Delaware Genealogy Resources

Delaware History Timeline

  • 1609 – English explorer Henry Hudson visits the Delaware Bay and explores the coastline.
  • 1610 – Sir Samuel Argall names the Delaware Bay after Virginia governor Sir De La Warr.
  • 1631 – The first European settlement is built by the Dutch. They are wiped out within a year by Native Americans.
  • 1638 – The first permanent settlement, Fort Christina, is established by the Swedish. It will become the city of Wilmington.
  • 1655 – The Dutch take over from the Swedes.
  • 1664 – The British take over and Delaware becomes part of New York.
  • 1717 – The city of Dover is established.
  • 1776 – Delegate Caesar Rodney rides through the night to vote in favor of the Declaration of Independence.
  • 1777 – Dover becomes the capital city.
  • 1787 – Delaware becomes the first state.
  • 1802 – The DuPont Company is founded as a gunpowder mill.
  • 1865 – Slavery is ended in Delaware with the ratification of the 13th amendment.
  • 1969 – The second span of the Delaware Memorial Bridge opens.

Delaware Vital Records

  • Earlier records at the Delaware Public Archives incude those formerly at the Office of Vital Statistics, currently covering births and deaths (1861-63), births (1881-1930), deaths (1881-1962), and marriages (147-1962). 
  • After 1881, the city of Wilmington had a registrar of vital statistics with fairly co,plete records. The archives has recorders of deeds’ rcords for a very few births and deaths (1861-63, 1881-1913) and for marriages (1847-1913). Also at the archives are county clerks  of the peace marriage fonds from 1744 (but more complete after 1793) to 1913, when bonds were no longer required.
  • For the period 1680 to the present, the Delaware Public Archives also has cards that index births, baptisms, marriages and deaths from a variety of sources, such as marriage bonds, church and Bible records, and newspaper notices.
  • Some Kent county vital records for the late 600s were recorded in deed books and published in Publications of The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania 7 (1920) : 158-62, and reprinted in The Maryland and Delaware Genealogist 10 (1969) and 11 (1970).  Some Kent and Sussex County vital records for the late 1600s to the 1750s were published in the Delaware Genealogical Society Journal 1 (1982): 92-96. A private doctor’s records of births for Sussx County (1855-69) were published in volumes 6-8 of The Maryland and Delaware Genealogist (1965-67). Also, “New Castle County . . Court Records . . . of Illegitimate Births” was published in The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine 33 (1984): 353-58.1

Delaware Census Records

Population Schedules

  • Indexed—1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940
  • Soundex—1880, 1900, 1920 ((You can find definition of Soundex at wiki at

Industry and Agriculture Schedules

  • 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880

Mortality Schedules

  • 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 (all published)

Slave Schedules

  • 1850, 1860 (both published)

The first census for 1790 was lost or destroyed. The claim that it was found in the Cornell University Library is unfounded, but a reconstruction from tax and assessment records was compiled by former state archivist Leon de Valinger, Jr., and published by the National Genealogical Society as Reconstructed 1790 Census of Delaware, NGS Special Publication No. 10, 2d printing (Washington, D.C.: NGS, 1962)1


Some earlier Delaware “censuses” have been published from tax and other records. These include Ralph D. Nelson, Jr., and others, Delaware 1782 Tax Assessment and Census List (Wilmington: Delaware Genealogical Society, 1994) and Ronald Vern Jackson, Early Delaware Census Records, 1665-1697 (Bountiful, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems, 1977). A 1688 census for Kent County was published in volume 37 of The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine in 1991, which corrects the incomplete “Kent County Census” in Delaware Genealogical Journal 3 (1986): 49-51. Two works by Peter Stebbins Craig present other early censuses: The 1671 Census of Delaware (Philadelphia: Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, 1999), and The 1693 Census of the Swedes on the Delaware: Family Histories of the Swedish Lutheran Church Members Residing in Pennsylvania, Delaware, West New Jersey and Cecil County, Maryland, 1638-1693 (Winter Park, Fla: SAG Publications, 1993).1

Delaware Counties Map

Delaware Counties Map
Delaware Counties Map

Delaware Resource Links

The Red Book – Delaware Family History Research – Delaware Online Genealogy Records

Access Genealogy – Delaware Genealogy – Free Delaware Genealogy

Delaware Genealogy and History Guide

Delaware Genealogical Society Delaware Data Collections

The – Delaware

Genealoger – Family History and Genealogy Services – Delaware Resources

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness – State of Delaware Records Guide Digital Ancestry

  1. Third Edition Red Book, American State, County, and Town Sources, Edited by Alice Eichholz Ph.D., C.G., Ancestry Publishing,The Generations Network, Inc.1989, 1992, 2004. Now digitized online at Rootsweb wiki:,_County,_and_Town_Sources.
  2. Education Site. Delaware State History.