Posts Tagged ‘Sussex County’

Celebrate Delaware Day!

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

 In recognition of Delaware Day, December 7, being the day that Delaware was the first state to ratify the United States Constitution, the Delaware Public Archives has recently created a shadow box exhibit that celebrates the story of Delaware’s role as the First State to ratify the United States Constitution. This exhibit features facsimiles of original documents drawn from the collections of the Delaware Public Archives and will only be displayed for a limited time.  These documents, along with the pictures and other Archives resources featured in the shadow box exhibit, describe the state’s role in the ratification process, and the interests and activities of Delawareans during this watershed period in our country’s history. The centerpiece of the Archives’ celebration is Delaware’s Ratification Document. Signed by the thirty delegates on December 7, 1787, this document bears historic witness to Delaware’s role as the first state to approve our nation’s new frame of government.  As noted by State Archivist Stephen Marz, “this display truly shows Delaware at a time when it was a leader in determining the type of government that would be implemented at the national level.” To view documents online related to Delaware being the First State check the webpage

            To honor this special day in Delaware history, Governor Markell came to the Delaware Public Archives for a ceremony in which he read the official proclamation of Delaware Day and honored Dr. Carol E. Hoffecker as the recipient of the 2011 Governor’s Heritage Award.  Congratulations, Carol!


Governor Jack Markell and Secretary of State Jeff Bullock stand with Dr. Carol Hoffecker as she displays her award.

Delaware Public Archives Launches Searchable Finding Aids Tool

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

There’s a new tool now available for online patrons to search the records of the Delaware Public Archives. Known as the Collection Gateway, this new feature searches the databases of nineteen different collections in the Archives. The Collection Gateway will open a treasure trove of information for historians, genealogists, and all citizens who have an interest in finding Delaware information online.  Among the collections now searchable online are Church records, Orphans Court records, Newspapers, Maps, Coroners Reports, Probates Reports, and Apprentice Indentures. The complete list can be found at or on the Delaware Public Archives homepage at Along with having the ability to easily search through these records; users can also integrate what they find and share their discoveries using social media tools such as facebook, twitter and e-mail.

There are nearly half a million records currently available online and the Delaware Public Archives will continue to add databases to more collections. The Gateway will be updated on a quarterly basis.  To make these materials available online, Archives staff extracted pertinent elements from each document to make it easy to identify each record.  Because not all the information was extracted, the Gateway gives only a glimpse into the full record.  Once a detail page for the document has been reached, it will be possible to e-mail a request for the full record to the Delaware Public Archives.  With this request, the Archives staff can pull the record and send a reply with a link to to purchase a copy. To view the original record, it is strongly recommended that patrons visit the Mabel Lloyd Ridgely Research Center at the Delaware Public Archives.  Take some time to check out this exciting new feature!

Sailing Along The Mispillion

Friday, June 4th, 2010

We typically do not collect private papers, but we do have some.  One of the collections of private papers we have in our Small Manuscript Collection is the Florence Lewis Papers.  There are several series within this collection, from newspapers to genealogical research notes. But the one I want to talk about today is the land records.  They date from 1680-1914.  The records deal with land in Kent and Sussex County, especially in the Milford area.  They include plots, deeds, surveys and surveyors notes. The collection also includes some unique items like a return for bibles distributed to the poor by the Sussex County Bible Society, an 1859 tax assessment for School District 5 and 116, and a 1846 tavern license to name a few.

The plot I have attached is the earliest illustration of a ship on the Mispillion River. On June 12th there will be an event at the Wilson M Vinyard Shipyard to celebrate the launching of a restored yacht on the Mispillion.

For a complete description of this collection please view our on line guide to our collections.

The earliest illustration of a ship on the Mispillion, 1758.

Wolves Head?

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

We had a group of students come in the other day that was studying early Delaware.  Their assignment was to find interesting tidbits about Delaware.  We sent them to the early court records for each of the counties. They were surprised at what they found.

For example, there is a list and description of livestock earmarks registered with the Kent County Court in 1686 and 1687, and a court docket showing fines of 50 lbs. of tobacco for smoking in court.  But the most interesting thing they found were the bounties for wolf heads.  First they couldn’t believe that Delaware had wolves at one time and then they kept saying “they actually brought the head in to get paid?”  They made copies of the pages and all received “A’s” on their reports.

To learn more about Delaware’s early period view our Exanining The 17th Century Through The Documents Of The Delaware Public Archives exhibit on our digital archives page.

Sussex County Court Docket Declaring That Any Christian Bringing In a Wolves Head Shall Receive 50lbs Of Tobacco

Am I Part American Indian?

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Has anyone ever told you that you may have American Indian ancestry?  Have you ever wondered how you could find out?  One clue may be your last name.  Each tribe has particular surnames that are associated with them.  Names like Coker, Jackson, Durham, and Norwood to name just a few.

There are two recognized American Indian tribal communities  in Delaware:  the Naticoke community in south-central Sussex County, near Millsboro, and the Lenape community in central Kent County around the town of Cheswold.

There are two good resources for lists of surnames associated with Delaware’s tribes. C.A. Weslager’s 1943 book Delaware’s Forgotten Folk and an article by William Harlen Gilbert, Jr. “Surviving Indian groups of the eastern United States,” in the 1948 Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution.  Both books can be found at the archives.

For additional information on the tribes and their genealogy you can visit the “Mitsawokett” website.

You can also read a background on the Native American period in Delaware.

Deed of sale dated November 1, 1680, conveying land called Quinquingo Cipus, located between Duck Creek and Appoquinimink Creek in New Castle County, from Meghaeksitt, Chief Sachem of Cohansy, to Ephraim Herman of New Castle for two half ancers of drink, one blanket, one musket, two axes, two knives, two double handfuls of powder, two bars of lead, and one kettle.

Deed of sale dated November 1, 1680, conveying land called Quinquingo Cipus, located between Duck Creek and Appoquinimink Creek in New Castle County, from Meghaeksitt, Chief Sachem of Cohansy, to Ephraim Herman of New Castle for two half "ancers" of drink, one blanket, one musket, two axes, two knives, two double handfuls of powder, two bars of lead, and one kettle.