Websites & Repositories
Here is a list of websites and resources that may help with your Delaware genealogy research. They are arranged by category to help you find what you’re looking for.
Many more resources are listed in the Records Repositories chapter of the Delaware Genealogical Research Guide, which is accessible to DGS members. Softcover print copies of the research guide are available from Amazon.com.
- Genealogical Societies and Organizations
- Libraries and Archives in Delaware
- Libraries and Archives Outside of Delaware
- Reference and Dictionaries
Genealogical Societies and Organizations
Delaware Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society
This society is a chartered member of the National Organization of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Inc. The society meets regularly and offers access to online genealogical resources. It has an active Facebook page.
Directory of African-American Genealogical Societies
Michael Hait’s website lists African-American Genealogical Societies.
Directory of Pennsylvania Genealogical Societies
The site lists all of the Pennsylvania historical and genealogical societies.
Downstate Delaware Genealogical Society
This society meets at the Delaware Public Archives in Dover, Delaware. The scheduled speakers will enhance your knowledge of genealogy, records, techniques to following threads of information.
Sussex County Genealogical Society
The society meets in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware at the library. Various speakers and activities are scheduled.
Maryland Genealogical Society
The society meets in Baltimore. They offer many educational programs and the site offers links to other Maryland societies and useful repositories for research. There is a members only section with searchable lists and abstracts.
New York Genealogical and Biographical Society
This is included because it has an excellent site and should your research lead you in this direction I doubt you could find a better partner to help. They have an expansive member section with a lot of material online. Membership is pricy but if you have ancestors from New York state anytime in history this group and their offerings could be valuable.
National Genealogical Society
Expansive site with lots of information, and educational courses.
Libraries and Archives in Delaware
Delaware Division of Libraries Website
This website features the Delaware Library Catalog, a searchable catalog that aggregates 2.6 million items from a consortium of more than 60 public, school, academic, and special libraries in Delaware. The consortium includes the Delaware Public Archives, the Wilmington Public Library, and many other libraries. Click the website’s “Libraries” tab for a detailed list of all consortium members.
Delaware Historical Society
The Delaware Historical Society Research Library has the largest collection of Delaware genealogies, newspapers, manuscripts, maps and photographs on all aspects of Delaware’s history and people. There are many genealogical references and references for bordering states. The society has an extensive genealogical surname file, church, cemetery and newspaper records, family folders, DAR bible records. The Delaware Historical Society is located in Wilmington DE.
Delaware Public Archives
The Delaware Public Archives (DPA) is the central repository for all non-current records of the state and its counties and municipalities, historical documents, maps, and newspapers. Most records date from statehood in 1776, but there are also documents from the Swedish colonial period (1638-55); the Dutch settlement period (1655-64); the Duke of York regime (1664-82); and the Penn Proprietorship (1682-1776). DPA has a growing list of digitized books; an extensive card file of Delaware births, baptisms, marriages, and deaths; and, on microfilm, records of births from 1861 to 1913 and deaths from 1855 to 1910.
On DPA’s website, consult the “Public Finding Aids” and “Collections Gateway” for research assistance. An online finding aid that might be helpful is the “Guide to Records of the Delaware State Legislature at the Delaware Public Archives” by Jeff Forrett. archives.delaware.gov/public-finding-aids
Family History Centers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
These centers offer the opportunity to consult microfilm and microfiche copies of records from all over the world that include census, church records, land records, probate records, naturalizations, and vital records. The Family History Center is located in Dover DE, Newark DE, and Wilmington DE.
Hagley Museum and Library
Hagley Museum and Library specialize in business and social history collections. It holds the largest collection of US city directories in Delaware; US Census records for 1790-1920 on microfilm for Delaware and many counties of Pennsylvania and Maryland, plus manufacturers’ and agricultural censuses (no census indexes); the National Union Catalog; and unique manuscript collections documenting the history of American business and technology for more than 1,000 firms, including DuPont, the Pennsylvania and Reading Railroads, Phoenix Steel, and Joseph Bancroft & Sons. It also holds Irish workers lists, oral history interviews, and du Pont family papers. The Hagley Museum and Library is located in Wilmington DE.
University of Delaware Library
The University of Delaware Library has a comprehensive online “Research Guide” for genealogy that is helpful. Materials include family genealogies; a large state and local history collection; vital statistics; wills and deeds; military records; census information; and publications of genealogical societies and state historical societies. The library also holds maps, genealogical materials, and special collections of rare printed and original manuscript materials from the 1700s concerning cultural, domestic, business, and social aspects of Delaware and Delawareans who have placed their family and personal papers with the library.
Wilmington Public Library (a.k.a. Wilmington Institute Free Library)
The library’s extensive collection includes microfilm of local newspapers going back to 1871 and bound print copies of older newspapers; the Delaware census on microfilm from 1810 to 1930; an incomplete but extensive collection of city directories and phone books; some church records; Daughters of the American Revolution records; maps; and the Delaware Index, a card-based subject and biographical index of local newspapers, magazines, and history books 1920-77. Materials are kept in a locked room, but well indexed in the Delaware Index and online catalog. For a small fee, reference librarians will search local papers for obituaries. More information about this and the library’s other historical and genealogical resources is available under the website’s “Services” tab.
This library, part of Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library, has a large genealogical, state, and local history collection, with particular strength in mid-Atlantic and New England region holdings. It offers access to two subscription sites, Ancestry Institution and American Ancestors. The library’s online catalog, WinterCat, contains approximately 100,000 entries and includes bibliographic records for imprints, periodicals, manuscript and ephemera holdings, photographs, and archival resources. The Winterthur Library is located north of Wilmington DE.
Libraries and Archives Outside of Delaware
Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center
This library holds significant US and international genealogy resources, including a superior collection of US Census records, family histories, city directories, passenger lists, military records, Native American and African American records, and more. Much of its collection is available online; you can search its databases and online catalog. Visitors to the library have free on-site access to more than 15 paid subscription databases.
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps, and manuscripts in its collections. It has one of the world’s premier collections of US and foreign genealogical and local historical publications.
Maryland Historical Society
The Maryland Historical Society has a large collection of genealogies, newspapers, manuscripts, maps and photographs. There are many genealogical references and references for bordering states.
Maryland State Archives
The Maryland State Archives (MSA) holdings date from Maryland’s founding in 1634, and include colonial and state executive, legislative, and judicial records; county probate, land, and court records; church records; business records; state publications and reports; and special collections of private papers, maps, photographs, and newspapers.
Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture
The Nabb Research Center has a wealth of information on the family and cultural history of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the Delmarva Peninsula, and the greater Chesapeake region. It houses more than 15,000 documents, photographs, and artifacts from the Colonial era through the present day, including some family records dating to the 1500s. There is an online finding aid portal searchable by subject, name, location, and date at libapps.salisbury.edu/nabb-archives.
National Archives and Records Administration
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the nation’s record keeper. In addition to holding original copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, it holds a vast amount of records about ordinary citizens. NARA’s records are stored in research facilities, records centers, and presidential libraries located throughout the United States, and much information is also available online.
National Archives in Washington, DC
This is the website for NARA’s main building. Among its holdings are permanent records created by Congress, the Supreme Court, District Courts in the District of Columbia, and select federal agencies, as well as pre-World War I military service records for US Army and Confederate veterans, and pre-1940 vessel and station log books for the US Navy. Available services include an archival research room and a microfilm research room. Click on the “Plan Your Visit” link on the website’s home page to learn more about what is available at this location.
National Archives at Philadelphia
This NARA location holds more than 115,000 cubic feet of archival holdings dating from 1789 to the 1990s, including textual documents, photographs, maps, architectural drawings, and more from Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. There is an archival research room, a public access research room, a self-service research room which provides access to some of NARA’s microfilmed and digitized holdings, and a small reference library. Click on the “Plan Your Visit” link on the website’s home page to learn more about what is available at this location.
Upper Shore Genealogy Society of Maryland
The focus of this website is on Kent, Queen Ann, Talbot, Caroline and Dorchester counties of Maryland.
African Ancestry DNA
This site describes African Ancestry DNA services and other educational material about African Ancestry DNA.
Delaware Saengerbund German Genealogy Group
This website describes the purpose and charter of the Delaware Saengerbund German Genealogy Group. The group presents programs, tutorials, and provides opportunities for members to share experiences relating to German genealogical research efforts.
Digital Library on American Slavery
The website contains court petitions, wills, inventories, deeds, bills of sale, depositions, and court proceedings, and information on about 89,000 individual slaves and 8,000 free people. Delaware cases are noted.
Irish Emigration and Irish Links
This link displays a PDF file that describes Irish immigration. It contains links at the end to an outline of ports of entry, embarkation, etc.
Irish Records for Counties Galway, Mayo, and Donegal
There is a wealth of information about the Irish, passenger lists, Irish records for counties Galway, Mayo, and Donegal; 1901 census for some counties in Ireland; link to the National Archives of Ireland.
Legacy of Slavery in Maryland
This program seeks to preserve and promote the vast universe of experiences that have shaped the lives of Maryland’s African American population. The MSA’s Study of the Legacy of Slavery staff invites researchers to explore all of these elements and more within its numerous source documents, exhibits and interactive online presentations
Moors of Delaware
This website is the result of personal research about the Moors of Delaware. It lists names and known relatives of each surname.
Moors and Nanticokes of Delaware
This website is an outgrowth of an individual search for understanding and searches for ancestors of the Moors and Nanticokes of Delaware.
Nanticoke and Lenape Confederation
This website is about the Nanticoke and Lenape People of Delaware and Southern New Jersey.
Native Americans of Delaware
This website has links to the Mitsawokett and Kuskarawoak and Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape and the Nanticoke of Sussex County, Delaware.
This website has links to many Swedish Genealogy and History websites. In the 1630s, the Swedes and the Dutch were the first European settlers in the Delaware Valley. The Swedes settled their own colony, New Sweden, in what is now Delaware, southeastern Pennsylvania, southeastern New Jersey, and northeastern Maryland. They settled along the Christina River near what is now Wilmington.
Barratt’s Chapel Methodist Church
The Museum of Methodism adjacent to the chapel houses the archives of the Peninsula-Delaware Conference of The United Methodist Church, which includes the state of Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The library has files for each church in the conference; membership books and other records from closed churches; ministers’ journals and memoirs; conference journals from 1784 to the present; and other items on Methodist history. A searchable database of the Museum’s collections can be found at barrattschapel.pastperfectonline.com.
Catholic Diocese of Wilmington
This site is so much more than information about the church and cemeteries. It contains baptism and marriage records for the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington through 1900. The website also contains information about the Irish, passenger lists, Irish records for counties Galway, Mayo, and Donegal; 1901 census for some counties in Ireland; and a link to the National Archives of Ireland.
Friends Historical Library (Quaker)
The Friends Historical Library (FHL) at Swarthmore holds a large collection of correspondence, journals, diaries, and property records of Quaker individuals and family groups that dates from the mid-17th century to the present. It is an official depository for the records of many North American yearly meetings of the Society of Friends, including the Philadelphia and Baltimore Yearly Meetings, including membership books, minutes, and other original records. FHL also has microfilmed Friends’ records from across the United States as well as Canada, Britain, and Ireland. The library’s oldest meeting records date from 1665.
Haverford College Lutnick Library
This website describes the Quaker Collection at Haverford College. This collection spans the history of the Society of Friends from 17th-century Britain to the present day in many parts of the world, with emphasis on Quakerism as lived and practiced in the eastern United States and antecedent American colonies.
Immanuel Church in New Castle, DE
Jewish Historical Society of Delaware
Materials housed within the archives include photographs, documents, oral histories, audio-visual materials, private papers, newspapers, memorabilia, and artifacts that record and document the organizational, cultural, religious, educational, business and family activities of the Jewish Community in Delaware.
Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society
The Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society has is a very good genealogical library. Because many people (both Mennonite and non-Mennonite) have Pennsylvania connections, the library and archives are used by researchers across the U.S and Canada.
Presbyterian Historical Society
This organization is the oldest denominational archive in the United States and serves as the national archive for the Presbyterian Church USA and its predecessor denominations. Records include personal papers and materials on missionary work, anti-slavery movements, missions to freedmen, Native Americans, and more. There are no centralized records of baptisms, marriages, or church memberships; those records are maintained by individual congregations. Records of closed Presbyterian churches are kept by local presbyteries; active churches and presbyteries may choose to deposit records at the Presbyterian Historical Society for safekeeping.
Old Swedes Foundation
Holdings are from 1697 to the present, and are particularly helpful for Swedish ancestry. Collections include various manuscripts, photographs, books, and pamphlets. A genealogical data file is maintained concerning church members. Appointments are required for on-site research. Swedish records have been transcribed and published in various Delaware Genealogical Society Journals. See DGS Journal Table of Contents (available to DGS members).
United Methodist Church Archives and History
This website is a resource for researching Methodist clergy and guidance for searching for baptism and local church membership.
Mount Olive Cemetery, Wilmington, Delaware
This is a historic African-American cemetery located on Lancaster Avenue in Wilmington, DE. The cemetery entrance is marked with a Historical Marker. This is a work in progress by Regina Barry as more stones are photographed and GPS readings entered for the gravesites.
A searchable database of millions of names of immigrants from 1820 through 1892, the year Ellis Island opened.
Ellis Island New York
If you know that ancestors came in through Ellis, it is a good site but realize there were many other ports that served immigrants.
Immigration Records Search by Stephen P. Morse
Stephen Morse has created a portal to the names of immigrants who arrived at many US ports. The site allows you to search a wide range of variables at one time.
Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild New York City Arrivals
Volunteers have been transcribing passenger lists from ships landing in New Your City from 1827.
Irish Genealogy Websites
This link displays a PDF file that lists many websites that may be helpful with Irish research.
The Ships List
This website describes ships, fleets, passenger lists, and other resources.
USGenWeb Archives Pension Project
This is a site of secondary information about military pensions from submitted records for all wars prior to 1900. The National Archives will have information also but this might be worth a look.
Reference and Dictionaries
Adoption Records Search
Finders Keepers, Inc. is a non-profit search and support group. It consists of birth parents, adoptive parents, and adult adoptees and their families. They provide search assistance and emotional support to individuals who are separated from birth families. They also offer search assistance to siblings of adoptees and to significant others.
American Nicknames of the 18th and 19th Centuries
This FamilySearch webpage contains a list of American nicknames of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Council of State Archivists
This site contains a directory of state and territorial archives.
Comprehensive categorized and cross-referenced list of links for genealogical research sites online.
The site has a lot of useful information, a blog and a section with lessons that might be of help in learning about the search of ancestors.
First Settlers of New England
The site lists the first settlers of New England before 1692 by James Sabage.
Genealogy Blog Finder
This website leads you to a wealth of information and different bloggers with useful information about searching methods, new tools, etc.
This is the YouTube channel for Lisa Louise Cooke, Genealogy Gems. Her programs offer genealogy news, research strategies, expert interviews and inspiration to genealogists.
The Genetic Genealogist
This is the website for well-regarded Blaine Bettinger. On the site he examines the intersection of traditional genealogical techniques and modern genetic research. The blog also explores the latest news and developments in the related field of personal genomics.
The website provides an explanation of the old style and new style dates and the change to the Gregorian Calendar.
The site has millions of links to genealogical websites. They are organized by state, localities and by surnames.
National Union Catalog
A site to search for manuscripts, holding on specific subjects. It will be work but finding a treasure is always work.
The website provides an explanation of the Quaker Calendar and the effects of the change to the Gregorian Calendar on the Quaker calendar.
Repositories of Primary Sources
This website, which was last updated in 2015, lists over 5,000 websites describing holdings of manuscripts, archives rare books, etc. The site is easy to use to locate repositories in states and countries.
Reference Charts for Genealogy Research
This site contains useful charts for genealogical research. Charts include a glossary of genealogical terms, descriptions of occupations, a war chart giving dates and locations of wars, and a chart with a description of diseases.
Script Tutorials for Multiple Languages
The site has tutorials for English, German, Dutch, Italian, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. It offers guidance in deciphering manuscripts and other old documents like wills and deeds.
U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management
This site will assist in finding Federal Land Patents, survey plats and field noted, land status records.
Create a Family History
This FamilySearch webpage provides guidance for writing your family st.
Historical US Counties
This website from Randy Majors enables a view of US counties over time. The site is also has links to other sites with useful material.
Calculating Birth Dates
The FamilySearch webpage provides tools and links to determine a birth year from census information.
The website has many handy calculators for determining different genealogical research tasks. Examples are tombstone birth date calculator, perpetual calendar calculator, Julian to Gregorian calendar by country calculator, double date calculator, a cousin calculator, inflation calculator, metaphone calculator, soundex converter, and many more. It also includes helpful tips.