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Delaware, Wilmington Vital Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: Delaware, Wilmington Vital Records, 1847-1954 .
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Record Description[edit | edit source]

The records consist of vital records and indexes from Wilmington, New Castle County, Delaware. Some of these records may be duplicated in the New Castle County registers. The records include:

  • Births (1881-1919)
  • Marriages (1881-1954)
  • Deaths (1881-1954)
You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Delaware, Wilmington Vital Records, 1847-1954.

Coverage Map[edit | edit source]

To see a coverage map of FamilySearch's holdings of Delaware marriages, click here.

Record Content[edit | edit source]

The following may be found in the birth records:

  • Child’s name
  • Child’s sex
  • Birth date
  • Birth place
  • Registration date
  • Race
  • Parent’s names
  • Parent’s address
  • Parent’s birth places
  • Father’s occupation

The following may be found in the marriage records:

  • Full name of bride and groom
  • Marriage date
  • Marriage place
  • Residence or address of bride and groom
  • Age of bride and groom
  • Groom’s occupation
  • Birth place of bride and groom
  • Parents of bride and groom
  • Number of marriage for bride and groom
  • Officiator

The following may be found in the death records:

  • Name of deceased
  • Death date
  • Death place
  • Age or birth date
  • Marital status
  • Cause of death
  • Occupation
  • Birth place
  • Name of parents
  • Surviving spouse
  • Race
  • Last known address
  • Informant’s names
  • Informant’s residence

How to Use the Record[edit | edit source]

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • Name
  • Identifying information such as the event date or the names of family members

Search the Collection[edit | edit source]

To search the collection by name fill in your ancestor’s name in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about those in the list to what you already know about your own ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.

If you did not find the person you were looking for, you may need to search the collection by image.
⇒ Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒ Select the "Record Type, Date Range and Volume" which takes you to the images.

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

With either search keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life.
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

Using the Information[edit | edit source]

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information about them. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. For example:

  • Use the birth date along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.
  • The father’s occupation can lead you to employment records or other types of records such as military records.
  • The parent’s birth places can tell you former residences and can help to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.
  • Use the parent’s birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.

Tips to Keep in Mind[edit | edit source]

  • Occupations listed can lead you to employment records or other types of records such as military records.
  • The name of the officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other counties.
  • Compile the marriage entries for every person who has the same surname as the bride or groom; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Continue to search the marriage records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the bride and groom who may have married in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • It is often helpful to extract the information on all children with the same parents. If the surname is unusual, you may want to compile birth entries for every person of the same surname and sort them into families based on the names of the parents. Continue to search the birth records to identify siblings, parents, and other relatives in the same or other generations who were born in the same county or nearby.
  • The information in vital records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from record to record.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?[edit | edit source]

  • Check for variant spellings of the names.
  • Check for an index. There are often indexes at the beginning or end of record collections. You may also want to check with a local historical or genealogical society as they often create indexes to local records.

General Information About These Records[edit | edit source]

Statewide registration of births began in 1861, was discontinued in 1863, then resumed in 1881 and was generally complied with by 1921.

Delaware counties began keeping marriage records as early as 1832. These records have been transferred from the counties to the Delaware Public Archives. These early county marriage records are not available at the Family History Library; however, the library has records of some pre-1847 marriage bonds. State registration of marriages began in 1847 and was generally complied with by 1913. The Family History Library has microfilm copies of the marriage bonds for 1744-1836 and 1855-1861, and licenses for 1889-1894. You can obtain marriage records for the most recent 40 years by writing to the Bureau of Vital Statistics. For marriages recorded more than 40 years ago, contact the Delaware Public Archives.

Marriages of Delaware residents may also be recorded in adjoining states, such as Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Although some deaths were recorded as early as 1855, state registration of deaths officially began in 1881 and was generally complied with by 1890.

The Delaware Bureau of Vital Statistics has death records for the most recent 40 years. For deaths recorded over forty years ago, contact the Delaware Public Archives.

Birth and deaths were recorded to better serve public health needs. Counties in Delaware recorded marriages to safeguard the interests of the wife and other legal heirs by documenting marriages and property ownership.

Vital records are considered to be primary source records. Information in these records is usually reliable, depending on the knowledge of the informant.

For a summary of this information see the wiki article: United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records).

Related Websites[edit | edit source]

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Related Wiki Articles[edit | edit source]

How You Can Contribute[edit | edit source]

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Historical Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.


Citations for this Collection[edit | edit source]

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection Citation:

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.



Image Citation
This template has been deprecated and is no longer used.

When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Delaware, Wilmington Vital Records, 1847-1954.