Delaware Biography

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Local Research Resources

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

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The Historical Society of Delaware has a card index to many biographical items, called the Family Surname File, with approximately 500,000 names. (See the "Genealogy" section.)

Biographies in Local Histories[edit | edit source]

  • Biographical information is often found in state, county, and town histories.
  • Towards the end of the 19th century, began publishers soliciting short biographical/family histories from local founding families, offering to publish them in an upcoming local history. This then became an incentive for family members to buy a copy of the book.
  • Families represented were not necessarily prominent. Practically everyone living there, especially in the Midwest, counted as an early settler.
  • These biographies often start with the first member of the family to settle in the area, and detail their descendants at the time of publishing. They may tell where the family moved in from. Children's marriages often are given, with maiden names included.

Finding Biographies[edit | edit source]

  • The county Wiki page lists several county histories. It also lists local libraries, and societies which probably have copies of local histories.
  • Many histories are no longer under copyright and can be found in the following online, digitized book collections. Search with keywords "History" and "the name of your locality" (state, county, or town).
  • The FamilySearch library has extensive collections of these local histories. Many are digitized. Search the FamilySearch Catalog under your locality for the topics "Biography" and "History".

Some representative biographical publications or collections are:

  • Bendler, Bruce A. Colonial Delaware Assemblymen, 1682-1775. Westminster, Maryland: Family Line Publications, 1989. FHL Collection 975.1 N2b. The name, death date, county of residence and date, and often the parents, wife, children, and sources are listed.
  • Biographical and Genealogical History of the State of Delaware . . . Two Volumes. Chambersburg, Pennsylvania: J.M. Runk & Co., 1899. FHL Collection 1000155]. This contains biographies from the 1600s to 1890s.
  • Turner, Joseph Brown. Genealogical Collection of Delaware Families. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1948. FHL Collection On 652 fiche starting with 6361460. This consists of alphabetical files for about 3,000 families. The Delaware Public Archives has the original films.


The Delaware Public Archives has a Book Catalog Index on 3 x 5 cards which indexes names mentioned in genealogies and local histories. This is by surname and does not contain given names. This is not a complete index to all the surnames. They will search it for you, if you include a large, self-addressed, stamped envelope with your request.

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