Delaware Public Records
Delaware’s Freedom of Information Act is the Delaware Freedom of Information Act, Delaware Code Title 29, Chapter 100. Rather than a single law, this is actually a collection of laws that guarantees that the public has access to the public records created, collected, and maintained by governmental bodies. According to these laws, public records are defined as any type of information that is made, used, owned, retained, received, composed, produced, drafted, or otherwise collected or compiled by any public body.
In addition, the Delaware Open Meeting Law, which is part of the Delaware Freedom of Information Act, and it provides for access to open meetings. This part of the law defines government bodies and public meetings. Those meetings must be held in a public place within geographic jurisdiction of the public body.
There are exemptions to the open records law. These exemptions include: trade secrets; personnel, medical, and pupil files; current police investigations; personal or private criminal records; adoption information; criminal intelligence information; child custody information; anonymous charitable contributions; labor negotiations; concealed weapon permits; public library records; any record exempted from disclosure by statute or common law; military discharge documents; emails of the Delaware General Assembly and their staff; and records that could result in a security risk to either individuals or infrastructure. Meetings that are exempt from the open meetings law include: criminal investigations; attorney-client meetings or discussions; employee evaluations; real estate transactions; collective bargaining; and student disciplinary hearings.
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Public & Vital Records for Counties in Delaware
More About Delaware
Delaware, is the second smallest state. It has the 6th smallest population. Delaware is located in the Mid-Atlantic and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Delaware River, the Delaware Bay, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. The largest city is Wilmington. The state is small enough that it only has three counties, which is the smallest number of any state. Delaware is a relatively affluent state. Its largest employers are the government, education, banking, chemical industry, pharmaceutical industry, technology, healthcare, agriculture, and retail. Its small size and proximity to larger states mean that Delaware has a relatively transient population, which means that if you are running a background check on someone in Delaware you may want to check nearby states.
Public Records in DE
There are a number of different public records for Delaware that are available online. You can get access to some criminal records, property records, and vital statistics. Like most states, it does not maintain a central repository for public records.
Like most other states, Delaware has different types of property records. These records can be broken down into three categories: tax records, land records, and deed records. The type of record refers to what information you can find in the record. Tax records, as their name suggests, looks at the amount of taxes/tax rates on specific parcels of property, whether taxes have been paid, and the property owner of record. Land records describe the transfer of land from the government to the first owner. Deed records discuss private conveyances of land from one to the other.
You can find colonial land records for Delaware at the University of Delaware’s Library in its Genealogy/Land Records section. These records can become somewhat complicated because Delaware was governed by the Dutch, the Swedes, and the English. In addition, property that is currently in Delaware may have been in Delaware, Pennsylvania, or Maryland according to its historical classification.
Property Tax Records
Property tax records are handled at the county level, but in many counties you can find that information available online at the county’s webpage. In fact, the printable versions of the tax bills available online even breakdown the taxes so that taxpayers can see what their taxes are supporting.
Delaware handles its land records through the local recorder of deeds and you will need to look at the records in the county where the property is located to find records of transmissions of the land between private owners.
Delaware Vital Records
The Delaware Office of Vital Statistics is responsible for maintaining those kinds of records known as vital records or vital statistics. For the State of Delaware, these records include birth and death records. Records of marriages and divorces are often considered vital records, as well, and they are not maintained by the Delaware Office of Vital Statistics, as are Veterans Certificates.
You can request birth records from the Delaware Division of Public Health. You may need to establish your right to obtain those records, including proving a relationship to the person named in the birth certificate. You can request them in person at three different locations in the state or by mail.
Delaware’s death certificates are available online from the Delaware Division of Public Health. You can request them by mail or from one of three different locations.
You can request marriage certificates in person or by mail. The three locations where you can request these certificates are in Dover, Newark, or Georgetown.
You can find copies of divorce records in Delaware through the State of Delaware Family Court system. To request them in person you need to stop by the Records Department in the county in which the divorce or annulment was granted. To request them in person, you have to send a written request to the Records Department in the county in which your divorce or annulment was granted.
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DE State Agency Websites
- Attorney General
- Birth Records
- Business Entity Records
- Crash Reports
- Criminal Records
- Death Records
- Divorce records
- Driving Records
- Election Related Records
- GED and HiSET Records
- Incarceration Records
- Legislation and Statutes
- Marriage Certificates
- Sales Tax Registration
- Sexual Offender Registry
- State Archives
- State Judicial System
- UCC Records
- Vehicle Records
- Watercraft Records
- Workers Compensation