Attention: Researchers who wish to perform research on-site may make an appointment by calling (302) 744-5000 or e-mailing More Info logo

Delaware Public Archives (DPA) logo

Date Posted: Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Katie Hall, reference archivist

Summer is flying by faster than a gull searching for a French fry on the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk.

Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk (Purnell Collection)

So far this summer, we’ve had researchers visit us from at least FIFTEEN different states! Are you still planning a trip to the Delaware Public Archives to research with us this summer? If so, here are our Top 10 Tips to make the most of your visit.

1. Visit Our Website

Our website has a wealth of information that can help you plan to make the most of your visit. The section of our website devoted to the Mabel Lloyd Ridgely Research Room lists our address, contact information, hours of operation, rules and regulations, and other helpful items.

2. Do Your Homework
Are you planning to research probates, maps, photographs, naturalizations, coroner’s reports, apprentice indentures, or orphans court records during your visit? If so, you can search indexes to some of most popular collections on our online Collection Gateway before coming to see what records we have relating to your research interests. Are you searching for a specific type of record or a particular subject? Search our Online Guide to the Collection to read series descriptions of related materials.

3. Make a Plan
Although browsing the collections in the Research Room can be a great way to spend the day, we recommend making a research plan based on records you found on the Collection Gateway or Online Guide to make the most of your time here. Print out or make note of the records that you would like to see while you’re in Dover to minimize the amount of time you need to spend before beginning to delve into the records.

4. Pack
Pencils, a notebook, laptop, tablet/ipad, magnifying glass, your research notes, a USB flash drive, and your reading glasses are all items that might come in handy while researching with us. It’s typically about 72 degrees in the Research Room, so if you get chilly in air conditioning, plan to wear a long-sleeved shirt.

5. Copy Cat
Unless you have a photographic memory, please plan to bring money for photocopies. Our fee structure for photocopies is as follows:
• Microfilm printer copies and manuscript/book copies: $.50 a page
• Computer print outs: $.10 a page
• Maps of Delaware Hundreds: $1.00 per map
• Architectural Drawings/Oversized maps: $3.50 a sheet

Payment is accepted in cash, check, or credit card (except for American Express).

Please note that we do not allow cameras or scanners in the Research Room. However, we do have two snazzy new microfilm scanners that let researchers scan and save digital versions of microfilmed records at no charge. Make sure you bring a USB flash drive with you!

6. Lock it Up

Don’t want to leave valuables in your vehicle while you’re researching, but not sure where to keep your laptop bag or pocketbook while you’re in the Research Room? The Delaware Public Archives provides quarter-operated lockers for researchers while they are in the Research Room to secure your belongings.

7. Snack Time
Bringing your lunch with you can save valuable research time, and munching on snacks in the lobby or on a shady bench on nearby Legislative Mall can also provide a much-needed burst of energy. There are also several nearby eateries that serve lunch if you need a break and a change of scenery.

8. Are We There Yet???
Planning to explore Delaware to find where your long-lost relatives used to live or are buried? Looking for something to do in the evening when the Research Room is closed? Bring a map or GPS device to help you uncover Delaware’s nooks and crannies. Kent County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Delaware Tourism are great resources for learning about tourist attractions, special events, and places to explore while you’re visiting our fine state.

9. You’re Never Fully Dressed without a Smile!
As we all know, genealogy research comes along with its share of frustrations. Our Research Room staff is top-notch, but please remember to pack your patience as we help you connect with those records you’ve traveled all the way to The First State to discover.

10. Be Social
Are you on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest? Do you read blogs or watch YouTube videos? The Delaware Public Archives has an active social media presence on all of these platforms. Check in with us often for the latest news on our holdings, our hours, and other goings-on.


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