New Series: Links to Digitized U.S. County Histories: Delaware, The First State

UPDATED

Do you use county histories in your genealogy research? I remember the “old days” when I drooled with delight finding the county history I needed n the library shelf.

Through the years, I’ve spent many hours perusing shelves looking for that one special county history.

With the explosion of genealogically related items that are now digitized and viewable online AND the fact that county histories were most popularly written in the late 19th and early 20th centuries – meaning those books are now out of copyright – I’ve likely spent as many, or even more hours perusing the internet for those volumes.

One item I’ve always wished to discover is a database of all American county histories that have been digitized. that hasn’t happened, so I’ve decided to create it myself, as I think many researchers will find it invaluable.

There are two people who provided my inspiration for taking on this project –  one from pre-internet days and the other from the modern world of technology.

First is Mr. (Percy)  William Filby (1911-2002), author of A Bibliography of American County Histories, published in 1985 by Genealogical Publishing Company. I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Filby at a California genealogy conference; he did genealogists a wonderful service by compiling all those titles into one handy reference book.

My second inspiration is Katherine R. Willson, who compiled and regularly updates the Genealogy on Facebook list.

I’ve already begun compiling county history titles and searching for digitized versions of the books. My plan is to post links, state by state, at least once per week. The smaller states will not be much work, but as you know, many American states have a LOT of counties in them.

States will be covered in random order. That way, someone hoping for a Wisconsin list won’t have to necessarily wait until 48 other states have been completed!

When counties from all fifty states have been completed, I will post a PDF of the links.

Each state compilation will include this description:

While every county in the state is listed, links are only provided for titles that no longer fall under U.S. copyright laws. All links connect to free websites. There are a few instances when a book has been digitized, but is only found on a paid site. In that case, no link is inserted, but a note as to the website where it has been found is given. When a state history has also been found in digital format, it is listed in the STATE section that precedes the county list. I have limited STATE entries to those with county histories/biographical volumes in them. There are a number of counties that DO have histories written, BUT they remain copyrighted material. Therefore, if a county has NONE after its name, it doesn’t mean there is no county history, just that none has been digitized. It’s also possible that the only digitized county history is included in one of the state volumes, so be sure to check those entries. If the book is on FamilySearch, you will need a free account to access it. This list does NOT include town histories. One last note – it is very possible that a book is digitally available on more than one website. I’ve only included links to one site per book.

I chose Delaware as the first state to research for a couple of reasons. I’ve recently been researching for ancestors in Kent and New Castle Counties and there are only three counties in the state, making it an excellent first example to share with you.

I think because Delaware has only three counties, individual county histories weren’t published. The state volumes covered them.

DELAWARE

STATE: History of the State of Delaware, Volume I, Henry Clay Conrad, Self Published, Wilmington, Delaware, 1908.
STATE: History of the State of Delaware, Volume II, Henry Clay Conrad, Self Published, Wilmington, Delaware, 1908.
STATEHistory of the State of Delaware, Volume III, Henry Clay Conrad, Self Published, Wilmington, Delaware, 1908
STATEDelaware, a history of the first state, Volume 1,  H. Clay Reed & Marion Bjornson Reed, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, New York, c1947.
STATEDelaware, a history of the first state, Volume 2,  H. Clay Reed & Marion Bjornson Reed, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, New York, c1947.
STATEDelaware, a history of the first state, Volume 3,  H. Clay Reed & Marion Bjornson Reed, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, New York, c1947.
STATEA history of the state of Delaware : from its first settlement until the present time, containing a full account of the first Dutch and Swedish settlements, with a description of its geography and geology, Francis Vincent, J. Campbell Publishing Company, 1870
STATEHistorical and biographical encyclopaedia of Delaware, Aldine Publishing and Engraving Company, Wilmington, 1882. (Reprint 1972)
STATEHistory of Delaware, 1609-1888, Volume 1, John Thomas Scharf, L.J. Richards & Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1888.
STATEHistory of Delaware, 1609-1888, Volume 2, John Thomas Scharf, L.J. Richards & Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1888.
STATE – *History of Delaware, past and present, Volume 1, Edwin Melvin Williams & Wilson Lloyd Bevan, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, New York, c1929. *Not found.
STATEHistory of Delaware, past and present, Volume 2, Edwin Melvin Williams & Wilson Lloyd Bevan, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, New York, c1929.
STATEHistory of Delaware, past and present, Volume 3, Edwin Melvin Williams & Wilson Lloyd Bevan, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, New York, c1929.
STATE History of Delaware, past and present, Volume 4, Edwin Melvin Williams & Wilson Lloyd Bevan, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, New York, c1929.

KENT – History of the Baptists in Delaware, Morgan Edwards & Horatio Gates Jones, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Volume 9, 1885.
NEW CASTLE – NONE
SUSSEXSome Records of Sussex County, Delaware, Charles Henry Black Turner, Allen, Lane & Scott, Philadelphia, 1909.

If I’ve missed a county history, please leave a comment and let me know.

One state finished – only 49 more to go!

 

 

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