History of the DGS

Early History of the Delaware Genealogical Society

The Delaware Genealogical Society was organized under the auspices of the Historical Society of Delaware in October 1977 after a year of surveying researchers using the Historical Society library about their interests and needs.

The first meeting of what was then called the Genealogy Club of the Historical Society was held on October 18, 1977. A large and enthusiastic group heard Ms. Elizabeth Moyne describe research at the Hall of Records in Dover, and Mrs. Gladys M. Coghlan, director of libraries of the Historical Society, describe the Society’s collections, including the Marguerite du Pont de Villiers Boden Genealogy Collection.

At the second meeting on February 21, 1978, Mrs. Coghlan spoke on the various immigrations to the East Coast and the library’s resources for research on them. On April 18, 1978, Mrs. Barbara Y. McEwing described research on ancestors in Europe.

In May, with about 70 people in attendance, the group voted to change its name to “Delaware Genealogical Society”; and Barbara Y. McEwing, Juanelle M. Crump, Louanne Baratte and Eileen Derrick were elected to serve as an executive committee. Harry Diehl spoke on Pennsylvania German immigration and locations of records for research into it.

The first of the Society’s popular and successful all-day workshops was held on June 3, 1978 with John Platt, librarian of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, as featured speaker; most of the day was free for individual research with librarians and member genealogists available to assist.

Under the direction of the executive committee, annual dues were established, a full program of meetings and workshops were scheduled for the 1978-1979 year, and a constitution and by-laws were adopted. Officers and a board of governors were elected in May 1979 to serve until the annual meeting in December 1979.

Past Presidents of the Delaware Genealogical Society

Years ServedPresident’s Name
1979-1980William B. Neal
1981-1982Harry A. Diehl
1983-1984Douglas A. Wenny
1985-1986Barbara McEwing
1987-1988William Kirk
1989-1990Robert J. Redden
1990-1991Donn Devine
1991-1993Patricia Lesky
1993-1995John C. Lewis
1995-1998Thomas P. Doherty
1998-2000Johelene Thompson
2000-2002Ralph D. Nelson, Jr.
2002-2004Donald J. Mosemann
2004-2006Margaret K. Schorah
2006-2008Phoebe F. Doherty
2008-2010Frances O. Allmond
2010-2012Margaret A. David
2012-2014Bernadine M. Brown
2014-2015Colette Watson
2015-2018Susan Kirk Ryan
2018-2021Irene Heffran Monley