The Wilmington Library has microfilm of the local newspapers going back to 1871. We will search any of our newspapers for obituaries back to 1871 for you.

The information we require:
• For Deaths from 1871 to 1960 – Name and exact date of death (day / month / year).
• For Death from 1960 to present – Name and date of death (minimum of month/year, but an exact date is preferred).

**Feel free to add any other information that you have that might assist us in the search. For example, if the person died while serving in the military, was the owner of a business, or died under tragic circumstances, please include it.

Please make your request in writing only to the following address:
Reference Department
The Wilmington Library
Post Office Box 2303
Wilmington, DE 19899-2303

The cost for searching, printing and mailing each obituary requested is $5.00. There is a limit of three names per request. Note that the $5.00 charge is payable even if we are unable to locate the obituary.

For Example:
John Delaware $5.00
Jane Delaware $5.00
Joe Delaware $5.00
Total: $15.00

Please enclose your check, in the appropriate amount, with your request. Checks should be made payable to “The Wilmington Library.”


The following are some places that you can look for a date of death.

  1. Ancestry Library Edition – Can only be accessed in the Library from a Library computer.  (You must come to the library in person to search this database.)
  2. Delaware Index:
    The Librarians at the Wilmington Public Library have indexed the major news stories from the local newspapers back to 1922. From 1922-1977, this database exists in card file form. Please contact the Reference Department to see if your family name is listed.
    From 1989 – to the Present: Search the Library’s online catalog. Please do an advanced search and change the Library from “Any Library” to “Newspaper Index.”  To use the Delaware Room, please see our Delaware Room Policy.
  3. Delaware Public Archives: Learn about the Archives’ holdings and how to obtain information. The DPA has vital records (birth and death records), Civil War records, probate records and more. Access online photographs of Delaware and information about the photographic collection.
  4. Diocese of Wilmington: One can search Parish Sacramental Registers. “Baptismal and Marriage registers of older parishes of the Diocese of Wilmington through the year 1900.”
    One can also search for area deaths and search records by surname. The Diocese also maintains a Catholic Cemeteries Burial Database.
  5. Family Search for births, deaths and marriage dates.
  6. Find A Grave: Search over 97 million grave records.
  7. Historical Society of Delaware: Research Delaware history by using the resources available from the library. HSD runs the Delaware History Museum, Old Town Hall, Willingtown Square, and the Read House & Gardens. Learn about HSD’s services, exhibits, and hours.
  8. News Journal Online: You will need your Library card and PIN number to search this online database of the local newspaper from 2002 to the present.  Click on Magazines & Newspapers  to find “News Journal Online.”
  9. University of Delaware Library Resources: Genealogy Discover genealogy resources at the University of Delaware.
  10. Veterans Records:
    National Archives is the official repository for records of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard and other government agencies.
  11. Register of Wills:
    New Castle County Register of Wills provides a free, online database.
    The NCCo Register of Wills offers other services for genealogists. Their records go back to the 1600’s for New Castle County.
    Kent County Register of Wills – contact information:
    Sussex County Register of Wills: List of recent “Register’s Order”
  12. The history of Delaware newspapers by the University of Delaware.