Written on: November 22nd, 2011 in Research Room
With the holidays fast approaching, we’re all thinking about perfecting our holiday meal menus or securing the perfect gifts for our nearest and dearest. Visiting with family is an often refreshing and sometimes frustrating part of the season. I don’t know about your family, but when we get together family histories usually come up. These stories are great but after years and years (and years and years and years) of retelling, I wonder if these stories are true. Oral histories are sort of like a playing the telephone game; the story you start out with might not be the story told 50 years later. Did great grandfather what’s-his-name really throw dollar bills off the top of his car dealership? Was our family actually part of the French Revolution?
If you’re anything like me, you’ll want the real story. Here’s an idea: take this opportunity to set the record straight and tell your relatives something they might not know about your family. The holidays are a perfect time to get to the roots of your family tree and it’s easier than you might think.
Here at the Delaware Public Archives we have many resources for genealogical research useful to native and non-native Delawareans alike. Take a spin through our vital statistics index which lists the births, deaths and marriages of Delawareans. Or, hop on a computer and checkout Ancestry.com –use it for free only at the Archives.
While everyone else is looking forward to the New Year, take a look back at your family’s history. Get started HERE.
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 de.gov/collectiongateway or on the Delaware Public Archives homepage at archives.delaware.gov. 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 shop.delaware.gov 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!
Join us on Saturday, November 5, 10:30 a.m. as the Delaware Public Archives continues its commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War with a program entitled “The Tragic Odyssey of Obie Evans and other African-Americans in Civil-War Delaware.” Obie Evans escaped slavery, survived the Battle of the Crater, and participated in Baltimore’s post-war street riots–only to be murdered by other war veterans near Smyrna in 1866. His story reveals the triumphs and tragedies of African-Americans in Civil War Delaware.
This will be the fourth in a series of four Civil War programs presented this year at the Archives by Dr. Steve Newton of Delaware State University. Dr. Newton is the author of nine books and an Associate Editor of North & South magazine. He has been a Professor of History and Political Science at Delaware State University since 1990. Currently, he serves as the Acting Chairman of the History, Political Science, and Philosophy Department at the University.
The program is free to the public. No reservations are required. For more information, contact Tom Summers (302) 744-5047 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.