Delaware Public Archives to Feature “Behind the Scenes” Tour for Dover Days

April 27th, 2015

If you were born, married, or attended public school in Delaware, eventually the Delaware Public Archives (DPA) will receive the information that documents these important events. On Saturday, May 2, 1:30 p.m. the staff of the Archives will conduct a tour of this remarkable facility.

This annual “behind the scenes” tour of the building, conducted by Tom Summers, Manager of Outreach Services, offers the public a rare opportunity to learn more about the role of the DPA, and see how the Archives preserves and protects the records that are important to every Delawarean. Archives Director Stephen M. Marz notes that “many people who have toured the Archives are surprised by the amount of documents and photographs that are stored at the facility. Because the Delaware Public Archives serves as the official government repository for state, county and local government records, the Archives is well known as a valuable resource for researchers, genealogists, and historians.”

This special tour at the Archives will honor the Dover Days theme of Abraham Lincoln by featuring a display of original Civil War era documents that can only be viewed on the tour. Among the items that will be a proclamation to commemorate the end of the war; a muster-in roll for the First Regiment, Delaware Infantry; and an order concerning the assassination of President Lincoln. This event is free to the public and no reservations are required.

Archives Commemorates 150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s Death

April 10th, 2015

From April 12 through April 19, the Delaware Public Archives will commemorate the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s death by displaying a set of documents and photographs related to Lincoln’s assassination. Along with pictures of both Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, the display features Lincoln’s funeral procession program, a Delaware soldier’s diary entry upon hearing the news of the President’s death, and a photograph of the execution of John Wilkes Booth’s co-conspirators from July 1865.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

Mary Lincoln

Mary Lincoln

Genealogy Assistance Day to be held at the Delaware Public Archives

April 1st, 2015

Have you ever wondered about your family history but didn’t know where to start? The Delaware Public Archives (DPA) is pleased to announce that volunteers from local genealogical societies will be on site to help you with your research on Saturday, April 11 from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. Volunteers will be available to answer your questions, show you what resources the DPA has available and explain how you can use them. Don’t miss this opportunity to discover more about your family tree.

Pre-registration for this opportunity is required. Please call Dawn Mitchell at 302-744-5000 by 4:00 pm on Thursday, April 9 to reserve your spot.

“Behind the Scenes” Tours of the Delaware Public Archives are Now Available in Spanish

April 1st, 2015

The Delaware Public Archives (DPA) was honored today by a visit from members of the Delaware Hispanic Commission to help launch the “Behind the Scenes” Spanish speaking tour series. “This ‘Behind the Scenes’ tour in Spanish is one of several Archives’ initiatives recognizing the growing influence of the Hispanic community in the First State’s history and culture,” said State Archivist and Archives Director Stephen M. Marz. In addition, Marz stated that “if you were born, married, or attended public school in Delaware, eventually the Delaware Public Archives will receive the documents that record these important events. With new records coming into the Archives on a weekly basis, it is important that the First State’s Hispanic residents be informed that we are one of the state’s most important resources for historical research and vital statistical information.”

“It is an honor for the members of the Commission to represent all the Hispanic residents at the first ‘Behind the Scenes’ tour in Spanish at the Delaware Public Archives,” said Javier Torrijos, chair of the Delaware Hispanic Commission. “This effort is evidence of the impact of the Hispanic community’s contribution and involvement in programs and services develop by Delaware’s state agencies.”

The tours in Spanish of this remarkable facility offer visitors a rare opportunity to learn more about the role of the DPA, and see how the Archives preserves and protects the records that are important to every Delawarean. Archives’ Director Marz notes that “many people who have toured the Archives are surprised by the amount of documents and photographs that are stored at the facility. Because the Delaware Public Archives serves as the official government repository for state, county and local government records, we are well known as a valuable resource for researchers, genealogists, and historians.” Part of the tour will included a viewing of the new display honoring African American Genealogy research in Delaware. Tours of the Delaware Public Archives are free to the public but reservations are required. Please contact Tom Summers, thomas.summers@state.de.us, (302) 744-5047, for more information about tours.

How Do I Preserve My Documents, Photographs and Digital Memories?

March 25th, 2015

When it comes to family history, those books, papers and photographs we all keep stored away do more than just record the past — they connect us with our loved ones and ancestors, and often tell us as much about our present and future as they do about our history.

Join the Delaware Public Archives (DPA) to learn how to preserve these artifacts for future generations. On Saturday, April 4, at 10:30 a.m., the Archives will show you how to properly handle and store your family’s treasures to protect those irreplaceable memories and ensure long term preservation. Archives staff member Sarah Denison, coordinator of the historical markers program, will present information on the preservation of paper documents and photographs and will address digital preservation and changing technology. Managing memories for the future requires careful action and consideration of cost and longevity. This program will highlight some of the cost-effective steps every home archivist can take to preserve their precious family records.

Before taking over the historic markers program, Ms. Denison worked as a processing archivist at DPA and worked on a number of collections, including the Small Manuscript Collection’s Civil War letters; Board of Education photographs; Sussex County Orphans Court Records; the Caley Postcard Collection; and the Vietnam Mailbag Collection. Ms. Denison is currently pursuing her master’s degree at Drexel University in Library and Information Science with concentrations in Archival Studies and Digital Curation.

The workshop is free to the public and will last approximately one hour. No reservations are required. For more information, contact Tom Summers (302) 744-5047 or e-mail thomas.summers@state.de.us.

Delaware Public Archives to Feature Program on the Battle of Iwo Jima

February 25th, 2015

On February 19, 1945, the United States Marines began their attack on Iwo Jima to secure the island in preparation for the invasion of Japan. For the next seven weeks, American forces were involved in a desperate struggle with the Japanese to gain control of the island. On Saturday, March 7, at 10:30 a.m., retired Army Colonel Henry J. Foresman, Jr. will be presenting a program on this key battle at the Delaware Public Archives. While the presentation will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the battle, it will also focus on the “island hopping” strategy which the American military employed to defeat the Japanese forces in the Pacific Theater.

Henry J. Foresman, Jr. is a retired Colonel in the United States Army, having served 33 years on active duty. He is now Director of the Washington Office of the Third Army and has served in his current position at the Pentagon since May 2012. His responsibilities include the coordination and interaction with Department of Defense and Army Staff and Agencies on behalf of the Commanding General Third Army. Other major responsibilities include the Administration of Office; Budget Management; and Congressional interaction.

The program is free to the public and will last approximately one hour. No reservations are required. For more information, contact Tom Summers (302) 744-5047 or e-mail thomas.summers@state.de.us.

“More Treasures of the Archives” Program Coming to the Lewes Public Library on Monday Night

February 20th, 2015

On Monday night, February 23, 6:30 p.m., Tom Summers, Outreach Services Manager at the Delaware Public Archives, will be speaking at the Lewes Public Library in Lewes, Delaware. Summers will be presenting a program titled “More Treasures of the Delaware Public Archives.” While the Delaware Public Archives has presented its original “Treasures” program for many years in venues throughout the First State, the Archives is returning with this new presentation which will feature an array of unique documents and photographs that provide a look at Delaware life from the 17th century to the present. These images tell the story of the First State and the people who have made Delaware their home. This program is free to the public and no reservations are required.

Researching African American Genealogy: From the Antebellum Period to the Reconstruction Era

January 27th, 2015

Nineteenth century African American genealogy is particularly difficult for researchers. On Saturday, February 7, at 10:30 a.m. the Delaware Public Archives will host a special program which will explore this challenging time period for African American genealogy. Presented by Shamele Jordon, the program will focus on a variety of sources and strategies for locating ancestors using federal, county, and organizational records from reconstruction back to the slavery time period. Records to be discussed include Freedmen’s Bureau, Freedman’s Bank, probate records and more.

Shamele Jordon is a researcher, lecturer and podcaster. A researcher for the PBS series, Oprah’s Roots: African American Lives Special and African American Lives II, Jordon has served as president of the African American Genealogy Group in Philadelphia, lectured at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research in Birmingham, Alabama, and been a board member of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania.

The program is free to the public and will last approximately one hour. No reservations are required. For more information, contact Tom Summers (302) 744-5047 or e-mail thomas.summers@state.de.us.

Upcoming Program at the Archives about Delaware in the War of 1812

December 19th, 2014

In 1814 the War of 1812 was entering into its second full year. During the previous year the Chesapeake Bay and the Delaware Valley region experienced active naval campaigning and a seaborne blockade. On Saturday, January 3, at 10:30 a.m. historian Charles (Chuck) Fithian will visit the Delaware Public Archives to present a program on this little known period of Delaware history. Delawareans were active participants in these events and directly experienced the effects of naval irregular warfare. In 1814, they would continue to aid in the national defense, and would respond to new threats brought about by this destructive war.

Mr. Fithian, a resident of Dover, is an historical archaeologist who has directed the research and conservation of the DeBraak and its large associated collection. With a concentration in colonial, military and naval history, Fithian is a graduate of Wesley College and Salisbury University, and has recently retired from the State of Delaware after more than 27 years of service. He has also conducted extensive research on 17th century Delaware, the Delaware Regiment during the American Revolution, and the War of 1812.

The program is free to the public and will last approximately one hour. No reservations are required. For more information, contact Katelyn Fair (302) 744-5016 or e-mail katelyn.fair@state.de.us.

A Plot in the Shape of Delaware

December 8th, 2014

Tom Summers, Outreach Services Manager

One of the joys of working at the Delaware Public Archives is discovering interesting documents that have not been processed until now and has not been seen for hundreds of years. Recently, I blogged about a Kent County Orphans Court plot that was more than 25 feet long which was found by archivist Margaret Dunham. Now working in Sussex County Orphans Court records, Margaret called me again when she found the document seen in the picture below. The image shows the 1807 plot of Jacob Burton from Dagsboro Hundred. Unlike most similar documents in the Archives’ collections, this plot features color and actually shows a portion of the plot that resembles the shape of the State of Delaware. The Delaware shaped portion is referred to in the document as “Hog Range.” Take a look and decide for yourself! Within this record (dated 1807 – 1822), Mr. Burton is leaving his divided estate to his wife Sophia and thirteen children and grandchildren.

 

1807 Jacob Burton Plot

1807 Jacob Burton Plot