Institutional records are another class of collections that should be part of one’s genealogy research repertoire. Although most of your ancestors may not have spent time in an institution, I’ll bet that almost every family tree has several that have. So they are worth your effort to research.
Here are a few good primers for searching institutional records:
- FamilySearch – Institution and School Records
- Finding Your Ancestors in Poor House or Poor Farm Records
- Researching Ancestors in Asylums
What kind of institutions and types of records can we discover?
- Poor Farm
- Orphan Train
- Mental Hospital
- Institutional School
- Correctional institutions
Acquiring records from each of these types of institutions may be difficult because of privacy concerns, but they are worth the effort.
Below you will find free online institutional records you can use to help you discover more about your relatives who have spent time in an institution.
Note: Some of the links listed take you to a FamilySearch Collection of digital images. Near the bottom of the page under Film/Digital Notes is the name of each sub-collection. If there is a camera icon at the right of the name (in the Format column) then the collections’ images are browsable. If there is a camera with a key icon, it is only available at a Family History Center or affiliated library. If there is a film reel icon, then it is only available in microfilm format, not digital. To take full advantage, please make sure that you are logged in to FamilySearch. The results may be different if you are signed in, rather than not.
Delaware Free Online Institutional Records
- Delaware Orphan Court Records, 1680-1978
- Delaware, Delaware State Hospital for the Insane 1930 Index of Prisoners, Surnames A-J
- Delaware, Delaware State Hospital for the Insane 1930 Index of prisoners, Surnames J-Z
- Delaware, supplemental census schedules for the defective, dependent, and delinquent classes, 1880
- Delaware, World War I Selective Service System draft registration cards, Prisoners, Insane, In Hospitals, 1917-1918
- Kent County, 1880 Poor House Census
- Kent County, Alms House Cemetery
- Kent County, Kent County Jail 1930 Index of prisoners
- Kent County, Saint Josephs Industrial School Cemetery
- New Castle County, Delaware State Hospital Cemetery
- New Castle County, New Castle County Hospital Cemetery AKA Farnhurst Potters Field Cemetery
- Newcastle County, Ferris Industrial School
- Sussex County, 1850 Census, including Poor House
- Sussex County, Alms House and County Farm Cemetery
- Sussex County, Stockley Center Cemetery
For all Free Delaware Links, click on the category of interest:
Probate and Wills