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Delaware: Local History & Genealogy Resource Guide

Compiled by reference specialists at the Library of Congress, this guide identifies key print and online resources for pursuing family history, as well as state, county and municipal historical research, for the state of Delaware.


T. G. Bradford et al., cartographers. Delaware. 1838. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

The first known inhabitants of Delaware were the Lenni Lenape and the Nanticoke. Their descendants today comprise the federal Delaware Tribe of Indians and Delaware Nation, both now based in Oklahoma, and the state-recognized Nanticoke Indian Association and the Lenape Indian Tribe of Delaware and the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape of New Jersey, as well as the Stockbridge Munsee of Wisconsin, and the Moravian Delaware Nation of Ontario Canada.

Beginning in the 1630s, colonial governments were established, for varying lengths of time, by the Dutch, the Swedes, the Dutch again, and the English. In 1682, the "Three Lower Counties" of what is now Delaware became part of Pennsylvania until the Revolutionary War.

Delaware became a state in 1776. In 1787, it became the first state, and the first of the 13 original colonies, to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

This guide offers a selection of resources and strategies for Delaware local history and genealogy research. These include the print and digital collections of the Library of Congress, as well as external repositories and web sites key to finding forebears in the "First State."

About Local History & Genealogy Reference Services

The Library of Congress has one of the world's premier collections of U.S. and foreign genealogical and local historical publications, numbering more than 50,000 compiled family histories and over 100,000 U.S. local histories. The Library's genealogy collection began as early as 1815 with the purchase of Thomas Jefferson's library.