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 scheduled for the 1978-1979 year, and a constitution and by-laws 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 Served President's Name
1979-1980 William B. Neal
1981-1982 Harry A. Diehl
1983-1984 Douglas A. Wenny
1985-1986 Barbara McEwing
1987-1988 William Kirk
1989-1990 Robert J. Redden
1990-1991 Donn Devine
1991-1993 Patricia Lesky
1993-1995 John C. Lewis
1995-1998 Thomas P. Doherty
1998-2000 Johelene Thompson
2000-2002 Ralph D. Nelson, Jr.
2002-2004 Donald J. Mosemann
2004-2006 Margaret K. Schorah
2006-2008 Phoebe F. Doherty
2008-2010 Frances O. Allmond
2010-2012 Margaret A. David
2012-2014 Bernadine M. Brown
2014-2015 Colette Watson
2015-2018 Susan Kirk Ryan