Delaware, Vital Record Index Cards (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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Access the records: Delaware, Vital Record Index Cards, 1680-1934 .
This collection covers the years 1680 to 1934.
This collection consists of images of card indexes from the Delaware State Archives Hall of Records in Dover, Delaware.
Statewide registration of births began in 1861, was discontinued in 1863, resumed in 1881, and was generally complied with by 1921.
Delaware counties began keeping marriage records as early as 1832. These records have been transferred from the counties to the Delaware Public Archives. These early county marriage records are not available at the Family History Library; however, the library has records of some pre-1847 marriage bonds. State registration of marriages began in 1847 and was generally complied with by 1913. The Family History Library has microfilm copies of the marriage bonds for 1744-1836 and 1855-1861, and licenses for 1889-1894. You can obtain marriage records for the most recent 40 years by writing to the Bureau of Vital Statistics. For marriages recorded more than 40 years ago, contact the Delaware Public Archives.
Marriages of Delaware residents may also be recorded in adjoining states, such as Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Although some deaths were recorded as early as 1855, state registration of deaths officially began in 1881 and was generally complied with by 1890.
The Delaware Bureau of Vital Statistics has death records for the most recent 40 years. For deaths recorded over forty years ago, contact the Delaware Public Archives. Birth and deaths were recorded to better serve public health needs.
Counties in Delaware recorded marriages to safeguard the interests of the wife and other legal heirs by documenting marriages and property ownership.
Vital records are considered to be primary source records. Information in these records is usually reliable, depending on the knowledge of the informant. For example, a coroner would be able to give reliable information about the date, time and cause of death, but might not know personal details about the deceased.
For a list of records by date and event currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.
- "Delaware, Vital Records Index Cards, 1680-1934" Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Bureau of Vital Statistics. Hall of Records, Dover.
The following may be found in the birth records:
- Child’s name
- Child’s sex
- Birth date
- Birth place
- Registration date
- Parents' names
- Parents' residence
- Father’s occupation
- Parents' birth places
The following may be found in the marriage records:
- Full name of bride and groom
- Marriage date
- Marriage place
- Residence of bride and groom
- Age of bride and groom
- Groom’s occupation
- Birth place of bride and groom
- Parents of bride and groom
- What number of marriage for bride and groom
The following may be found in the death records: *Name of deceased
- Death date
- Death place
- Age in days, months, and years
- Marital status
- Cause of death
- Birth place
- Name of parents
- Social Security number
- Birth date
- Military service
- Surviving spouse
- Parents' names
- Informants' names
- Informants' residence
The following important biographical facts may be found in the burial or removal records:
- Name of person certificate is issued to
- City or town
- Death date
- Name of deceased
- Age of deceased
- Cause of death
- Medical attendant
- Purposed date of burial or removal
- Purposed place of burial or removal
- Undertaker’s address
- Name and title of person issuing permit
- Permit date
How to Use the Record
To begin your search, it will be helpful to know the following:
- The county where the birth, marriage, or death occurred
- The name of the person at the time of marriage
- The approximate date the event occurred
- The place the event occurred
- The name of the individual or individuals, such as the names of the bride and groom, the infant, or the deceased
Search the Collection
To search the collection image by image
⇒ select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒ Select the "Index Title and Date Range" which takes you to the images
The images are in alphabetical order within each folder. Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.
Using the Information
When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family.
- Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
- Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
- Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
- Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.
- Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
- Use a marriage number to identify previous marriages.
Tips to Keep in Mind
- Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records.
- The name of the officiator may be a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county.
- The name of the undertaker or mortuary could lead you to funeral and cemetery records, which often include the names and residences of other family members.
- Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname as the bride or groom; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
- Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have been born, married, or died in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
- The information is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
- Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1900.
- There is also some variation in the information given from one marriage record to another record.
Unable to Find your Ancestor?
- Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
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