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Genealogy- Old: Land Records



Wills, probates, deeds, and land records are sometimes included in the "Court Records" section of research guides.

Finding Books

Search by Keyword

  • deeds delaware
  • land records maryland

Search by Subject Keywords (prefix su:)

  • deeds pennsylvania chester
  • land grants [name of state]
  • land titles [name of state]
  • land tenure [name of state]
  • New Castle County delaware genealogy
  • delaware history  Colonial period sources
  • Milford delaware history
  • land tenure delaware  sussex county
  • dutch delaware river valley

Subject keyword retrieves only records that have those words in the subject description.

Use the prefix or go to the Advanced Search box.

Delaware or Not Delaware?

Colonial records for the Delaware area were created by the governing body at that time. The "three lower counties on the Delaware" have been governed by the Dutch, the Swedes, the Dutch, England under the proprietorship of James, the Duke of York, and England under the proprietorship of William Penn. Additionally,

due to boundary disputes, places may once have been in

in Delaware,

Pennsylvania, or Maryland.



"The Wedge" -- a small piece of land that has belonged to Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. Disputed until 1921. See article in Wikipedia.

Resources for Delaware

San Augustine, Texas, The register of deeds, 1943. Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection (Library of Congress)

The resources in this section give important land/deed resources for Delaware researchers.

Resources available in the Delaware Public Archives

Delaware Public Archives is the repository for official records (archival). Some records have been microfilmed. Many Delaware records are available in and Ancestry Library Edition. Important collections in Ancestry include:

Delaware, Land Records, 1677-1947
Delaware Death Records, 1861-1933
Delaware, Marriage Records, 1806-1933
Delaware, Birth Records, 1800-1932
Delaware, Marriage Records, 1744-1912
Delaware, Wills and Probate Records, 1676-1971
Sussex County, Delaware Probate Records, 1680-1800
Delaware, Naturalization Records, 1796-1959

Genealogy Resources at the University of Delaware Library

Family tree

Although not aimed at genealogy and family history, the collections of the University of Delaware Library (Morris Library) include materials useful to genealogists and family historians.

This Genealogy Research Guide is provided as a service for genealogists. It presents topics and resources to assist researchers.

The UD Library does not specialize in genealogy and does not have staff responsible for genealogy. Library staff cannot conduct research.

For questions about library resources and holdings, use the Ask the Library service.

For questions about getting research assistance, see the suggestions on the home page of this guide or on the topic/resources pages.

What Do These Words Mean?


The record of the passing of a land title from the government, or other proprietor, to the patentee/grantee. Also called "first-title" deed. After the first-title, any other changes in ownership are done by deeds and wills.


Seller of the land, also called "direct."


Buyer of the land, also called "indirect."

Typically, land records are indexed by Grantor and by Grantee.

Deed books

Copies of original documents. Usually arranged in chronological order. Many deed books have been microfilmed or scanned.


Survey map; legal description of the land.

State-Land States

States which granted their own lands.

13 original colonies (New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia)

Plus: Maine, Vermont, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, and Hawaii.

Public-Domain States

States where the federal government granted lands. Also called Public Land States.

General Land Office (GLO) Records Automation web site