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

 

Thanksgiving Proclamations

November 24th, 2014

Katie Hallreference archivist

Americans have celebrated Thanksgiving in some form since 1789. President Abraham Lincoln signed a proclamation in 1863 that Thanksgiving should fall on the last Thursday of November and for the most part, states celebrated the holiday at the end of the month. However, it wasn’t until President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1941 that we began celebrating the holiday on the Fourth Thursday of November. The National Archives has that proclamation available online for all to see.

Between 1863 and 1941, before the day became a national holiday, presidents and state governors made annual Thanksgiving proclamations setting aside the day as one of thanksgiving and reflection. The Governors Papers Collection at the Delaware Public Archives has a nice selection of Thanksgiving proclamations from former Delaware governors’. Some invoke the “early settlers upon our shores, beset by hardships and perils,” like Governor Buck did in 1935:

Governor Buck Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1935 Governors Paper Collection RG 1302.007

 

In 1893, Governor Reynolds saw that Delawareans had been regarding Thanksgiving as “a day for indulgence in riotous living and worldly sports, contrary to the spirit in which the custom originated” and encouraged “the people of this State [to] lay aside all secular occupations” on that day:

Gov. Reynolds Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1893 Governors Papers Collection RG 1302.007

Gov. Reynolds Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1893
Governors Papers Collection
RG 1302.007

 

In a similar vein, in 1901, Governor John Hunn recommended “that on that day all business of whatever character be suspended, and that the people assemble in their accustomed places of public worship, and there render thanks for those inestimable benefits which have been accorded them.”

Gov. Hunn Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1901 Governors Papers Collection RG 1302.007

 

Which proclamation is your favorite?

Delaware Votes

November 3rd, 2014

Sarah Denison, processing archivist

Tomorrow Delawareans up and down the state will head to polling places to cast their vote in the midterm election. Not sure who to vote for? For hundreds of years political parties and special-interest groups have issued flyers endorsing candidates. Check out these tickets from the 1800s. They won’t help you make a decision tomorrow, but they might inspire you to follow in the footsteps of generations of Delawareans to get out and vote.

 

Working Mens Republican Reform Ballot, General Reference Collection 9270.001

Working Mens Republican Reform Ballot, General Reference Collection 9270.001

Republican Ballot 1840s, General Reference Collection 9270.001

Republican Ballot 1840s, General Reference Collection 9270.001

Democratic Ballot 1846, General Reference Collection 9270.001

Democratic Ballot 1846, General Reference Collection 9270.001

Sussex County American Republican Ballot 1834, General Reference Collection 9270.001

Sussex County American Republican Ballot 1834, General Reference Collection 9270.001

1874 Farmers Ticket, General Reference Collection 9270.001

1874 Farmers Ticket, General Reference Collection 9270.001

1858 Peoples Ticket,General Reference Collection 9270.001

1858 Peoples Ticket,General Reference Collection 9270.001

The End of Archives Month

October 31st, 2014

Archives Month comes to an end on October 31, even though we prefer to celebrate it all year long. We hope you’ve enjoyed the extra behind-the-scenes glimpses of life at the Delaware Public Archives this month. As we enter November, we just want to remind you of a few upcoming events at DPA:

 

Workshop: Organizing your Genealogical Information
Saturday, November 1
10:30 a.m.
Free and open to the public; pre-registration is not required

Are your digital genealogy files all over the place? Have you discovered a record for your ancestor, twice? Librarian Leah Youse will present a program at the Delaware Public Archives on developing methods of genealogical arrangement and organization. Whether you are just getting started or you have been conducting online research for years, this talk will provide ideas to take your organizational system to the next level. Youse will focus on managing files and folders, email, and research, including a brief discussion on easing the burden with software.

 

Genealogy Help Session
Saturday, November 8
9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Free program, pre-registration is required
Call Dawn Mitchell at 302-744-5000 to pre-register by Thursday, November 6 at 4 p.m.

Have you ever wondered about your family history but didn’t know where to start? Are you a genealogist that has “hit a wall” with your research? The Delaware Public Archives is pleased to announce that volunteers from local genealogical societies will be on site to help you with your research on Saturday, November 8 from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. Our volunteers will be available to answer your questions, show you what resources DPA has available and explain how you can use them. Don’t miss this opportunity to discover more about your family tree.

 

The Mabel Lloyd Ridgely Research Room will be closed on the following days in November:
Tuesday, November 4
Tuesday, November 11
Thursday, November 27
Friday, November 28

The research room may be closed on these days, but you can search some of our most-accessed collections and view digital images from our photograph collections online 24 hours a day.

 

Are you on Instagram? You can now keep up with our historical markers program on Instagram at @dpamarkers. Be sure to tag us if you take a picture of one of our historical markers!

Marking Delaware History

October 29th, 2014

This blog is part of a special behind the scenes series for Archives Month.

Woodland United Methodist Church, Woodland Delaware

Woodland United Methodist Church, Woodland Delaware

Kate Fair, markers coordinator

Delaware has over 570 historical markers located throughout the state. Historical markers are first proposed by members of the public, vetted for historical significance by the Delaware Public Archives, and financially sponsored by state senators and representatives. The Delaware Historical Marker program was established in 1931 by an Act of the Delaware State Legislature to “determine and select such points of historic interest throughout the State … and erect monuments … to be appropriate at such points.”

Delaware historical markers are plaques and signs placed throughout the state to commemorate and visually educate the public about the people, places, and events that are significant to Delaware’s state, local, and national history. Since the program’s inception, Delaware historical markers have undergone a variety of stylistic changes. To view these changes and learn more about historical markers, log on to www.archives.delaware.gov/markers/index.shtml and follow us on Instagram @dpamarkers. Be sure to share your Delaware historical marker photos with us!

Do you want to know more about what happens behind-the-scenes at the Delaware Public Archives? Send us your questions and we may feature them here for Archives Month.

Delaware Public Archives to hold Workshop on Organizing Genealogical Information

October 22nd, 2014

Are your digital genealogy files all over the place? Have you discovered a record for your ancestor, twice? Librarian Leah Youse will be presenting a program at the Delaware Public Archives on Saturday, November 1, 10:30 a.m. on developing methods of genealogical arrangement and organization. Whether you are just getting started or you have been conducting online research for years, this talk will provide ideas to take your organizational system to the next level. Youse will focus on managing files and folders, email, and research, including a brief discussion on easing the burden with software.

Leah Youse earned her Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from The University of Alabama and currently provides reference services to patrons at the Elkton Central Library in Cecil County, Maryland. She has done archival work with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Cecil County. Youse’s primary interests include research methodology and genealogy blogging.

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.

 

Leah Youse

Leah Youse