They were the first state to ratify the United States Constitution in 1787, and so Delaware holds a special place in American history. Anyone who has relatives from Delaware can trace their roots back to the origins of the country.
Official Delaware death records started in 1913 but there are less official sources of information going back at least a hundred years more. If you need access to pre-1913 information, you will want to head to the Delaware Public archives in Dover. Their collection of historical documents can provide a great deal of information. They have microfilm copies of older death records that were made in individual towns and county registers. The indexes can help you search but it can take awhile with these old archives. If you can't get to Dover, you can call them to make a search for you but there is a charge and they typically quote a fee when you first ask. They only search through indexes, so don't expect staff to sift through books on your behalf.
For any records newer than 1913, you can go to one of the Vital Statistics offices in Delaware. The main one is in Dover but there are also locations in Newark and Georgetown. You can go to any of them for in-person requests but only the Dover office handles mail-in applications for Delaware death records. The form to make a request (http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/ss/files/death.pdf) is at the Delaware Health and Social Services website and it contains the current fees as well as the addresses for all three records offices. The main one is at Jesse S. Cooper Bldg, 417 Federal Street, Dover DE, 19901 USA.
Just send them the form along with your fee, which is $25 USD (non-refundable). They don't accept credit cards, so you have to sent a check or money order that has been made out to the Office of Vital Statistics. To identify the deceased you are searching for, you'll need their name, place of death, date of birth and death and their parents names (if known). As with most archive requests, the more information you can provide, the better.
You will be able to request any Delaware death record that is more than 40 years old, due to the state privacy laws. For a record more recent than that, you must be an immediate relative to the person on the record and will have to provide proof of such on your application. Relations that qualify would be child, parent, sibling or spouse.
Aside from the usual name, date and place of death and age of the deceased, you may also get other information but the details will vary from town to town. You might also learn about the deceased's occupation at the time of death, where they were buried, their parent's names and possibly their marital status as well. Whether you get a short one, or find a new treasure trove of information is just the luck of the draw.
To request a copy of a Delaware death record, you will need to:
Complete the Delaware Death Certificate form and print out.
If you need to establish your eligibility, gather any records needed. You will also need to include a copy of your state-issued photo ID with your request.
Return the application by mail or in person with the $25 processing fee. A portion of this fee goes to aid distressed cemeteries.
For more information or assistance with accessing Delaware death records, you will want to contact the Office of Vital Statistics at:
Delaware Office of Vital Statistics
Delaware Health and Social Services
Division of Public Health
Jesse S. Cooper Bldg.
417 Federal St.
Dover, Delaware 19901
How To Obtain Delaware Death Records
Access to Delaware death records can be obtained online, in person, by mail, and by phone. Keep in mind that there may be extra processing time or extra fees depending on the method that you select.
How to Place a Request for Death Records
Delaware death records can be ordered by phone, mail, in person, and online with the completed application and appropriate fees.
Restrictions to Obtaining Death Records
You must be the child, parent, spouse, legal guardian, or have other legal authority to be able to access Delaware death records. Proof of your identity will be required when you make your request.