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  Archived Posts From: 2017

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Resurrecting the Past: How Cemeteries and Their Records Speak to Researchers

Written on: September 26th, 2017 in Blog PostsDelaware HistoryEvents at the ArchivespreservationResearch Room

On Saturday, October 7, 10:30 a.m. Kevin Barni, Historical Marker Program Coordinator at the Delaware Public Archives, will present a program at the Archives about the importance of cemetery research. Both professional and amateur genealogists have spent countless hours documenting local cemeteries. Their contributions provide insight on the people interred there, and the visible landscape. This presentation discusses the types of records found within cemeteries, and the knowledge gained from studying them. The usefulness of these records will be explored through two case studies.

Kevin Barni is the Delaware Public Archives’ Historical Marker Program Coordinator. He received his M.A. in Historic Preservation from the University of Delaware in 2016. Throughout his career Kevin has explored historic sites throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, and his primary interests include funerary landscapes and architecture, and the communities these sites serve.

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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Delaware during the American Revolution

Written on: August 29th, 2017 in Blog PostsDelaware HistoryEvents at the Archives

On Saturday, September 2, 10:30 a.m. historian Kim Burdick will present a program at the Delaware Public Archives about Delaware during the American Revolution. How did Delawareans react in 1777 when an invading British army of 17,000 soldiers landed near Delaware at the Head of the Elk River to march to Philadelphia? What strategic maneuvers did the American army carry out as the British forces moved through Delaware on their way to Pennsylvania? This program will answer these questions and examine this period of Delaware history through the letters and writings of colonial Delawareans who lived through the ordeal and recorded the arrival of the British army and the social upheaval it brought to the colony.

One of Delaware’s best-known historians, Kim Burdick is Past Chairman of the Delaware Humanities Council and Delaware Advisor Emerita of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Her book, “Revolutionary Delaware,” released by History Press in November 2016, is already in its second printing. In 2011, Ms. Burdick was one of 24 Community College Instructors nationwide selected as a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholar. In 2016, she was honored by the State of Delaware for her work on the 50th Anniversary of the Nation’s Historic Preservation laws. Ms. Burdick holds an MA in American Folk Culture and Museum Studies from Cooperstown; an MPA from the University of Delaware, and a Diplôme approfondi de langue française (DALF) in French language and literature.

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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Genealogy in Your Genes: Using DNA for Genealogical Research

Written on: July 26th, 2017 in Blog PostsEvents at the Archives

(Dover, DE) On Saturday, August 5 at 10:30 a.m., Certified Genealogist Michael Hait will present a program at the Delaware Public Archives that will focus on the basics of ‘genetic genealogy’ as a way to supplement one’s traditional research and break through brick walls. This presentation will include details on Y-DNA, mitochondrial DNA, and autosomal DNA research. Attendees will learn about comparing their test results with other individuals and surname projects, and how to target one’s testing to discover the desired connections.

Michael Hait is a full-time professional genealogical researcher, writer, and lecturer. He has written case studies for several genealogical journals including the Maryland Genealogical Society Journal, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, and the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. In 2012 Hait won 1st prize in the National Genealogical Society Family History Writing Competition for his article “In the Shadow of Rebellions,” exploring descendants of an enslaved woman living in 19th-century Maryland. Currently, he serves on the Board of Trustees of the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

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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Think Your Job is Dangerous?

Written on: June 30th, 2017 in Blog PostsPhotographsResearch Room

Photo of Men with a cow and a calf

Men with a Cow and a Calf

Many people have experienced injuries while at the workplace. These maladies could be anything from getting a papercut while filing paperwork, having back strains from lifting a heavy box, or even getting the dreaded Carpal Tunnel from typing on a keyboard for too long. Then again, most of these injuries occur in the modern day workplace: the office. Your garden-variety office worker has surely experienced any of these or other minor symptoms at one time or another, yet has anyone you know ever been injured by a cow?

A few weeks ago, a researcher came in and asked to look up some records on Industrial Accident Board cases via the Department of Labor. While perusing some of these files, a coworker and I stumbled upon a case from an employee of one of the du Pont family members. The employee in question was described as having a “hurt neck”, and the injury report stated something along the lines of: “Employee was milking a cow. The cow fell over, landing on and injuring the employee’s neck”.

I know it’s never polite to laugh at someone during an accident, but seeing as this took place in the mid-20th century, my coworker and I felt OK with erupting with laughter as to this poor soul’s workplace cow-tastrophe. I mean, how many people have had a cow fall on their neck while at work?

And you thought you had it bad when the copier machine stops working…

For more information on Industrial Accident Board visit the “Old Awards” & Closed Case Files Department of Labor page


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Pickett’s Charge

Written on: June 21st, 2017 in Blog PostsEvents at the ArchivesResearch Room

On Saturday, July 1, 10:30 a.m. Delaware Heritage Commission member Terry Wright will present a program at the Delaware Public Archives on Pickett’s Charge, the climatic final attack at the Battle of Gettysburg. After two years of war, and several days of hard fighting on the Union flanks around the town of Gettysburg, Confederate General Robert E. Lee believed that a concerted attack upon the troops at the center of General George Meade’s Army of the Potomac along Cemetery Ridge could break the Union line. Lee hoped this would force a retreat towards Washington and, perhaps, encourage the Federal government to sue for peace. This program will explore the different aspects of this final part of the battle and examine why it is such an important part of American history.

Terry Wright has been a member of the Delaware Heritage Commission since 2009, and chaired the Commission’s Civil War Sesquicentennial Planning Committee. A lifelong Delawarean and 1982 graduate of The American University in Washington, D.C., Terry served for 27 years on the staff of United States Senator Joseph R., Biden, Jr. He also serves on the Service Academy Nominations Board of United States Senator Christopher Coons, having previously served in a similar capacity for former Senator Ted Kaufman and former Representative John Carney. A resident of Gordon Heights in suburban Wilmington, Terry is Chairman of the Eastern Brandywine Hundred Coordinating Council, an organization dedicated to historic preservation and community planning in the neighborhoods of Eastern Brandywine Hundred along the Delaware River.

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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What do you mean not everything is online?

Written on: June 16th, 2017 in Blog PostsResearch Room

If I had a dollar for every time a researcher said that phrase! Unfortunately, there’s a big misconception that you can find everything about your family history with one click of the mouse. Truth is, only a very small portion of records have been digitized and are available on the internet. You still need to visit the Archives to find the records you may have been missing. We have births, marriages, and death records. You can look through probate files, deeds, orphans court records, tax assessments, apprentice indentures, Bible records, family histories and church records. Why not take a minute and view our Collection Gateway to see if you can find any of your relatives? Stop in and see us. We would be happy to talk to you and show you the records you may have been missing.


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The Road to Appomattox: Union Soldiers and Trench Warfare, 1864-1865

Written on: May 24th, 2017 in Blog PostsDelaware HistoryEvents at the ArchivesResearch Room

During the last year of the American Civil War, the main Union and Confederate armies in Virginia were engaged in trench warfare, a method of combat that was far different from the first three years of the conflict. On Saturday, June 3, at 10:30 a.m. the Delaware Public Archives will host a program presented by Dr. Steven E. Sodergren of Norwich University that will examine the experiences of soldiers in the Army of the Potomac, including several Delawareans, during the last year of the Civil War. What motivated these men to see the conflict through to victory and how did these soldiers react to the escalating bloodshed of the war? The program will also focus on how Americans adapted to the changing forms of warfare during this era.

Steven E. Sodergren earned his doctorate in American and Military history from the University of Kansas in May 2006. While in graduate school, he received a General Matthew Ridgeway Research Grant from the Military History Institute in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and a Dissertation Fellowship from the U.S. Army Center of Military History for his work on combat soldiers in the American Civil War. Sodergren is currently Associate Professor of History at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont and Coordinator of the Studies in War and Peace degree program there. Sodergren’s first book, The Army of the Potomac in the Overland and Petersburg Campaigns: Union Soldiers and Trench Warfare, 1864-65, will be published by Louisiana State University Press in June 2017.

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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Rediscovering Delaware Artist Stanley Arthurs

Written on: April 19th, 2017 in Blog PostsEvents at the ArchivesResearch Room

On Saturday, April 29, 10:30 a.m., Delaware Public Archives and Delaware Division of the Arts will present a program at the Archives building titled “Rediscovering Delaware Artist Stanley Arthurs.” Presented by author James C. Thompson, the program will focus on the contributions made to the art of illustration by Stanley Arthurs, one of Howard Pyle’s most able protégés. In the nearly eight decades since his death, Arthurs has drifted out of the public memory. The presenter will discuss Arthurs’ life and resurrect the artist to his rightful place by discussing the scope of his career and his connection to Howard Pyle. The backdrop for his comments will be one of Stanley Arthurs’ most memorable works, The First Day of Peace, which Arthurs painted in 1923 and is on display at Delaware Public Archives.

A former resident of Wilmington, Delaware, James C. Thompson is the author of numerous publications, including his latest book PAINTING AMERICA’S PORTRAIT – How Illustrators Created Their Art. A graduate of University of Virginia, Thompson’s presentations have appeared on CSPAN’s History Channel and other television and radio programs. The speaker has also presented lecture series for continuing education programs at University of Virginia, College of William & Mary, George Mason University, and University of Delaware.

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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The War to End All Wars: A Look Back at World War I

Written on: March 21st, 2017 in Blog PostsDelaware HistoryEvents at the ArchivesResearch Room

Picture of poster titled "Buy War Bonds Poster", 1918. (Delaware Public Archives)

Buy War Bonds Poster, 1918. (Delaware Public Archives)

The year 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I. On Saturday, April 1, 10:30 a.m. Henry J. Foresman will present a program at the Delaware Public Archives that will examine the political and diplomatic reasons why America decided to send troops to support the allied war effort. This presentation will provide an overview of America’s contribution to the allied military operations in Europe and will explore the life of the American soldiers who were sent to France to fight in “the war to end all wars.”

Henry J. Foresman, Jr. is a retired Colonel in the United States Army, having served 33 years on active duty. He is now Director of the Washington Office of the Third Army and has served in his current position at the Pentagon since May 2012. His responsibilities include the coordination and interaction with Department of Defense and Army Staff and Agencies on behalf of the Commanding General Third Army. Other major responsibilities include the Administration of Office; Budget Management; and Congressional interaction.

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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Underutilized Records for African American Genealogy

Written on: January 25th, 2017 in Blog PostsEvents at the ArchivesPhotographsResearch Room

Photo of The Wedding Party of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence West

The Wedding Party of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence West

On Saturday, February 4, at 10:30 a.m. Shamele Jordon will present a program at the Delaware Public Archives titled “Underutilized Records for African American Genealogy.” This presentation will go beyond census and vital records to show how to transcend the brick walls of African American research. Records created by the federal and county governments, organizations, employers and insurance companies will be examined. Other collections that will be discussed include mortgage records, Freedmen’s Bureau, Underground Railroad, and fire insurance maps.

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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