305-2052
E-mail: Philadelphia.archives@nara.gov
Internet: http://www.archives.gov/philadelphia/
This archives branch has federal agency and court records for Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. All U.S. federal censuses 1790-1940, and indexes. Also have passenger arrivals in Philadelphia 1800-1945 and Baltimore, pension and bounty land warrant applications, naturalizations 1790-1990, early federal history, diplomacy, military history, World War II homefront, National Park Service, merchant marine, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, and federal tax evasion and smuggling cases.[4]

Statewide Repositories

Delaware Genealogical Society

505 N. Market Street
Wilmington, Delaware 19801-3091
Email: president@delgensoc.org
Website: Delaware Genealogical Society

This Society focuses on Delaware and surrounding states. They provide education and research assistance via their website, monthly seminars, newsletter, twice-yearly journal, DGS blog, queries, projects, free help, and fee-based help.[5]
Delaware Historical Society in Wilmington

Delaware Historical Society Library

505 N. Market Street
Wilmington, DE 19801
Telephone: 302-655-7161
E-mail: deinfo@dehistory.org
Website: Delaware Historical Society

This an important facility for finding early Delaware sources: colonial records, newspapers, church records, state records, Revolutionary War, Civil War, Delaware histories and genealogies.[6]

Delaware Public Archives

Delaware Public Archives in Dover
121 Duke of York St.
Dover, DE 19901
Phone: (302) 744-5000
Fax: (302) 739-6710
E-mail: Contact form
Website: Delaware Public Archives
Facebook: Delaware Public Archives
They have good coverage of the colonial sources for each "hundred" and each county.[6] Also, they provide finding aids and digitized records online. For a guide see:
  • Joanne Mattern, and Harold B. Hancock, comps. A Preliminary Inventory of the Older Records in the Delaware Archives. (Dover, Delaware: Delaware Public Archives, 1978). WorldCat 866708643; FHL fiche 6331225. This source briefly describes jurisdiction, record type, number of volumes, and dates covered.

Office of Vital Statistics

Division of Public Health
417 Federal Street
Dover, DE 19901
Telephone:877-888-0248
Website: Birth & Death Records - Office of Vital Statistics

Obtain copies from the Office of Vital Statistics of birth, marriage, and death certificates either in person, by telephone, by written request—or by going online to the VitalChek Delaware webpage and using a credit card to pay the added fee for online BMD vital records requests.[7] Delaware statewide registration began for births / deaths in 1881, and marriages in 1847. Some local counties or cities have some spotty earlier records.

Regional Repositories

Delaware State University Jason Library

William C. Jason Library
1200 N. DuPont Highway
Dover, DE 19901-2277
Telephone 302-857-6191
Fax: 302-857-6177
E-mail: List of contacts
Website: Library

They have a very good historical collection for Delaware.[6]

Dover Public Library

35 Loockerman Plaza
Dover, DE 19901
Telephone: 302-736-7030
E-mail: Ask a Delaware Librarian form
Website: Dover Public Library

Collection covers Delawareana, the Delmarva Peninsula sources, local histories and genealogies.[6]

Hagley Museum mill race in Wilmington

Hagley Museum and Library

298 Buck Road (P.O. Box 3630)
Wilmington, DE 19807-3630
Telephone: 302-658-2400
Fax: 302-658-0545
E-mail: research@hagley.org
Website: Hagley Research

This is in effect a second state public archives. They have early Delaware records, diaries, plat maps, and colonial records which cannot be found in the Delaware Public Archives.[6] They also have records and publications of more than 1,000 businesses, and some families, especially the DuPont and related families. A guide to their records is:
  • John Beverley Riggs, A Guide to Manuscripts in the Eleutherian Mills Historical Library (Greenville, Delaware: First Eleutherian Mills Historical Library, 1970). 1970 ed. WorldCat 104052, and 1978 supplement WorldCat 5382284. This guide lists records acquired through 1965. The supplement lists records acquired through 1975.
    UDel Morris Library in Newark, Delaware


University of Delaware Morris Library

181 South College Avenue
Newark, DE 19717-5267 USA
Telephone: 302-831-2965
E-mail: Ask the Library e-mail form
Website: University of Delaware Library

This is virtually a second state archives.[6]
Wilmington Public Library


Wilmington Public Library

10 E 10th Street
Wilmington, DE 19801 USA
Telephone: 302-571-7400
E-mail: wilmref@lib.de.us
Website: The Wilmington Library

Delawareana, genealogies, and histories,[6] Delaware Index of newspapers, city directories, maps, censuses 1810-1930, obituary searches for a fee, and digitized collections.[8]

Allen Co Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Outside of Delaware Repositories

Allen County Public Library

900 Library Plaza
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802
Telephone: 260-421-1225
E-mail: genealogy@acpl.info
Internet: Genealogy Center ACPL

This is the second-largest genealogy collection in the United States[9] and the largest genealogy collection in a public library. Its holdings include more than 350,000 printed volumes and 513,000 items on microfilm and microfiche.[10] It has a premier genealogical periodical collection, local histories, genealogies, databases, military, censuses, directories, passenger lists, ethnic sources, and Canadians. They have a great eastern seaboard and Delaware collection.[11]

American Swedish Historical Museum

American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia PA
1900 Pattison Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19145
Telephone: 215-389-1776
E-mail: info@americanswedish.org
Internet: http://www.americanswedish.org/
New Sweden colony, and Swedish heritage in the Delaware Valley (northern Delaware, southern New Jersey, and southeast Pennsylvania).[12]

Dorchester County Central Public Library

303 Gay St.
Cambridge, MD 21613
Telephone: 410-228-7331
Internet: Dorchester County Public Library

Their collection includes many Maryland Eastern Shore, and Delaware historical sources.[6]

Free Library of Philadelphia

Free Library of Philadelphia Parkway Central
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1157
(between 19th and 20th Streets on the Parkway)
Telephone: 215-686-5322
E-mail: E-mail a Librarian form
Internet: http://libwww.freelibrary.org/branches/branch.cfm?loc=cen
There are many historic Delaware manuscripts, books, Quaker and early settlement sources.[13] [14]

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Historical Society of PA in Philadelphia
1300 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107-5699
Telephone: 215-732-6200
Fax: 215-732-2680
E-mail: ReadyReference@hsp.org
Internet: http://hsp.org/
More information here about early Delaware than in Delaware. Has early Quakers, Germans, Scots-Irish, and other settlers in William Penn's colonies of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Records which have been published are normally well-indexed. This society also has 17th-, 18th-, and 19th-century manuscripts (letters, diaries, account books, deeds, minutes, and scrapbooks), passenger arrival lists and indexes, [13] local and regional history, ethnic and immigrant studies materials, 600,000 books, 20 million manuscripts, over 300,000 graphics items, and 300 years of newspapers.[15]

Maryland Historical Society

201 West Monument St.
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-4674
Telephone: 410-685-3750
E-mail: reference@mdhs.org
Internet: Maryland Historical Society Library Overview

This facility has a large genealogical book collection for Delaware, and family Bibles, newspapers, and biographies.[6]

Maryland State Archives

Hall of Records Building
350 Rowe Boulevard
Annapolis, MD 21401
Telephone: 410-260-6400
Fax: 410-974-2525
E-mail: ref@mdsa.net
Internet: Maryland State Archives

A good resource for finding early Delaware ancestors. The Maryland State Archives online has nearly all available public records from 1634 to 1789. This is the most complete collection of any of the 13 colonies. It can take up the three days just to check the indexes.[16] For more information about the state archives, see the following references.
  • Maryland. Hall of Records. A Guide to the Index Holdings at the Hall of Records. Rev., Bulletin, [Maryland. Hall of Records] No. 17. (Annapolis, Maryland: Hall of Records, 1972.) FHL book 975.2 A1 no. 56. This is a county-by-county list of indexes and years covered.

Pennsylvania State Archives

PA State Archive building in Harrisburg
300 North Street      (mail to:  350 North Street)
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Telephone: 717-783-3281
E-mail: ra-statearchives@pa.gov
Internet: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
Colonial references to Delaware settlements. This huge collection has indexes and original sources associated with the Pennsylvania Archives series, such as vital, military, prison, naturalization, land records, census, ships lists, railroads, mines, and 1.5 million online records[17] [18] including online genealogy guides.

Salisbury Univ Nabb Research Center

Salisbury University Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture
Guerrieri Academic Commons (street address)
(4th Floor, Room 430)
1101 Camden Ave (mailing address)
Salisbury, MD 21801
Telephone: 410-543-6312
Fax: 410-677-5067
E-mail: nabbcenter@salisbury.edu
Internet: Nabb Research Center

This repository has family files, family histories, local histories, photos, and artifacts from the Delmarva Penninsula (Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia) also called the "Eastern Shore." Includes correspondence, manuscripts, ledgers, diaries, local business and organizational records, maps, newspapers, land surveys, and oral histories. Microfilm collections hold governmental and church records of Somerset, Worcester, Dorchester and Wicomico counties in Maryland; Accomack and Northampton counties in Virginia; and Sussex County in Delaware.[19]

Talbot County Free Library

The Maryland Room
100 W. Dover St.
Easton, Maryland 21601
Telephone: 410-822-1626
Fax: 410-820-8217
E-mail: Ask a Question form
Website: Maryland Room: Local History and Genealogy Special Collections

Many Delaware and Eastern Shore historical sources.[6]

Family History Centers

Some of the above collections are partially duplicated at the Family History Library and its branch Family History Centers around the world. Most centers can help you by:

  • Giving you limited, personal, one-on-one research suggestions (but they do not do research for you)
    Wilmington Delaware Family History Center
  • Providing access to genealogical records through the premium online Internet FHC Portal for free.
  • Offering free how-to classes (varies by location)
  • Fostering contact between genealogical enthusiasts

There are several centers located in Delaware, for example:

Wilmington Delaware Family History Center
143 Dickinson Lane
Wilmington, DE
Telephone: 302-654-1911
Each center is staffed by volunteers and has varying hours and services. Telephone in advance to verify their hours.

To locate one of these 4,500 centers in your own neighborhood, see Find a Family History Center.

Guidebooks

  • Barbara Ann Holley, ed. Directory of Libraries and Information Sources in the Philadelphia Area (Eastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, and Delaware). (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Special Libraries Association, Philadelphia Chapter, 1977). WorldCat 866330223; FHL film 1036557 item 9 . Briefly lists address, phone, hours, collection, and use of interlibrary loan.
  • Delaware Historical Records Survey, Inventory of the County Archives of Delaware. Number 1. New Castle County. (Dover, Delaware: The Public Archives Commission, 1941). WorldCat 866146917; FHL fiche 6051279 Detailed description of each record type including years covered, number of volumes, and contents.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Contact Information in The Library of Congress (accessed 12 May 2010).
  2. The Collections in Local History and Genealogy Reading Room in The Library of Congress (accessed 8 January 2014).
  3. Information for Researchers at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC in National Archives (accessed 31 December 2013).
  4. William Dollarhide and Ronald A. Bremer. America's Best Genealogy Resource Centers (Bountiful, Utah: Heritage Quest, 1998), 126-27. WorldCat 39493985. FHL Ref Book 973 J54d.
  5. Research in Delaware Genealogical Society (accesed 24 April 2016).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9 Dollarhide and Bremer, 27.
  7. Birth & Death Records - Office of Vital Statistics in Delaware.gov (accessed 25 April 2017).
  8. Local History Research in The Wilmington Library (accessed 24 April 2016).
  9. Allen County Public Library in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 28 April 2010).
  10. Genealogy Center in Allen County Public Library (accessed 28 April 2010).
  11. Genealogy Center Collections in Genealogy Center (accessed 27 February 2015).
  12. About the Museum in American Swedish Historical Museum (accessed 24 December 2013).
  13. 13.0 13.1 Dollarhide and Bremer, 27 and 95.
  14. Genealogy 101 in Free Library of Philadelphia (accessed 28 December 2013).
  15. About Our Collections in Historical Society of Pennsylvania (accessed 27 December 2013).
  16. Dollarhide and Bremer, 27 and 55.
  17. Dollarhide and Bremer, 27 and 97.
  18. Research Topics at the Pennsylvania State Archives in Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (accessed 23 December 2013).
  19. Nabb Research Center in Salisbury University (accessed 25 April 2017).