The Wilmington vital records do not have a history section.

The original record of the Births, Marriages and Deaths in Wilmington, prior to the year 1843, are contained in one volume, the binding of which was in a very poor condition, the leaves of which were loose and much worn on the edges. In 1895, it was decided to have the records copied, and I undertook the work, and on Jan. 1, 1896, I had copied all contained in the three volumes of the Births, Marriages and Deaths from 1730 to 1896. In March, 1897, it was voted to have additions made to the record of Deaths "which were very incomplete," from gravestones and family records and that the records should then be printed.

I carefully examined the stones in the two cemeteries from which I secured about four hundred additional records, (these are marked with an asterisk*) which with those kindly furnished by individuals from family records, makes the Death Record appear more complete when compared with the record of Births. In the system here employed no index as such is used or needed. The surnames are all grouped and arranged in alphabetical order and under such surname the christian names follow chronologically. There is no repetition of the surname with each entry in the Births and Deaths, and the word Son and Daughter are represented by the abbreviations "s." and "d." In the Marriages, each record appears twice; once under the name of the man and again under that of the woman.

To fully realize the amount of labor in a work of this kind, a person must have some experience. To take the entries from the original and insert them in their proper alphabetical and chronological place, to then check off and verify the same requires care and patience. I have taken great care to guard against error, but I would not assert that it is entirely free from a mistake of any kind, but what to some will appear as an error will be found an exact copy of the record as the Town Clerk received and entered it, and any person who discovers such an error should apply to the clerk and have the same record corrected under an Act of the Legislature of 1897, Chap. 444, entitled, An Act relative to the Registry and Returns of Births, Marriages and Deaths.

JAMES E. KELLEY

A general guide to how to use these pages.

If you are new to this site, or haven't used the site a lot, please be sure to read the rest of this page. Even if you have used this site a lot, a refresher may be helpful due to the changes that have been introduced.

You can research the records alphabetically or chronologically within surname. Images of the pages from which the transcriptions were done, and the title pages, are available for most towns. A list of abbreviations used is available.

Alphabetic - This is the most common way that the published vital records were presented. All of the same given names were arranged chronologically with names that had middle initials or middle names followed the others. Nicknames would appear alphabeticall according to the spelling, i.e. Nabby, the nickname for Abigail, would be with the names beginning with the letter "N."

In this version, the names are sorted based on the most common spelling. Abbie, Abby, Abigail, Knabby, Nabby, etc., will all appear together and will be chronological. Middle initials and middle names have no influence on the order.

Note: There are going to be errors in the indexing of the names. A woman named Abiel may have been recorded as Abby. The indexing will have her with the Abigails. Please notify me with the Contact page about errors and they will be fixed within a couple days.

Chronologic - The chronologic sort will be most helpful with surnames having lots of entries, especially births. Records that had a missing date, or part, have had the missing portions replaced with zeros and will appear ahead of the others.

Page images - The icon at the left of each record is a link to the image of the page from which the transcription was done. The transcriptions are a tool. The image is the source. It is your responsibility to copy the image for your documentation. Also, the title page should be copied. There is a link to the title page in the navigation bar on transcription pages and image display pages.

Abbreviations - Each town had its own abbreviations used in the published records. Most of these are the same. The abbreviations for the headstones (GR), private records (PR), churches (CR), etc. are all different. There is a link to a list of all abbreviations used for the town in the navigation bar of the transcription pages.

Errors - There are two types of errors.

  • Errors in the published records - It is known that errors are in the published records. Not many, to be sure, but they are there. Where I have found them, or have been informed and provided sufficient documentation, the records have been annotated. This appears in red at the end of the line.]
  • Transcription errors - Even with the best of proofing, errors occur. If you find one, use the Contact link at the top of the page and tell me about the error. I need to have the town name, type of record, page number, what the error is and what it should be. It facilitates matters if you copy and paste the record in error into the e-mail.

Miscellaneous - As the opportunity has provided, I have tried to research names that had only initials or an initial and a surname to find the full names. Where I've been successful I've added the name in red, i.e. J.R. appears as J[ohn] R. or J[ohn] R[ussel].

The alphabetic and chronologic sort orders and many planned improvements require that towns be transcribed. If you can spare two, or more, hours per week to help with the transcribing, write me.

With the exception of the few people helping with transcribing and indexing, I am the only person working on this project. I do all of the technical work. I correct errors. I put transcriptions into final format. I design the pages. This takes a tremendous amount of time and money. If you find this site useful, please donate what you think it is worth to you by going to the donations page.