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Introduction to Vital Records
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Vital Records consist of births, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and deaths recorded on registers, certificates, and documents. United States Vital Records has additional research guidance on researching and using vital records. A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Delaware State Department of Health or the County Clerk's office of the county where the event occurred. See also Delaware Statewide Indexes at the Family History Library.

Contents

 
Vital Records Collage.JPG
  

Vital Records Reference Dates

Delaware's vital records start the following years:

Births Marriages Deaths
Earliest 1710 1744 1813
Statewide Registration 1881 1847 1881
General Compliance 1913 1913 1913


Quicklinks to Online Delaware Birth, Marriage and Death Records

The following is a list of online resources useful for locating Delaware Vital Records which consist of births, marriages, divorces, and deaths. Check Delaware Vital Records Online for more information about the resources listed below. Most online resources for Delaware Vital Records are indexes. After locating a person in an index always consult the original record to confirm the information in the index.

  • Search for Delaware Collections on FamilySearch.org under Canada, USA, and Mexico - Free. FamilySearch has indexes without images to Delaware births 1710-1922; marriages 1719-1953; and deaths 1813-1955. The index references Family History Library film numbers. The records are incomplete.
  • The Vital Records Search and Information Directory for Delaware - Free/$
  • Search the Delaware Birth, Marriage & Death Records at Ancestry.com - $.  Ancestrhas images to Delaware births 1800-1908, Marriages 1744-1933, and deaths 1811-1933.
  • Order Delaware Certificates online $ The site from the Center for Disease Control has addresses of where to write for birth, marriage, death, and divorce certificates.

Birth Records

Early 1861-63

Statewide registration of births began in 1861 but was discontinued in 1863.

1881 - Present

Statewide registration was resumed in 1881 and was generally complied with by 1921. The following indexes may be helpful:

Delaware. Bureau of Vital Statistics, Index to Delaware marriages, baptisms, births, and deaths ca. 1680-ca. 1934. Added author:Thomas Holcomb (Manuscript on microfilm.) (Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1949). Films 6416-6433.

Marriage index: District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, Hiawatha, Iowa : The Learning Company. (CD ROM no. 9 pt 339. "...contains informarion on approximately 250,000 individuals who were married between 1740 and 1920 in select Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia." Includes individual's name, name of spouse, marriage date, and city/county wheremarriage took place.

The Delaware Bureau of Vital Statistics has birth records from the past 72 years. You can obtain copies by writing:

Office of Vital Statistics
Division of Public Health
417 Federal Street
Dover, DE 19901

Internet: Delaware Public Archives This internet site gives a general overview of the vital records that are available for Delaware.

For records of births that occurred more than 72 years ago, contact the Delaware Public Archives see the Archives and Libraries page.


Wiki articles describing these collections are found at:

Information in Delaware Birth Records
Types of Information early - 1881  1881 - present
Name of Child
Sex  
Race  x
Parents' Names   x
Midwife/Doctor    
Date & Place of Birth   date range

x

includes nativity of parents 

Residence

Marriage Records 

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.

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.

Marriages of Delaware residents may also be recorded in adjoining states, such as Pennsylvania and Maryland.


Wiki articles describing these collections are found at:

Information in Delaware Marriage Records
Types of Information early - 1847  1847 - present
Name of Bride/Groom x
Date of Marriage x
Location of Marriage county   city
Presiding Official
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
 x
Residence at Time of Marriage county

Death Records

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.


Wiki articles describing these collections are found at:

Information in Delaware Death Records
Types of Information
before - 1881
1881 - present
Name of Deceased


Date of Death
 

  x
Place of Death
 
city
 
Date of Birth/Age
age
 
Place of Birth
nativity
 
Place of Burial

 
Parents' Names/Maiden
x
 
Occupation of Deceased
x
 

Marital Status


x
  • Delaware Obituary Collection Free from GenealogyBuff.com. Obits and death notices from Various Funeral Homes in Delaware [with many Maryland obits that are associated with Delaware. Many obituaries from Dover and Rehoboth Beach.
  • Adoption Records

Delaware Adoptees and Birthparents can request non-identifying information from the adoption agency that handled your adoption. You can also file an affidavit to release your identifying information to a birth family member or adoptee that may contact the agency or family court regarding you. For more information Cick Here.

Divorce Records

The Delaware Public Archives has a card catalog with names and dates with reference to divorces granted up to about 1890 by Acts of the State Legislature.

Divorce proceedings from 1975 to the present are kept by the family court office in the county where the divorce was recorded. For records before 1975 and dating back to the early 1900s, contact the county prothonotary's office (clerk of the court of common pleas). For pre-1900 records write to the Delaware Public Archives or the:

Delaware Legislative Council
Legislative Hall
P.O. Box 1401
Dover, DE 19901
Internet: Delaware Public Archives

Substitute Records

These links will take you to wiki pages describing alternate sources for birth, marriage and death records.

Church Records: Depending on the denomination, church records may contain information about birth, marriage and death.

Cemetery Records: Cemetery records are a rich source of birth and death information.  These records may also reveal family relationships.

Census: Census records are a valuable source for birth and marriage information. You may also determine approximate time of death when the individual disappear from the census. This is a good place to begin a search.

Newspapers: Besides obituaries, local newspapers may contain birth and marriage announcements and death notices.  Also check newspaper social columns for additional information. 

Periodicals: Local genealogical and historical societies often publish periodicals which may contain abstracted early birth, marriage and death information.

Military Records: Military pension records can give birth, marriage and death information,  In addition, soldiers' homes records can included this same information.

Probate Records: If no death record exists, probate records may be helpful in estimating when an individual has died. Probate records in the 20th Century often contain the exact death date.

History: Local histories, family histories and biographies can all be sources of birth, marriage and death information. Often this information is found in county-level records or in surname searches of the Family History Library catalog.

Tips

  • Information listed on vital records is given by an informant.  Learn the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) of the record.  The closer the relationship of the informant to the subject(s) and whether or not the informant was present at the time of the event can help determine the accuracy of the information found on the record.
  • If you are unable to locate vital records recorded by governments, search for church records of christening, marriage, death or burial.  A family Bible may have been used to records births, marriages and deaths.
  • Privacy laws may restrict your access to some vital records.  Copies of some vital records recorded in the last 100 years may be unavailable to anyone except a direct relative.
  • Search for Vital Records in the Family History Library Catalog by using a Place Search then choosing Vital Records.  Search for Delaware to locate records filed by the state and then search the name of the county to locate records kept by the county.

Family History Library Delaware Vital Records Collections

Birth Records

  • Bureau of Vital Statistics. Index Cards of Delaware . . . Births [2]from 1861 to 1913.
  • Index Cards of Delaware . . . Baptisms [4]from 1759 to 1890.

Delaware State Birth Records 1861-1908 are available online at FamilySearch.org

Marriage Records

  • Index Cards of Delaware . . . Marriages. [5]This is an index of marriages for the years 1680-1850 from information in bonds, licenses, probate records, and church records at the Delaware Public Archives.

Many early marriage license bonds are in the following collection:

  • Gilbert Cope, A List of Marriage License Bonds . . . in New Castle County, Delaware, 1744-1836, [6]also includes a few marriages from other counties in Delaware.

Many early marriage license bonds are in the following collection:

  • Gilbert Cope, A List of Marriage License Bonds . . . in New Castle County, Delaware, 1744-1836, [7]also includes a few marriages from other counties in Delaware.

Death Records

  • Index Cards of Delaware . . . Deaths. [8]Indexes from 1855 to 1888.

Vital Records, . . . Deaths, 1855-1910 [9]

References

  1. Arlene H. Eakle, "Have you searched and searched for a marriage without finding it?" in Genealogy Blog at ref="http://www.arleneeakle.com/wordpress/2007/02/19/
  2. Delaware. Bureau of Vital Statistics. Index Cards of Delaware . . . Births Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1949. (FHL 006424-30 films 006424-30).
  3. Delaware. Bureau of Vital Statistics. Vital Records, Births, 1861-1913 Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1949. (FHL 294972 films 006323-59).
  4. Delaware. Bureau of Vital Statistics. Index Cards of Delaware . . . Baptisms Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1949. (FHL 294868 film 006423).
  5. Delaware. Bureau of Vital Statistics. Index Cards of Delaware . . . Marriages . . . Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1949. (FHL 294868 film 006416-22).
  6. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1965; (FHL 338677 film 441415).
  7. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1965; (FHL 338677.
  8. Delaware. Bureau of Vital Statistics. Index Cards of Delaware . . . Deaths . . . Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1949. (FHL 294868 film 006431-33.)
  9. Delaware. Bureau of Vital Statistics. Vital Records, . . . Deaths, 1855-1910. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1949. FHL 786107 films 006360-409].

 

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