Delaware County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

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United StatesGotoarrow.png Pennsylvania Gotoarrow.png Delaware County

This article is about a county of southeast Pennsylvania. For other uses, see Delaware (disambiguation)

Delaware County, Pennsylvania
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the U.S. highlighting Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the U.S.
Founded September 26, 1789
County Seat Media
Delaware County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Address The Courthouse and Government Center Complex
201 West Front Street
Media, PA 19063
Delaware County Website
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Historical Facts

Beginning dates for major county records

  • Named for the Delaware River
  • The County seat prior to 1851 was Chester City and it was county seat for Chester County, too.
  • Since 1851, the county seat has been Media.

1641: Swedes and Finns spreading north from Fort Christina (present-day Wlimington, Delaware) first settle in Finland (Chamassungh), now Trainer, Pennsylvania[3][4][5] and Upland (Meckopenacka), now Chester, Pennsylvania.[6][7][8] The New Sweden Colony continues to expand northward with new settlements as far as Philadelphia in the following years.

1651-1655: The New Netherland Colony builds Fort Casimir[9][10][11] (now New Castle, Delaware), settle Sandhook,[12][13][14] and abandon Fort Beversrede (now Philadelphia) in 1651. In 1654 New Sweden captures Fort Casimir from the Dutch without a fight and renames it Fort Trinty (Trefaldighets).[15] In 1655 New Netherland returns with a large army and all of New Sweden in presend-day Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey submits to Dutch rule.[16]

1664: As part of the Second Anglo-Dutch War New Netherland including southeast Pennsylvania is surrendered to the English.[17]

1673-1674: A new war breaks out and the Dutch send a large armada to retake New Netherland for a few months. But as the war ends the colony is ceeded to England for the last time.[18]

1680s: William Penn founded the English colony of Pennsylvania after receiving a grant in 1681 from the king of England. His colony offered religious freedom, liberal government, and inexpensive land. Quakers established the city of Philadelphia.


Bible Records


Cemetery records often reveal birth, marriage, death, relationship, military, and religious information.

Online Grave Transcripts Published Grave Transcripts County Cemetery Directories

Family History Library


Names in Stone
USGenWeb-Tombstone photos
Billion Graves
Pennsylvania Genealogy Epodunk
Pennsylvania Gravestones
Billion Graves
Names in Stone
Access Genealogy

See Pennsylvania Cemeteries for more information.

Har Jehuda Cemetery, Upper Darby BillionGraves
Mount Moriah Cemetery, Philadelphia/Yeadon BillionGraves


For tips on accessing Delaware County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Federal (or United States) census records online, see: Pennsylvania Census.

There are no county or state census records available for Pennsylvania. County and city tax records can be used as a substitute when census records are not available.

  • 1671 Transcription and Index

Church Records

Finding Church Records at Other Repositories

Additional church records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Delaware County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Church Records  in online catalogs like:

County-wide Database - Multi-denominational
Delaware county pennsylvania churches.png
Contains the church records of:
  • Jonathan Worrall Justice of the Peace Docket
  • W.P.A. Project/Gravestone Inscriptions
  • Chadds Ford: St. Luke's Church, Chadds Ford
  • Chester: Chester Rural Cemetery Association; Madison Street United Methodist Church; Providence Avenue United Methodist Church; St. Paul's Episcopal Church; United Methodist Church
  • Essington: Protestant Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist
  • Gradyville: Record of Pastors
  • Manoa: Bethesda Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Marcus Hook: St. Martin's Episcopal Church
  • Media: First Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Middletown: Wesley United Methodist Church
  • Newtown: Newtown Cemetery Association
  • Norwood: Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Philadelphia: Benjamin Paschall Justice of the Peace Docket
  • Radnor: St. Martin's Episcopal Church
  • Rockdale: Calvary Episcopal Church of Rockdale
  • Rose Valley: Old Union Methodist Church
  • Rosemont: Good Shepherd Episcopal Church; Radnor Methodist Church
  • Springfield: Springfield Friends Graveyard; St. John's Lutheran Church Springfield
  • Thornbury: Stony Bank Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Wallingford: Trinity Lutheran Church
  • Yeadon: Fernwood Cemetery; Holy Cross Roman Catholic Cemetery
  • 1682-1800 - Humphrey, John T. Pennsylvania Births, Delaware County, 1682-1800. Washington, D.C.: Humphrey Publications, 1995. FHL Book 974.814 K2h.
Contains the church records of Chester Monthly Meeting, Chester; Concord Monthly Meeting, Concord Township; Darby Monthly Meeting, Darby; Radnor Monthly Meeting, Radnor Township; St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal Church, Chester; St. David's Protestant Episcopal Church, Radnor Township.

Cyndie Enfinger has compiled a detailed list of Delaware County, Pennsylvania churches at PAGenWeb - free.


St. David's Church, Radnor

Communion lists begin in 1722, baptisms in 1727, marriages and burials in 1800.[19]

St. John's Church, Concord

Early registers are lost.[19]

St. Paul's Church, Chester

Registers begin in 1704.[19]

  • 1704-1733 - Marriage Record of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Chester, 1704-1733 (Pennsylvania Archives, Series 2, Vol. 8, Part 5) at Ancestry ($); Google Books - free.

St. Martin's Church, Marcus Hook

Vestry books begin in 1724.[19]

Court Records

Delaware County, Pennsylvania Genealogy court records are housed at the Delaware County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Courthouse. For many counties copies of court records may be found at the Pennsylvania State Archives and in the FamilySearch collection. Note that within these collections some films may contain the same records, but have different titles. Other titles are not duplicates. See Finding Court Records at other repositories within this section for links to the online catalogs for these two collections. Films at the Pennsylvania State Archives are not available for inter-library loan. If court records are available FamilySearch films may be available at a local Family History Center. Call ahead for availability.

Court of Common Pleas

The Courts of Common Pleas are the trial courts of Pennsylvania. Major civil and criminal cases are heard in these courts. Judges also decide cases involving adoption, divorce, child custody, abuse, juvenile delinquency, estates, guardianships, charitable organizations and many other matters. The Common Pleas courts are organized into 60 judicial districts. Delaware County, Pennsylvania Genealogy County has its own judicial district. Judges of the Common Pleas courts are elected to 10-year terms. A president judge and a court administrator serve in each judicial district.[20]

Clerk of the Court
Orphan's Court (see Vital Records)

Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic Groups



United States Geographic Survey Place Names - GNIS for Delaware County  (over 1500)
(may not always be present in alphabetic order on first try.)



Published Histories

Land and Property

Land records in Delaware County began in 1770. These records are filed with the Recorder of Deeds office in Media, Pennsylvania.

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts, indexes, mortgages, leases, grants, sheriff sales, land patents, and maps. Property records include liens as well as livestock brands and estray records.

The following are examples of available resources:

Online Land Records

  • 1982–present Delaware County offers online access to records. Fees apply.

Land Records on Microfilm

Additional Resources

Note that the "Maps" section below includes maps related to land ownership.

See Pennsylvania Land and Property for more information about using land records, especially about original land warrants, surveys, and patents filed at the state land office.

Additional resources can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Delaware County Pennsylvania Land in online catalogs such as:


Media:Delaware county pennsylvania townships.pngDelaware county pennsylvania townships.png
About this image
Click the image to view an enlarged version

Ancestor Tracks has posted free downloadable image from the 1880 Atlas of Delaware County, Pennsylvania by Benjamin H. Smith.  This atlas located in the Library of Congress shows major landowners and geographic sites at the date of publishing.  While the physical maps are in the public domain, the images we have taken of the maps belong to us and are not to be used commercially.  We hereby give permission to use them strictly for personal use; please attribute to Ancestor Tracks.



Revolutionary War

Men in what is now Delaware County (then Chester County) served in the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment.[21]

Naturalization and Citizenship


Delaware County, Pennsylvania Genealogy newspapers may contain genealogical value including obituaries, births, marriages, deaths, anniversaries, family gatherings, family travel, achievements, business notices, engagement information, and probate court proceedings.

To access newspapers, contact public libraries, historical/genealogical societies, college or university libraries, or state archives in the area where the newspaper was published.

For information on state-wide newspapers see Pennsylvania Newspapers

Newspapers of Delaware County

Online Newspapers

To learn if there are newspapers online for a specific town or city in Pennsylvania, see and search for the town or the name of a newspaper.

Online Newspaper Abstracts


Obituaries are generally found in local newspapers where the person died. However, sometimes an obituary is found in the location from which he or she originated. To find an obituary, see the information under the Newspaper heading

Online Obituary Abstracts


Indentured Servants


Poorhouse, Almshouse

Probate Records

Probate matters in Delaware County, Pennsylvania Genealogy are handled by the Orphans' Court and start when the county was created. To obtain original probate records, contact the Orphan's Court in the County Courthouse.

In addition to wills and administrations, the Orphans' Court also handles: audits of accounts of executors, administrators, trustees, and guardians; distribution of estates of decedents, incompetents, and minors; appointment and control of guardians; adoptions; appeals from the Register of Wills involving probate matters; inheritance tax appeals and various petitions and motions.

Additional Probate Indexes and Abstracts

Additional probate indexes or abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Delaware County, Pennsylvania Genealogy probate wills in online catalogs like:

Online Probate Records

Many original Delaware County probate records are available free online as digital images at:

  • 1789-1973 - Pennsylvania, Probate Records, 1683-1994 at - free. Includes Delaware County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Wills and Administration Record Index (1789-1973), Will Books A-U (1789-1908); Letters of Administration Vols. 1-4 (1789-1917); Orphans' Court Docket Index (1789-1865), Orphans' Court Dockets Vols. A-J (1790-1882); Recognizance Book (1835-1888).

Probate records can  be found at the Delaware County Archives .

Original Probate Records on Microfilm



Delaware County Archives 
340 North Middletown Rd
Building 19
Lima PA 19063

Mailing Address:
201 West Front Street
Media PA 19063


The archives has will administrations 1790-1935; county home records 1806-1929; birth 1852-1906; marriage records 1852-1854 and 1885-1940; death records 1852-1854 and 1893-1906; court records 1790-1929; veterans' graves registration 1775-2010; prison records 1873-1917; naturalization records 1795-1990; wills 1789-1935; and more.


Delaware County Courthouse
The Courthouse and Government Center Complex
201 West Front Street
Media, PA 19063
Telephone: (610)-891-4000
Office hoursL 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m.

Offices of County are found in the Departments link on any og the pages. Departments of interest to geanealogists include:

Family History Centers

Family History Centers (FHCs) are branches of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and are located all over the world. Their goal is to provide resources for family history research.


Delaware County Library System (DCLS)
Administrative Headquarters
340 N. Middletown Rd., Fair Acres Bldg. 19,
Media, PA 19063
Phone: 610-891-8622
Fax: 610-891-8641
Online Catalog

There are 22 libraries in the DCLS library system. They have a sizable genealogy and biography collection.

  • Christian C. Sanderson Museum
    P.O. Box 153
    1755 Creek Road (Old Route 100)
    Chadds Ford, PA 19317
    PHONE: 610-388-6545
    The museum also has a family name index "for stories to augment your genealogy research."
    Founded in 1732. Has Research facilities.
  • Pennsylvania Veterans Museum
    Media Armory
    12 East State Street
    Media, PA 19063
    Phone: 610-566-0788
    Education is the main focus. It is also creating a living history database.

Delaware County Historical Society
408 Ave. of the States
Chester, PA 19013
Telephone: (610) 359-0826 
Hours: Wednesday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Thursday 1:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Parking: Free parking is on the DCHS lot behind the building off 4th Street or in the municipal lot across 4th Street.

The Delaware County Historical Society has been collecting and preserving items of the county's history. The research library contains an extensive collection of Bible, birth, burial, census, church, court, genealogical, land and marriage records, as well as maps, newspapers, telephone books, city directories, and yearbooks. The museum hosts four exhibits a year.


  • 1798 - Pennsylvania, U.S. Direct Tax Lists, 1798 at Ancestry ($).

Vital Records

For birth and death records prior to 1906 contact:

Delaware County Archives 
340 North Middletown Rd
Building 19
Lima PA 19063

Mailing Address:
201 West Front Street
Media PA 19063

Birth and Death Records (610) 891-5620
Marriage Records (610) 891-4403
Divorce Records (610) 891-4370
Hours: Tues, Wed, Thurs 8:00 am - 3:00 pm

Vital records are handled by the County Orphans' Court. Between the years 1852-1855 Pennsylvania made a failed attempt to record birth, marriage and death events at the county level. While the records for that time period are available, there were few events recorded. County marriage records were kept in earnest in 1885. Births and deaths, at the county level, were begun in 1893 and kept through 1905. Abstracts and copies of vital records are available for some counties, but most are incomplete. For the most complete set of records, always contact the County Orphans' Court.


Early births 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. See the heading Court Records on this page for contact information.

Indexes for Pennsylvania birth records are available through the Department of of Health for 1906 and 1907. Once an individual is located in the index a non certified Birth certificate can be obtained by writing and sending $3.00 to:

Division of Vital Records
ATTN: Public Records
P.O. Box 1528
New Castle, PA 16103


The following records are available at the Delaware County Archives:

  • 1700-1821 - Pennsylvania Marriage Records – ($) This database is incomplete for all counties.
  • 1725-1976 - Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1709-1940 - free index. Not complete for all years.
  • Pre-1810 – Pennsylvania Marriages – ($) This database is incomplete for all counties. Includes 35,000 marriage records from vol. VIII of of the second series of the Pennsylvania Archives.
  • 1852-1854 - Pennsylvania Marriages – ($) Index with images.
  • 1852-1854 Marriage Records, online index
  • 1885-1940 Marriage Records, online index
  • 1885-1950 - Pennsylvania County Marriage, 1885-1950 Extracted marriage records – free. This database is incomplete for all counties. May also contain marriage records earlier than 1885.
  • 1887-1907 - Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1709-1940 - free index. Not complete for all years.

Pennsylvania marriages are located at the county level. Contact the Delaware County, Pennsylvania Genealogy clerk's office for these records.


Divorce records are available through the office of the Prothonotary. The office of the Prothonotary is located in the courthouse building.


The following records are available at the Delaware County Archives:

Early deaths 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. See the heading Court Records on this page for contact information.

Indexes for Pennsylvania death records are available through the Department of Health for 1906 through 1962. Once an individual is located in the index a non certified death certificate can be obtained obtained by writing and sending $3.00 to:

Division of Vital Records
ATTN: Public Records
P.O. Box 1528
New Castle, PA 16103

Finding Vital Records at Other Repositories

Additional vital records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Delaware County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Vital Records in online catalogs like:


  • Swathmore College: 1883-1956 (Online at the Internet Archive)

Web Sites


Populated Places

  • City: Chester
  • Boroughs: Aldan . Brookhaven . Chester Heights . Clifton Heights . Collingdale . Colwyn . Darby . East Lansdowne . Eddystone . Folcroft . Glenolden . Lansdowne . Marcus Hook . Media . Millbourne . Morton . Norwood . Parkside . Prospect Park . Ridley Park . Rose Valley . Rutledge . Sharon Hill . Swarthmore . Trainer . Upland . Yeadon
  • Townships: Aston . Bethel . Chadds Ford . Chester . Concord . Darby . Edgmont . Haverford . Lower Chichester . Marple . Middletown . Nether Providence . Newtown . Radnor . Ridley . Springfield . Thornbury . Tinicum . Upper Chichester . Upper Darby . Upper Providence
  • Communities: Ardmore . Boothwyn . Bortondale . Bowling Green . Broomall . Cheyney . Drexel Hill . Elwyn . Folsom . Garden City . Garnet Valley . Garrett Hill . Glen Mills . Glen Riddle . Gradyville . Haverford . Havertown . Lenni . Lima . Linwood . Moylan . Pine Ridge . Radnor . Riddlewood . Rosemont . Rose Tree . Secane . South Media . St. Davids . Strafford . Villanova . Village Green-Green Ridge . Wallingford . Wawa . Wayne . Woodlyn


  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), [FHL book 973 D27e 2002].
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Adams County, Pennsylvania" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at,_Pennsylvania (accessed 17 July 2012).
  3. "New Sweden" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at (accessed 7 November 2008).
  4. Albert Cook Myers, Narratives of Early Pennsylvania, West New Jersey and Delaware, 1630-1707 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1912; reprint Barnes and Noble, 1959; digitized by Google, 2008), 69, note 3. "Chamassung or Finland, where the Finns dwelt, was on the west side of the Delaware River, between the present Marcus Hook in Pennsylvania, and the mouth of Naaman's Creek just over the circular state line in Delaware."
  5. Memoirs of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, v. 3, (Philadelphia:M'Carty and Davis, 1834; digitized by Google, 2006), 11. "Chamassungh, or Finland. This place was inhabited by Finns, who had strong houses, but no fort. It lies at the distance of two German miles, east of Christina, by water; and, by land, it is distant two long Swedish miles."
  6. Amandus Johnson, "Detailed Map of New Sweden 1638-1655" in Amandus Johnson's book The Swedes on the Delaware 1638-1664 (Philadelphia: Swedish Colonial Society, 1915), 392.
  7. Johnson, Swedish Settlements, 372. "Johann Companius, who was called by the government to go to New Sweden in 1642, was placed on the new budget, with a salary of 10 R.D. a month and seems to have been looked upon as a sort of military preacher. He was stationed at Christina, but shortly after his arrival here he was transferred to Upland, where he settled with his family and conducted the service at New Gothenborg."
  8. Myers, 150. "If now [the land at] Upland, which belongs to the Company, and is large enough for the sowing of twenty or thirty bushels of grain, might be given to the parsonage for Nertunius, together with the small houses there, it would be very well; then he would need no other salary from the Company." and footnote 4, "Now Chester."
  9. Amandus Johnson, "Detailed Map of New Sweden 1638-1655" in Amandus Johnson's book The Swedes on the Delaware 1638-1664 (Philadelphia: Swedish Colonial Society, 1915), 392.
  10. "Fort Casimir" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at (accessed 7 November 2008).
  11. Philip S. Klein, and Ari Hoogenboom, "A History of Pennsylvania, 2nd ed." (University Park, Penn.: Penn State Press, 1980; digitized by Google at, 11.
  12. Johnson, Detailed Map.
  13. Peter Stebbins Craig, "Chronology of Colonial Swedes on the Delaware 1638-1712" in The Swedish Colonial Society [Internet site] at (accessed 10 November 2008). Originally published in Swedish Colonial News, vol. 2, number 5 (Fall 2001). "1651 - Dutch build Fort Casimir at Sand Hook (New Castle) and abandon Fort Bevers-reede in Schuylkill."
  14. Johnson, Swedes on the Delaware, 294. "In October, Novermber, and December the new freemen were ordered to clear their lands at various places, for the purpose of planting maize in the coming spring; and several fields at Sandhook, at Fort Christina and up at the [Christina] River were cleared and sewn for the benefit of the company with the grain which Mr. Lord had brought in . . ."
  15. "New Sweden" in Wikipedia.
  16. "New Sweden" in Wikipedia.
  17. "New Netherland" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at (accessed 13 December 2008).
  18. "New Netherland" in Wikipedia.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Philip Syng Physick Conner,"Registers of the Anglican Church in Pennsylvania prior to 1800," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 12 (1888):341-349. For free online access, see WeRelate.
  20. The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania accessed 10 July 2012.
  21. John B.B. Trussell and Charles C. Dallas, The Pennsylvania Line; Regimental Organization and Operations, 1776-1783 (Harrisburg, Pa.: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1977). Digital version at Family History Archive.