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  Archived Posts From: 2014


Civil War Blogging Project Comes to an End

Written on: July 25th, 2014 in Blog Posts

Katie Hall, reference archivist

Earlier this month, we reached the end of our three-year Cyrus Forwood: Diary of a Delaware Soldier in the American Civil War blogging project. The project was a collaboration between the Delaware Public Archives and the Delaware Government Information Center (GIC) and followed the diary of Cyrus Forwood, a soldier in Company A of the Second Delaware Regiment. Forwood was a native Delawarean from Brandywine Hundred who kept a diary of his experiences with the Second Delaware from May 1861 through May 1863. During this time, we posted notes and observations that Forwood wrote in his diary day-by-day, 150 years from when he first wrote the entries. We also provided context for the entries by researching contemporary newspapers, battle reports, compiled service records, and other related records and created a Google Map to trace his travels during the war.

Although Cyrus’ diary ended in March 1863, he continued serving with the Second Delaware until he died on May 15, 1864, as a result of wounds sustained at the East Angle in the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse a few days earlier. Cyrus was 28 years old when he died and left behind two sisters, Emily and Caroline, as well as his parents, Samuel and Eliza Ann (Weldin) Forwood.

We’re no longer actively adding content to the blog, but it’s not too late to delve in and learn about Cyrus’ experiences in the Civil War. If you’re interested in learning even more, the majority of the materials that were used in the course of the project are available to researchers at the Delaware Public Archives. Some have been digitized and are even available online if you’re unable to visit us in person.

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Top 10 Tips for Researching at DPA

Written on: July 24th, 2014 in Blog PostsPhotographsResearch Room

Katie Hall, reference archivist

Summer is flying by faster than a gull searching for a French fry on the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk.

Photo of Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk

Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk
(Purnell Collection)

So far this summer, we’ve had researchers visit us from at least FIFTEEN different states! Are you still planning a trip to the Delaware Public Archives to research with us this summer? If so, here are our Top 10 Tips to make the most of your visit.

1. Visit Our Website

Our website has a wealth of information that can help you plan to make the most of your visit. The section of our website devoted to the Mabel Lloyd Ridgely Research Room lists our address, contact information, hours of operation, rules and regulations, and other helpful items.

2. Do Your Homework
Are you planning to research probates, maps, photographs, naturalizations, coroner’s reports, apprentice indentures, or orphans court records during your visit? If so, you can search indexes to some of most popular collections on our online Collection Gateway before coming to see what records we have relating to your research interests. Are you searching for a specific type of record or a particular subject? Search our Online Guide to the Collection to read series descriptions of related materials.

3. Make a Plan
Although browsing the collections in the Research Room can be a great way to spend the day, we recommend making a research plan based on records you found on the Collection Gateway or Online Guide to make the most of your time here. Print out or make note of the records that you would like to see while you’re in Dover to minimize the amount of time you need to spend before beginning to delve into the records.

4. Pack
Pencils, a notebook, laptop, tablet/ipad, magnifying glass, your research notes, a USB flash drive, and your reading glasses are all items that might come in handy while researching with us. It’s typically about 72 degrees in the Research Room, so if you get chilly in air conditioning, plan to wear a long-sleeved shirt.

5. Copy Cat
Unless you have a photographic memory, please plan to bring money for photocopies. Our fee structure for photocopies is as follows:
• Microfilm printer copies and manuscript/book copies: $.50 a page
• Computer print outs: $.10 a page
• Maps of Delaware Hundreds: $1.00 per map
• Architectural Drawings/Oversized maps: $3.50 a sheet

Payment is accepted in cash, check, or credit card (except for American Express).

Please note that we do not allow cameras or scanners in the Research Room. However, we do have two snazzy new microfilm scanners that let researchers scan and save digital versions of microfilmed records at no charge. Make sure you bring a USB flash drive with you!

6. Lock it Up

Don’t want to leave valuables in your vehicle while you’re researching, but not sure where to keep your laptop bag or pocketbook while you’re in the Research Room? The Delaware Public Archives provides quarter-operated lockers for researchers while they are in the Research Room to secure your belongings.

7. Snack Time
Bringing your lunch with you can save valuable research time, and munching on snacks in the lobby or on a shady bench on nearby Legislative Mall can also provide a much-needed burst of energy. There are also several nearby eateries that serve lunch if you need a break and a change of scenery.

8. Are We There Yet???
Planning to explore Delaware to find where your long-lost relatives used to live or are buried? Looking for something to do in the evening when the Research Room is closed? Bring a map or GPS device to help you uncover Delaware’s nooks and crannies. Kent County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Delaware Tourism are great resources for learning about tourist attractions, special events, and places to explore while you’re visiting our fine state.

9. You’re Never Fully Dressed without a Smile!
As we all know, genealogy research comes along with its share of frustrations. Our Research Room staff is top-notch, but please remember to pack your patience as we help you connect with those records you’ve traveled all the way to The First State to discover.

10. Be Social
Are you on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest? Do you read blogs or watch YouTube videos? The Delaware Public Archives has an active social media presence on all of these platforms. Check in with us often for the latest news on our holdings, our hours, and other goings-on.


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The History of Farming in Delaware

Written on: July 22nd, 2014 in Blog PostsDelaware HistoryEvents at the ArchivesPhotographsResearch Room

Farming and its related agricultural industries have been a major force in the social, cultural, and economic history of Delaware. Today, agriculture remains the state’s largest industry, generating over $1 billion in income from an array of crops, poultry, and livestock. On Saturday, August 2, at 10:30 a.m., Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee, will discuss the rich history and tradition of Delaware farming and the major role it has played in the progress and evolution of the First State.

Ed Kee, a nationally and internationally recognized expert on vegetable science, is a native of Delaware who has spent his entire career in agriculture. Appointed as the Kent County agricultural agent for the University of Delaware in 1978, Kee eventually became the state vegetable crops specialist. In 2004, he was appointed as the extension agricultural program leader. Retiring from the University in 2008, Kee worked for Hanover Foods Corporation as director of agriculture before being confirmed as the Delaware Secretary of Agriculture in 2009.

The program, to be held at the Delaware Public Archives, 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


Photo of Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee

Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee

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50 Years Afloat: The Cape May – Lewes Ferry

Written on: July 1st, 2014 in Blog PostsDelaware HistoryPhotographs

Photo of Governor Carvel at the dedication of the Cape May - Lewes Ferry, June 30, 1964. (General Collection)

Governor Carvel at the dedication of the Cape May – Lewes Ferry, June 30th, 1964. (General Collection)

Sarah Denison, processing archivist

Today is the 50th anniversary of the maiden voyage of the Cape May – Lewes Ferry. Operated by the Delaware River and Bay Authority, the fleet carries passengers and automobiles on the 80 minute journey across the mouth of the Delaware Bay 13 times a day on peak summer weekends. We’ve found some images from the early days of the ferry, like this image of Governor Carvel at the dedication on June 30th 1964, and we’re sharing them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Fun ferry fact: On its first day, the Cape May – Lewes Ferry departed Lewes at 6:47am (7 minutes behind schedule) and carried 8 vehicles and 15 passengers.

Fact provided by the Cape May – Lewes Ferry:

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