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hundred is not known with certainty. It is generally believed that years ago, in the Old World, territory was divided into areas large enough to contain one- hundred residents or families for the purpose of defense or local government, and that these areas became known as hundreds. The term was brought here in 1682, when William Penn divided the counties of Delaware into geographic areas, calling them hundreds, for the purpose of taxation. Although the term was also used in neighboring counties in Maryland and Pennsylvania, Delaware is today the only one of the original colonies to use this ancient term to describe the subdivisions of its counties.

Knowing the name of the hundred your house is in is necessary information for accessing many legal documents. In New Castle County, beware that prior to about 1832 Wilmington was part of Christiana Hundred, and, until 1875, there was no Blackbird Hundred. The area now known as Blackbird Hundred was part of Appoquinimink Hundred until that date, when the population of Appoquinimink Hundred had boomed and a new hundred, Blackbird Hundred, was created.

• A Note on Money: If you are paying close attention to the value through the years of the property being sold, you should note that until about 1800 the monetary system was English, and deeds reference the pound, shilling, and pence.

Where to Find Deeds

The place to go in most situations is the Recorder of Deeds in Wilmington. There, deeds are kept in books on shelves lining one side of the room. Older deeds are on microfilm. Indices to the deeds are located on tables in the middle of the room. You can also find early deed records (1660s to about 1850) at the University of Delaware on microfilm (microfilm number S334, grantor index S334.1, and grantee index S334.2). Deed records are also available in Dover at the State Archives. However, it might be a better use of your time to look at deeds in Wilmington or at the University of Delaware, and save your time in Dover for investigating other sources described in this guide.

Deed Records available at RD, UD, DSA


GRANTOR = Seller of Property

GRANTEE = Purchaser or Buyer

DIRECT INDEX = Index of Grantors

INDIRECT INDEX = Index of Grantees