The following important events in the history of Delaware affected political jurisdictions, family movements, and record keeping.
- 1631: New Netherland Dutch build fort at Zwaanendael (Lewes, Sussex, Delaware).
- 1638: New Sweden Swedes and Finns begins settling in the Fort Christina (Wilmington, New Castle, Delaware) area.
- 1664: New Netherland including Delaware became a British colony as part of an Anglo-Dutch war.
- 1682-1776: Pennsylvania's governor assumes control of Delaware over the objections of Maryland's claims as far north as Philadelphia. Delaware had its own provincial assembly after 1703.
- 1684-1736: The colonial government of Maryland laid claim to southern and western Delaware.
- 1776: Delaware declared its independence from Britain and established a government separate from that of Pennsylvania.
- 1787: (December 7,) Delaware became the first state.
- 1861-1865: During the Civil War, Delaware was a Union state.
One of the best sources for studying Delaware history is:
Scharf, John Thomas. History of Delaware, 1609-1888. Two volumes. Tucson, Arizona: W. C. Cox, 1974. (Family History Library film 1000154.) An excellent, detailed history with names, dates, and places.
Scharf's book is indexed in:
Coghlan, Gladys M. Index to History of Delaware, 1609-1888. Wilmington, Delaware: Historical Society of Delaware, 1976. (Family History Library book 975.1 H2s index; fiche 6088424-26.)
Other important histories, many including biographical sketches and name indexes, can be found in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
DELAWARE - HISTORY
DELAWARE, [COUNTY] - HISTORY