State of Delaware - Search and Services/Information

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Services and Information
Delaware Public Archives

Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Do you perform title searches or land research for patrons?
  2. Do you perform census research for patrons?
  3. How do I request my birth or marriage certificate?
  4. How long will it take to receive a response to my inquiry?
  5. I have an old stock certificate; can you tell me if the company is still in existence?
  6. I know my ancestor was born, died or was married in your state.  In the reply to my request you responded that you did not find a record, why?
  7. What are your fees?
  8. What photographic records does the archives have, and how can I obtain copies?
  9. What services do you provide via email?
  10. Who can I call about my application for DAR/SAR/Colonial Dames?
  11. How do I obtain student records?
  12. What if I have an emergency request?
  13. How do I request a copy of my pardon?
  14. Where do I get a copy of my divorce decree?

 

  1. Do you perform title searches or land research for patrons?

    The research room staff cannot undertake this type of research for patrons.  We encourage patrons to visit our facility to perform this type of research.  If you are unable to make an on-site visit we suggest that you utilize a source for research assistance.

  2. Do you perform census research for patrons?

    The research room staff cannot undertake this type of research for patrons.  We encourage patrons to visit our facility to perform this type of research.

  3. How do I request my birth or marriage certificate?

    Our holdings contain birth records older than 72 years and marriage records older than 40 years. If you were born after 1940 or married after 1972 you need to contact the Office of Vital Statistics at (302) 744-4549 (http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/ss/vitalstats.html).  If you were born or married before these years, please contact us directly using our contact formto obtain a certified copy of your certificate(s).

  4. How long will it take to receive a response to my inquiry?

    The rate at which we respond to inquiries depends primarily on the amount of requests we receive.  The more requests we receive the longer it will take for us to respond.  In most cases we respond within a week or two; however, we may take up to one month to respond.  We ask patrons not to resubmit a request until 30 days have passed.  To ensure a faster response, we suggest that you carefully read our  help page.

  5. I have an old stock certificate; can you tell me if the company is still in existence?

    To find out if a company is still incorporated in the state of Delaware, you need to contact the Division of Corporations.

  6. I know my ancestor was born, died or was married in your state.  In the reply to my request you responded that you did not find a record, why?

    Prior to 1913 the state of Delaware did not strictly enforce any law to require the registration of births, deaths, or marriages.  Our vital records prior to this date are incomplete.  If a record is not found, this does not indicate that the event did not occur in this state.  It only indicates that the event was not recorded in any of the sources we have indexed.  You may wish to search for the information here at our archives using other sources. 

  7. What are your fees?

    We do not charge patrons a search fee.  If a document is found for a patron's request, we will send a price quote for obtaining copies. 

  8. What photographic records does the archives have, and how can I obtain copies?

    The Delaware Public Archives has over 800,000 photographs in its collections. These images date from the 1850s to the present (the majority are from the 1920s to the 1990s) and include views of most aspects of Delaware life.

  9. The best way to use our photograph collections is to come to the Archives so that the images can be viewed. First review the collection descriptions and finding aids or ask staff which collections might contain the images in which you are interested. From the finding aids, select photographs that you would like to see, complete a Records Request Form, and the staff will pull the photographs for you.

    If a researcher is unable to come to the Archives, they can contact us by mail, phone, or the contact form with specific requests. Staff are unable to do more than minimal research to answer requests. A few photograph collections are on our website: http://archives.delaware.gov/exhibits/photograph/index.shtml.

  10. What services do you provide via email?

    The research room staff will undertake searches of our vital and probate records for patrons.  We encourage patrons to use our on-line probate and naturalization indexes before placing a request.  Please see our help page for information on how to place a request.  The research room staff will not search any other collections but can provide copies if complete references are provided by the patron.

  11. Who can I call about my application for DAR/SAR/Colonial Dames?

    Requests for genealogical purposes or for application to the Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution, Society of Colonial Dames, or other such institution must be submitted via the contact form or mailed to the street address. The Delaware Public Archives can not handle these requests over the phone.

  12. How do I obtain student records?

    Student records are exempt from the freedom of information act and as such are closed to all but the individual student. To request student records, you must first contact the school directly. Each request for student records must include a signed release form (available from your school or on our public forms page) from the student allowing the records to be released. The Delaware Public Archives does not have any student records for Private Schools. If you attended Dover AFB School, Wilmington High, William C. Jason, Henry C. Conrad, Pencader, or El Shaddai, please contact us via our contact form.

  13. What if I have an emergency request?

    For an Emergency Request* please call (302) 744-5000. You will be transferred to an archivist on duty. *Emergency Requests are defined as: Requests for copies of Vital Statistics Certificates in our holdings (Birth Records older than 72 years, Marriage or Death Records older than 40 years) or other state records that are required immediately due to a time-sensitive situation (i.e. impending legal proceeding, international travel, cruise, pension issue, or social security application).

  14. How do I request a copy of my pardon?

    The research room staff can supply you with a copy of your pardon if you provide us with your name at the time of the pardon, the year of the pardon, and the Governor that granted your pardon. The cost is $10.00 for each request.

  15. Where do I get a copy of my divorce decree?

    Divorce records are obtained from the county where the divorce was granted.

    For Divorces from 1975 to the present please contact:

    Kent County
    Family Court
    Records Section
    400 Court Street
    Dover, DE 19901
    Diane McAllister
    (302) 672-1045

    New Castle County
    Family Court
    Divorce Unit
    500 N. King Street
    Wilmington, DE 19801
    Mary Mitchell
    (302) 255-2610

    Sussex County
    Family Court
    Divorce Section
    22 The Circle
    Georgetown, DE 19947
    Heather Morton
    (302) 855-7463

    For Divorces from 1974 and prior please contact:

    Kent County
    Prothonotary
    Kent County Court House
    38 The Green
    Dover, DE 19901
    Annette Ashley
    (302) 739-3184 x 111

    New Castle County
    Prothonotary
    Superior Court
    500 N. King Street
    Wilmington, DE 19801
    (302) 255-2265

    Sussex County
    Delaware Public Archives
    121 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd North
    Dover, DE 19901
    (302) 744-5000