These are links to online resources, including digitized texts and image collections. Many of the links are to PDF versions of old books, which can be searched online and downloaded. Whether you’re trying to trace your Delmarva ancestors or researching the history of your neighborhood, these resources will probably be extremely helpful. For links to blogs and other websites about Delmarva history, see Links.
- The Churches of Delaware by Frank R. Zebley. Brief histories of nearly 900 churches, some of which have vanished entirely. Free PDF file.
- History of Delaware, 1609-1888, Volume I [General history], by J. Thomas Scharf. An oft-cited but imperfect history of Delaware. Free PDF file.
- History of Delaware, 1609-1888, Volume II [Local history], by J. Thomas Scharf. Contains detailed information about all of the communities in Delaware. Especially helpful when searching for information about a particular church, or the earliest settlers in an area. Free PDF file.
- The Land-Holder’s Assistant, and Land-Office Guide, by John Kilty. Published in 1808, this extremely detailed history of land use in Maryland includes the conditions of plantation at various times, instructions given to surveyors, and rules concerning patents and resurveys.
- Pomeroy & Beers Atlas, 1868: Detailed maps of Delaware’s hundreds showing roads, and — perhaps most helpful to researchers — the locations of houses and the names of their owners. Note that the map of Broad Creek Hundred includes the Gumboro area, as Gumborough Hundred was not established until 1873.
- Map of Talbot County, with farm limits, 1858: An impressive map which not only identifies landowners, but also depicts property boundaries.
- Atlas of the State of Maryland, 1873: Fairly detailed maps of Maryland’s counties including many roads and other features. Also shows parts of Delaware in considerable detail. Walling, Martenet, and Gray.
- Map of Caroline County, 1875: Isler’s map of Caroline County, which shows the locations of houses and the names of landowners.
- Atlas of Cecil County, 1877: Detailed maps of districts showing the locations of houses and the names of their owners. Lake, Griffing, and Stephenson.
- Atlas of Talbot and Dorchester Counties, 1877: Detailed maps of districts showing the locations of houses and the names of their owners. Lake, Griffing, and Stephenson.
- Atlas of Wicomico, Somerset, & Worcester Cos., 1877: Detailed maps of districts showing the locations of houses and the names of their owners. Lake, Griffing, and Stephenson.
- Historic Aerials by NETR Online: Despite the name, this site features topographic maps as well as aerial imagery. The images are heavily watermarked (which is understandable, since the point is for people to buy them), but the viewer helpfully allows one to quickly shift between different topographic maps and aerial images for the same neighborhood. This is a good way to see how roads have changed and structures have come and gone over the years.
- USGS Historical Topographic Map Collection (TopoView): A somewhat more complicated viewer that offers free topographic maps without watermarks.
- Delaware aerial photography, 1937 – present: The University of Delaware’s GeoExplorer features a base map from MapQuest and aerial overlays.
- Maryland aerial photography, 1930s – 1950s: Collection of aerial photographs, arranged by county, hosted by Johns Hopkins University.
- Sussex County Tax Parcel Map: A map viewer hosted by the county government, featuring information about each piece of property and its current owner(s).
- FINDER Online: A very user-friendly map viewer hosted by the Maryland Department of Planning, which offers multiple layers of information about any property.
- Delaware’s Cultural and Historical Resources Information System (CHRIS): This wonderful map viewer is a work in progress, but already shows the locations of numerous historic properties and associated documentation and photographs from previous cultural resource surveys. Many photos are from the 1970s and 1980s.
- Ancestry.com: The Google of genealogical records, but beware of user-submitted family trees which don’t cite sources.
- FindAGrave.com: A large and growing database of cemetery records and photos submitted by site users.
- Free African Americans: An extremely useful compilation of records pertaining to free blacks and mulattoes (and to a lesser extent, Indians), plus analysis of numerous families.
- Nabb Research Center: The Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture at Salisbury University provides a variety of online resources in addition to its impressive library, which is open to the public.
- Plats.net: The State of Maryland’s searchable database of plats, including most colonial land records, organized by county. Records for Somerset and Worcester Counties include patents for many tracts now located in Sussex County, Delaware.
- MDLandRec.net: The State of Maryland’s searchable database of deeds and other land records. Most records from the 1960s or 1970s to the present can be viewed in their entirety, while indices are available for older records.
- Plat Plotter: A fun, free app for plotting survey information on a map and/or satellite imagery background provided by Google Maps.
- The Happy Map-Maker: Baltimore and Harford County land research by Mike Pierce. Includes tract maps and other resources.