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  Archived Posts From: 2016

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The Kalmar Nyckel: New Discoveries

Written on: December 21st, 2016 in Blog PostsDelaware HistoryEvents at the ArchivesResearch Room

On Saturday, January 7, at 10:30 a.m. Bill Hutchison of the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation will present a program at the Delaware Public Archives focusing on how the Kalmar Nyckel operated, with special emphasis on the navigation of the vessel, and the firing of the ship’s guns. Segments of a new film about the ship will be shown to reveal how these tasks were carried out. The Kalmar Nyckel arrived in America in 1638 from Sweden and the settlers aboard founded the colony of New Sweden on the Delaware. This was the first permanent European settlement established in the State of Delaware and in the area that would become the City of Wilmington. New documentary evidence has recently been uncovered about the fate of the Kalmar Nyckel which will be presented at the program.

Bill Hutchison, Lead Educator Emeritus for the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation, has served as a volunteer crew member since 2003. A retired educator, Hutchison was a social studies teacher and administrator in the Capital School District for 35 years. He was the district’s Teacher of the Year in 1989. In addition, Hutchison has been an instructor at Delaware State University, Wilmington University, and the University of Delaware. A Vietnam Veteran and life-long resident of Delaware, Hutchison received his BA in history from Salisbury University and his MA in education from the University of Delaware.

The program is free to the public and will last approximately one hour. No reservations are required. For more information, contact Kevin Barni (302) 744-5015 or e-mail Kevin.Barni@state.de.us.

The Kalmar Nyckel (Photograph by Andrew Hanna, KNF)

                      The Kalmar Nyckel (Photograph by Andrew Hanna, KNF)


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Governor Jack Markell Presents Edward J. Freel with the 2016 Governor’s Heritage Award

Written on: November 29th, 2016 in Blog PostsEvents at the Archives

Governor Jack Markell today honored former Delaware Secretary of State Edward J. Freel as the recipient of the 2016 Governor’s Heritage Award.

In a ceremony held at the Delaware Public Archives with a large crowd of family, friends, and colleagues, the governor spoke of Mr. Freel’s commitment to the First State through his major role in the construction of the current Archives facility and his establishment of The Democracy Project at the University of Delaware.

“Ed has devoted his life to making our state a better place, whether as a public official working on policies that improve the lives of Delawareans or as a teacher transferring his passion for service to countless students,” said Gov. Markell. “No one is prouder of Delaware’s heritage than Ed and I’m thrilled that we have this opportunity to honor his incredible work to preserve our past while helping build an ever-brighter future.”

Established in 2003 by the Office of the Secretary of State, the Governor’s Heritage Award is presented to individuals who have made a distinguished contribution to the recognition, preservation, and celebration of Delaware’s heritage.

“I am honored and humbled to receive the Governor’s Heritage Award. As I looked at the previous distinguished recipients, I saw three who were personal mentors to me: Jim Soles, Bill Quillen, and Skipper Purnell,” Mr. Freel said. “Beyond any individual recipient, what is significant about this reward is the fact that the governor and the state pause to reflect on the importance of our heritage and the essential principles of democracy and civic engagement that are woven into Delaware’s history.”

“Ed Freel embodies a spirit of public service to the people of Delaware that we should all admire,” said Secretary of State Jeff Bullock. “Throughout his tenure in public life, and especially when he held the office of Secretary of State, Ed has been an advocate for the institutions and organizations charged with preserving our heritage for future generations. I thank him for his years of effort, as well as his enduring friendship and counsel.”

In 1994, a group of citizens concerned with the deteriorating condition of the Archives facility solicited the signatures of thousands of Delawareans supporting the construction of a new building. As secretary of state during Gov. Thomas Carper’s administration, Mr. Freel’s leadership guided the construction of a new, state-of-the-art Delaware Public Archives, which opened in 2001.
In his role at the University of Delaware, Mr. Freel manages The Democracy Project, which promotes civic engagement among young people and a better understanding of citizen responsibilities in a democratic society. Each year the Democracy Project sponsors the Institute for Teachers, which aims to improve the teaching of civics in Delaware schools. Through the Institute, instructors have the opportunity to meet with public figures and develop new and innovative lesson plans for the classroom. Over the past 18 years, more than 200 teachers have participated in the program.

Edward J. Freel accepts the 2016 Governor’s Heritage Award from Governor Jack Markell as Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock and State Archivist Stephen M. Marz look on

Edward J. Freel accepts the 2016 Governor’s Heritage Award from Governor Jack Markell as Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock and State Archivist Stephen M. Marz look on


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Tracing Your Roots with “The Legal Genealogist”

Written on: October 31st, 2016 in Blog PostsDelaware HistoryEvents at the ArchivesResearch Room

(Dover, DE) On Saturday, November 5, Judy G. Russell, JD, CG CGL, known as “The Legal Genealogist” will present two programs at the Delaware Public Archives. The first presentation, at 10:30 a.m. is titled “Don’t Forget the Ladies” – A Genealogist’s Guide to Women and the Law. In early America, women were all too often the people who just weren’t there: not in the records, not in the censuses, not on juries, not in the voting booth. The common law relegated women to “protected” – second-class – status and understanding how they were treated under the law provides clues to finding their identities today.

The second program, titled Rogues, Rascals and Rapscallions will begin at 1:30 p.m. Playing detective in court records can unmask those individuals that every family has. Learn to understand the criminal process in both federal and state courts and how to find the records to put meat on the bones of the skeletons one may have in their family’s closet.

Judy Russell is an attorney whose aim is to assist people understand the often arcane and even impenetrable legal concepts and terminology that are so very important to those who are studying family history. A graduate of the Rutgers School of Law-Newark, Russell also has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from George Washington University in Washington D.C. She has worked as a newspaper reporter, trade association writer, legal investigator, defense attorney, federal prosecutor, law editor and, for more than 20 years, an adjunct member of the faculty at Rutgers Law School. She lectures on a wide variety of genealogical topics, ranging from using court records to understanding DNA testing.

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.

The Delaware Public Archives is located at 121 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard North in Dover. The Mabel Lloyd Ridgely Research Room is open to the public Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. On the second Saturday of every month the research room is open from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.


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Preserving Documents, Photographs, and Digital Memories

Written on: September 26th, 2016 in Blog PostsDelaware HistoryEvents at the ArchivesPhotographspreservationResearch Room

Looking for a way to preserve important documents, photos and videos for future generations? On Saturday, October 1 at 10:30 a.m., the Delaware Public Archives will present a program discussing how to preserve photographs, documents, and digital memories. You will leave this program with the knowledge needed to care for and preserve your irreplaceable memories. Presented by Archives’ staff member Connor Graham, this program will include basic information and instruction on proper handling and storage of family papers, photographs and digital media to ensure long term preservation and access.

Ms. Graham is a processing archivist at DPA and has worked on a number of manuscript and photograph collections including the Davis Collection, Governor Charles L. Terry Collection, Marshall Family Genealogical papers, City of Wilmington Maps and Drawings, Kent County Probates, William David Rice Vietnam War Scrapbook, the Arcada Fleming McCoy Photograph Collection, and the Glenn Rude Glass Negative Collection. She also curates DPA exhibits and digitizes collections for online access. Ms. Graham will graduate with her Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a concentration in Archival Studies in December 2016.

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.

Connor Graham

Connor Graham


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Integrating Your Ancestors into Desktop, Mobile and Cloud Technologies

Written on: August 23rd, 2016 in Blog PostsDelaware HistoryEvents at the ArchivesResearch Room

(Dover, DE) On Saturday, September 3, at 10:30 a.m. Shamele Jordon will present a program at the Delaware Public Archives focusing on new technologies that have proven to be most useful for genealogy research. Through her own quest for her family’s history, the presenter will discuss how she used new genealogical methods such as desktop applications, cloud technologies, and mobile applications to find information about her ancestors.

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.


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In Pursuit of “Pancho” Villa: The Delaware National Guard’s 1916 Mexican Border Service

Written on: August 10th, 2016 in

In 1916, Mexican Revolutionary General Francisco “Pancho” Villa, led a raid against the U.S.-Mexican border town of Columbus, New Mexico. The U.S. government sent U.S. Army General John J. Pershing to capture Villa in an unsuccessful nine-month incursion into Mexican sovereign territory that ended when the United States entered World War I. Among Pershing’s troops were members of the Delaware National Guard. On Saturday, August 20, at 10:30 a.m. General Kennard Wiggins, Jr., USA, (Ret.), will be presenting a program at the Delaware Public Archives about the Delaware troops who served in this campaign. This presentation, a Delaware World War I Centennial Event, is sponsored jointly by the Delaware Public Archives and the Delaware Heritage Commission. Copies of General Wiggins’s new book, Delaware in World War I, will be available for purchase at the event, with a book-signing to follow.

General Wiggins, who retired from active duty in 2004, began his military service when he enlisted in the Delaware Air National Guard as a Reciprocating Aircraft Engine Mechanic in February, 1966. He served in a variety of assignments before he was commissioned in 1978 as the Public Affairs Officer with the 166th Airlift Group. He entered active duty in 1986, holding positions at Andrews Air Force Base. In 1997, he was assigned to duty at the Pentagon. General Wiggins is the author of illustrated histories of the Delaware Air National Guard, the Army National Guard, Dover Air Force Base, and Delaware Aviation. He was a contributing author to Histories of Newark, 1758-2008, and recently published his latest book, Delaware in World War I. Among other interests, he presently serves as vice-chairman of the board of directors of the Delaware Military Heritage and Education Foundation.

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.

1st Delaware Infantry at the Rifle Range in New Mexico, 1916.

1st Delaware Infantry at the Rifle Range in New Mexico, 1916.


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The Cold War’s Effect on Dover Air Force Base and its Surrounding Communities

Written on: July 22nd, 2016 in Blog PostsDelaware HistoryEvents at the ArchivesResearch Room

Dover Air Force Base has been a cornerstone of Dover, Delaware for over 60 years. What is little understood is the impact the base has had on the communities that surround it. On Saturday, August 6, at 10:30 a.m. MSgt Eric Czerwinski, USAF, (Retired) will present a program at the Delaware Public Archives about Dover AFB’s influence on the growth of the local area during the post-World War II era. The development of Dover and Camden were immeasurably affected by the growth of Dover AFB during the Cold War years. The need to house airmen and civilians became a driving force in the development of these local communities. New subdivisions sprouted up everywhere and for the first time, the commercial focus began its journey from downtown to the strip mall. This program will reveal how the fabric of Kent County was permanently changed by the growth of Dover AFB during the Cold War period of the 1950s.

Eric Czerwinski retired from the United States Air Force as a Master Sergeant after 20 years of service. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in History from Wesley College and completed his Master’s Degree in Historic Preservation at Delaware State University in 2013. Currently, he serves as an adjunct Instructor of History at Wesley College.

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.

Governor Carvel (on the left) christening “Diamond State Tanker” with Staff Sgt. Goodin Armed Forces Day, Dover Air Force Base, May 25, 1961

Governor Carvel (on the left) christening “Diamond State Tanker” with Staff Sgt. Goodin
Armed Forces Day, Dover Air Force Base, May 25, 1961


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From Humble Beginnings: The First Thirty Years of Dover Air Force Base

Written on: June 17th, 2016 in Delaware HistoryEvents at the ArchivesResearch Room

(Dover, DE) On Saturday, July 2, at 10:30 a.m. Mike Leister, Director of the Air Mobility Command (AMC) Museum in Dover, will present a program at the Delaware Public Archives about the early years of the Dover Air Force Base. In 1940 the City of Dover accepted an offer to build a federally funded airport. By December 1941 the airport had become Dover Army Airfield. From anti-submarine patrols in obsolete aircraft to secret rocket testing and fighter pilot training the base flourished until it was closed in 1946. As the Korean War expanded the facility was reactivated and in 1953 it became an airlift base. Today Dover AFB is an indispensable part of our global transportation network, but how it all came about is a fascinating story.

Leister has been the Director of the Air Mobility Command Museum for 30 years. Among his many accomplishments he has founded two aviation museums and the Delaware Museum Association. He serves as a senior mentor for museum professionals within the USAF Heritage Program and occasionally for the Small Museum Association where he received their first Lifetime Achievement Award. He was a 2008 inductee into the Delaware Aviation Hall of Fame. The AMC Museum is widely acknowledged as the gem of the USAF Heritage Program and the #1 “Thing To Do” in Delaware according to “Trip Advisor.”

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.

Dover Army Air Field main entrance, April 15, 1943

Dover Army Air Field main entrance, April 15, 1943


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Maximizing Ancestry.com to Find Your Genealogical Roots

Written on: May 24th, 2016 in Blog PostsEvents at the ArchivesResearch Room

Ancestry.com is one of the most popular and valued genealogical tools in the world. Understanding and maximizing its usefulness is essential in order to efficiently search and record your family’s history. On Saturday, June 4, at 10:30 a.m., professional genealogist Sydney F. Cruice Dixon will present a program at the Delaware Public Archives in which she will share tips and search strategies to help researchers become more effective family genealogists and ensure individuals are getting the most of their Ancestry.com subscription.

Sydney F. Cruice Dixon is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. She has been actively researching family genealogies since 1995. In addition to conducting research and providing genealogical coaching, Dixon currently teaches both beginner and intermediate level genealogy courses. She also lectures regularly throughout the tri-state area. One of Dixon’s particular areas of specialization is United States military records. She is also a member of the planning committee for the Main Line Genealogy Club in the Philadelphia area.

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


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Celebrate Dover Days with Two Tours of the Delaware Public Archives

Written on: April 28th, 2016 in Blog PostsDelaware HistoryEvents at the ArchivesPhotographsResearch Room

A Dover Tour of the Delaware Public Archives
On Monday, May 2, at 6:00 p.m., the Delaware Public Archives will offer a special evening program titled “A Dover Tour of the Delaware Public Archives.” While featuring all the traditional components of a “behind the scenes” tour of the facility, this visit will include documents, maps, and photographs that are specific to the Dover area. Led by Archives’ staff members Tom Summers and Margaret Raubacher Dunham, this special tour will give patrons the opportunity to view documents related to the history of the capital city dating back to the 18th century.

Behind the Scenes Tour of the Delaware Public Archives
On Saturday, May 7, at 1:30 p.m. the staff of the Delaware Public Archives will present 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.

These programs are free to the public and each one will last approximately 50 minutes. No reservations are required. For more information, contact Tom Summers (302) 744-5047 or e-mail thomas.summers@state.de.us.


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