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Genealogy: Obituaries & Newspaper Articles

Questions about Delaware Newspapers

The University of Delaware Library receives many questions about finding obituaries and other articles in newspapers, especially Delaware newspapers. This guide provides several resources to answer these questions.

Resources Available at the UD Library

indicates a licensed (subscription) database. Only UD faculty, staff, and current students can access the database off campus.

Other libraries/institutions may have these same resources, check your local libraries.

Abstracts: Genealogical Information in Delaware Newspapers

Notice in Pennsylvanische Geschichts- Schreiber. From Genealogical Data Relating to the German Settlers of Pennsylvania and Adjacent Territory: From Advertisements in German Newspapers Published in Philadelphia and Germantown, 1743-1800

Old newspapers contain a lot of personal and community information. You may find notices of births, marriages, and deaths, notices placed by persons seeking news of relatives and friends, information about people arriving in and moving away from the Pennsylvania area. Also there are advertisements for runaway servants or slaves, missing heirs, outstanding debts, and many other items of interest.

Search Free Online Sources

Subscription Resources

These databases are available by subscription. Most offer a limited trial access. Many of these are available in libraries; check your local library.

Wilmington Public Library

Interlibrary Loan Service

If your library does not have the resources you need, use the Interlibrary Loan service to get the article you need.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a library to library resource sharing network. Libraries borrow and lend materials for their library users.

Because this is a library to library service, you should submit your request at your library, which for many people is their public library. Fill out a request, giving all the information you know. That library will contact a library that has the newspaper you need, which might be the UD library.

In your Interlibrary Loan request, include your person's name, the date (at least within a week), the page number or section:

Depending on staffing and policies, the library that is contacted may send the reel of microfilm or may copy the article and send it to you.

If you do not have specific information:

The library that is contacted might send your library the reel of microfilm matching your approximate dates.

Social Security Death Index

Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is a database of people whose deaths were reported to the Social Security Administration beginning about 1962.

Note: federal restrictions enacted in March 2014 required that newly reported deaths not be made available in the public version of the Social Security Death Index for three years after the individual's death.

Contacts for "Lookups"

Free:

There are volunteers who will find obituaries or other articles for you. The more information you have, the better. Without a death date, it is unlikely that anyone can locate an obituary for you.

Fee:

Genealogical societies in the area you are searching. They may have lists of local volunteers or professional researchers.

Subject Librarian

Rebecca Knight
Associate Librarian
Reference and Instructional Services Department
Morris Library, Room 117H

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