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  Archived Posts From: 2010


All Aboard! The Delaware Public Archives Celebrates the History of the Railroad

Written on: December 20th, 2010 in Blog PostsDelaware HistoryEvents at the ArchivesMaps and SurveysPhotographsResearch Room

Looking for something to combat the post-holiday blues? Come out to the Delaware Public Archives to help celebrate the history of the railroad in Delaware. The Archives will be hosting a free railroad exhibit from January 5 to January 8 coinciding with the completion of a related Archives initiative to bring the entire Jackson & Sharp Photograph and Drawings Collection to its website

Open each day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the exhibit will feature original railroad papers, maps, drawings, and schedules from the 19th century. A large model railroad layout provided by the Delaware Seaside Railroad Club will also be on display for children and model railroad enthusiasts alike. 

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Mom, What’s A Christmas Seal?

Written on: December 16th, 2010 in Research Room

That’s exactly the question a little girl from Dover asked the other day. It seems her mother collects them.  She dropped by to see if we had any information that would help explain it.

She was amazed to see that we have records from the Anti-Tuberculosis Society, which include scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, and some of their administrative files. We have records and photographs from the Bissell Hospital. And we also have lots of sheets of Christmas Seals.

So do you know the story of Christmas Seals?  Did you know that the Christmas Seal campaign started right here in Delaware?

In 1907 a Red Cross volunteer by the name of Emily Bissell decided she was going to design and print a special holiday stamp and sell it at the post office for a penny. This was in response to the impending closing of the local sanatorium if it didn’t raise $300. And so the Christmas Seal was born.

To see more photographs relating to the Bissell Hospital, visit our State Board of Health exhibit in our Digital Archives.

[audio:|titles=1944 Message from Emily Bissell]

Listen to a 1944 Message from Emily Bissell by clicking the Play button directly above. Or, download the mp3.

Christmas Seal Uncut Sheet
Christmas Seal Uncut Sheet

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Happy Delaware Day!

Written on: December 7th, 2010 in Research Room

“We, the deputies of the people of the Delaware state……………fully, freely and entirely approve of, assent to, ratify, and confirm the said Constitution”

 And with those words on December 7, 1787 at Battell’s Tavern in Dover, Delaware ratified the Federal Constitution and became the first state in the new nation.

 There are many activities to commemorate this important day. For instance, did you know that there is a competition for 4th graders put on by the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs?

 The Department of State has a website devoted just to Delaware Day.

 The governor will sign a proclamation declaring December 7th as Delaware Day.  This has been a tradition since 1933 when Governor C. Douglass Buck first proclaimed December 7th as Delaware Day.

 Here at the Archives we have the original records that made us the first state.  In addition to the Ratification Document, we have the receipts for expenses, petitions, and letters.  You can view some of those original records by visiting our “Becoming the First State- Delaware’s Road to Ratification exhibit in the Digital Archives.  You can also view our YouTube video to learn more about the document itself.

 To see pictures of past Delaware Day celebrations, click the Delaware Day album on our Facebook page.

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YES, I’m Finally A Member!

Written on: November 30th, 2010 in Research Room

Have you been trying to join a lineage based society and hit a brick wall?  Maybe we can help. We did the other day when a patron came in to see if she could find documentation on an ancestor so that she could join the Society of Colonial Inn Keepers.  She was surprised at all the  information she found, not only in our original records, but in our book collection too.

 She used vital statistics and probate records to trace her lineage.  The icing on the cake was when she looked in Tavern in the Town and found her ancestor listed as a tavern owner. 

 So who’s in your family? Clergy? You may be eligible for the Society of Descendants of  Colonial Clergy.   Or how about the Descendants of Colonial Judges and Lawyers.  You can look at original records and books like Scots Kith and Kin to see if you can join a heritage society. Any soldiers? We have records of the Revolutionary War   to see if you can join the Sons/Daughters of the American Revolution.  You can check out our Civil War records to see if your eligible for the Sons of the Union/Confederate Veterans. Were any of your ancestors on the Mayflower? Come in and look at our series of books entitled Mayflower Families.   So what are you waiting for?  Why not stop by and let the fun begin. You never know what you may find out about your family.

 To see what books we have available look at the Delaware Library Catalog.

 To view our Civil War Guide or our Revolutionary War Guide click on the link.

To find out more about our book collection, view our YouTube video.

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New Accessions at The Delaware Public Archives

Written on: November 22nd, 2010 in Delaware HistoryPhotographsResearch Room

Thanks to the financial generosity of the Friends of the Delaware Archives, we have attained two important Delaware related items.  The first item is a picture of Governor William Cannon who served as Governor of the First State during the Civil War from 1863 to 1865. The second item is a booklet entitled “A Brief Sketch of the Military Operations on the Delaware During the Late War.”  This booklet was published in 1820 and addresses the military actions taking place on the Delaware River and Bay during the War of 1812.   To learn more information about the Friends of the Delaware Archives, click here.

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There’s A New Face In Town

Written on: November 12th, 2010 in Blog Posts

In case you haven’t heard, we have a new director. His name is Stephen M. Marz, CA.

 Steve is a Certified Archivist who, for the past five years, has served as Deputy Director of the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.  He has a B.S. in Secondary Education and History from Monmouth University, an M.S.W. from the University of Maryland, and an M.A. in History from the University of Maryland–Baltimore County.

 Steve is interested in providing access to the public to our records whether on site or via the internet. He takes our role as stewards of the records of the great state of Delaware very seriously.  We are extremely excited to see what wonderful endeavors await us.

 He looks forward to hearing your comments and suggestions and invites you to take a look at our digital archives.

So please join me in welcoming him to our archives family.

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Workshop to Focus on Wills and Probate Records

Written on: November 1st, 2010 in Delaware HistoryEvents at the ArchivesInside the DPAResearch Room

The last of Nancy Lyons’ series of genealogical workshops, entitled “Analyzing Wills and Other Probate Records” will be held this Saturday, November 6, 10:30 a.m., at the Delaware Public Archives.  This free workshop will provide plenty of valuable genealogical tips for researchers so  mark this date on your calendar.  There will be handouts for those who attend and the Mabel Lloyd Research Center will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:15 for those who want to conduct research before and after the workshop.

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We know where the bodies are buried, do you?

Written on: October 26th, 2010 in Research Room

So have you ever been taking a nice leisurely walk through the woods, enjoying the fresh air, the sights, the sounds, and then boom you trip over something?  And has that something ever been a tombstone?  You can ask the gentleman that came in the other day because that’s exactly what happened to him.  Needless to say he was a little freaked out by the whole thing.  During his walk it seems he stumbled across an old family graveyard.  Some of the stones had broken while others were still in relatively good shape.  He wrote down the information that was on the stones and came in to see if he could find out more about the people.

 The stones were very old from the late 1700s to the mid 1800s. He was able to locate the individuals in the Walter G. Tatnall tombstone collection as well as the Tombstones of Sussex County book. He used our probate records, orphan’s court records, and our deed records to find out more about the family.

To learn more about the tombstone records we have here view our clip on the states YouTube channel.

 To see what other books on cemeteries we have browse the Delaware Library Catalog.

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Now That’s A Pot Hole!!

Written on: October 18th, 2010 in Research Room

I’m sure you’ve been reading in the papers about all the problems with some of the roads in Delaware.  We had a guy come in to see if we had any documents relating to the maintenance of roads. Seems he had just come from the garage after needing new shocks.  He said it was because of all the pot holes in his road. 

He looked at Department of Transportation annual reports, a description of roads book from the county engineer, road papers, road and bridge accounts, and of course, photographs.

  To see an exhibit of early Delaware roads, check out our State Highway Department Photographs that document the transportation history of Delaware in the 20th century.

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Scrapple’s Ready

Written on: October 8th, 2010 in Research Room

Do you smell it? Can you hear that? It’s the aroma of scrapple and the sound of apples crunching. Yup, it’s time for the apple scrapple festival in Bridgeville. To get ready for this event we had some wonderful ladies come in to see what we had on the town of Bridgeville. 

They were surprised that we have over 300 photographs and the town’s minutes from 1909 to 1990. You should have seen the look on their faces when they read the enrolled bill from 1822 that was “An act to prevent swine from running at large in the Village of Bridgeville”.  They had to ask “Do you have any records on scrapple?”  Why yes we do!  We have a livestock slaughter record book from 1932 to 1938 from the New Castle County workhouse that shows amount of products produced (ham, shoulders, loins, sausage, lard, and SCRAPPLE).  We also showed them a scrapbook from the Delaware State Apple Commission from 1951 to 1973.

To learn more about the festival click here

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