Looking for Your 18th Century Ancestors in Rural America

(Dover, DE) On Saturday, August 1 at 10:30 a.m., Kim Bucklaw of the Chester County Archives and Chester County Historical Society will present a program at the Delaware Public Archives about searching for one’s ancestors in 18th century rural America. This program will show how to use timelines along with a variety of records (taxes, deeds, court records etc.) to solve family mysteries. Effectively placing your ancestors in time and location using these alternative methods and sources can be an invaluable skill for family researchers. This workshop will have information for genealogists of all skill levels.

With more than 12 years of research experience, Kim Bucklaw currently serves as the Assistant Archivist and the primary genealogical researcher for the Chester County Archives and Chester County Historical Society in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Ms. Bucklaw has a master’s degree in American History from Temple University and holds certification from the Academy of Certified Archivists.

The workshop is free to the public and will last approximately one hour. No reservations are required. For more information, contact Sarah Denison (302) 744-5016 or e-mail sarah.denison@delaware.gov.

For more information about the Delaware Public Archives or to learn more about events and other items of interest at the Archives:

The Delaware Public Archives is located at 121 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard North in Dover. The Mabel Lloyd Ridgely Research Room is open to the public Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. On the second Saturday of every month the research room is open from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

The Delaware Public Archives (DPA, archives.delaware.gov), an agency of the State of Delaware, is one of the oldest public archives programs in the United States. DPA serves the citizens of Delaware by identifying, collecting, and preserving public records of enduring historical and evidential value; ensuring access to public records for present and future generations; and advising and educating interested parties in the creation, management, use, and preservation of public records.

DEMA Director Jamie Turner Announces His Retirement — Aetna Fire Chief AJ Schall Named As His Successor

Today Lewis D. Schiliro, Delaware’s Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security, announced the retirement of Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) Director Jamie Turner and the appointment of his successor, Aetna Hose Hook and Ladder Fire Chief Abel J. Schall Jr.

“Jamie Turner has dedicated much of his life to the service of our citizens. His impact on our public safety community extends beyond his years as DEMA director. He has touched hundreds of firefighters as an instructor at the Delaware Fire School and as DVFA Executive Secretary. He has served his community of Clayton as a member of the fire department since 1966. The citizens of our great State are forever grateful for his commitment to public safety,” said Governor Jack Markell.

“After 13 years of protecting the people and visitors to Delaware, we owe Jamie a great debt of gratitude for his long-standing public service as he moves toward retirement,” said Schiliro. “AJ Schall, who will succeed Jamie, has the experience and stands ready to take over the reins at DEMA to ensure the continued safety of Delawareans.”

Schall began his public safety service more than 20 years ago as a volunteer with the Kane County Office of Emergency Management in Illinois. He continued his public safety service when he relocated to Delaware and joined the Aetna Hose Hook and Ladder Company in 1999. He is currently Chief of Aetna Hose Hook and Ladder and has served at the helm since 2013.

“As a member of our public safety community for more than two decades, AJ has responded to countless emergencies often providing lifesaving aid to our citizens. The wealth of experience and knowledge gained as a fireman, certified emergency medical technician and incident commander will prove invaluable as he leads our State emergency management agency,” said Governor Jack Markell.

As Chief, Schall currently oversees and manages 10 full-time firefighters and emergency medical technicians, 30 part-time firefighters and EMTs and more than 80 active volunteers. He has held many other leadership positions at Aetna Hose including Captain, Assistant Chief, Deputy Chief and Safety Officer.

“AJ brings the expertise and experience needed to lead DEMA, coordinate with our county and municipal emergency management officials, and partner with FEMA. He is well respected within the public safety community and is a proven leader with the skills necessary to handle an event that could impact our State,” said Secretary Schiliro.

He has served as incident commander for several large emergency incidents including the Interstate 95 MCI/tour bus crash with entrapment, a semi-truck accident with 20 million bees, and a tornado response to the Robscott Community.

Schall has received multiple awards in his time with Aetna, including Top 10 Responder for multiple years and the Valor Award in 2000 after he and two other firefighters were momentarily trapped in a townhouse fire in Pike Creek. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from St. Ambrose University and has earned numerous fire officer and fire instructor certifications from the National Fire Professional Association.

“I’m truly excited and honored to be part of a team devoted to the Safety and Homeland Security of our State. I look forward to the opportunity to lead DEMA in its day-to-day operations and work with our public safety partners,” Schall said.

In addition to his role as Aetna fire chief, Schall has been employed by Bank of America since 1998. He will begin at DEMA on August 24, 2015.

Delaware Secretary of State Announces Administrator for E-Notary Service

Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey W. Bullock today announced a partnership with Veroha, Inc., taking the first step toward enabling electronic notarizations nationwide, using a single, secure platform. By creating a cloud-based authentication system endorsed by the State, this partnership will enable third party technology providers to promote widespread adoption of e-notary solutions to their clients anywhere in the US.

“Delaware’s electronic notary initiative builds on our reputation as the Corporate Capital of the United States and our continuous efforts to provide businesses with innovative, flexible and efficient corporate and legal services,” said Secretary Bullock. “Now, businesses can achieve digital signature authentication more efficiently, securely and reliably than the paper-based process that has been used for centuries.”

Under Delaware law, electronic notarizations may be performed anywhere in the nation by electronic notaries registered in the state, including employees of banks, mortgage lenders, insurance companies, federal agencies and law firms. Since the law was enacted, the State has worked with Delaware-based Veroha to develop a secure, cloud-based platform to enable electronic notarizations and assign a unique number to each notarial act. After years of development, testing and auditing by third parties, the e-notary system is now ready.

Veroha will partner with Notary Technology Service Providers (or “NTSPs”) such as digital document solutions companies, mortgage lenders and other high volume notary users interested in embedding Delaware e-notary services within their existing commercially-available e-signature and notarial systems. Businesses will be able to connect to Veroha’s electronic platform through a document management company using an industry standard application programming interface, or API.

“Veroha’s platform will save time and money by allowing banks, law firms, government agencies and other organizations to incorporate electronic notarizations seamlessly into their current workflow,” said Tom O’Connell, a member of Veroha’s senior leadership team and president of global technology services company and Veroha partner, AIS. “Our platform works with existing document solutions and without the need for additional software.”

Electronic notarizations offer businesses many advantages. Because hard copies are no longer required to authenticate a signature, companies no longer need the expense, inconvenience and risk associated with warehousing paper documents. Furthermore, unlike paper documents, digital documents cannot be altered after they are notarized electronically. This “non-repudiation” feature is a safeguard against fraud and has many applications beyond the traditional use of notarization for legal documents.

“More than a million legal entities and 55% of all publicly-traded companies in the United States have chosen Delaware as their legal home,” said Rick Geisenberger, Delaware’s Chief Deputy Secretary of State. “These companies conduct business around the world, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to work with best-in-class service providers to provide these businesses with a secure and innovative solution to signature authentication.”

For more information and for document management and e-signature companies, banks, mortgage lenders and others interested in becoming an NTSP, please visit www.veroha.com. As NTSPs are vetted by Veroha and approved by the State, contact information will be posted at www.notary.delaware.gov for electronic notaries interested in registering with the State of Delaware.

For questions regarding Delaware notary rules and laws, please visit www.notary.delaware.gov or e-mail the State at notary@delaware.gov.

Would You Be Covered If Your Home Flooded?

Would You Be Covered If Your Home Flooded?

Commissioner Stewart Offers Tips on Flood Insurance


DOVER, DE – According to Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), more than 331 square miles, or 17 percent, of Delaware’s land mass is within a high risk flood zone, including more than 18,000 structures statewide. Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners offer the following information to help you get smart about your flood insurance options.


Many people don’t know that a standard homeowners or renters insurance policy almost never covers damage to your home or its contents due to flood waters. If your home were to flood tomorrow, would you be covered by your insurance? Do you even know your home’s risk potential for a flood? Before you can decide what sort of coverage you may need, you need to know your risk.


To learn about your home’s risk for flooding visit our Flood Insurance webpage, http://delawareinsurance.gov/departments/consumer/flood.shtml, which has links to county-specific flood maps from DNREC and links to additional maps from FEMA.


Just because you don’t live near a body of water doesn’t mean that you’re safe from flooding. According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), floods are the number one natural disaster in the U.S., and consumers outside of high-risk flood areas may account for more than one in five flood insurance claims. The NFIP helps communities understand their risk by providing flood maps. Risk levels are divided into three categories:


  • High-risk areas have at least a 1 percent chance of flooding annually. All homeowners in these areas with mortgages from the federally regulated or insured lenders are required to buy flood insurance.
  • Moderate-to-low-risk areas have less chance of flooding annually, but the possibility is not completely removed. Flood insurance in these areas is not required, but it is recommended for all property owners and renters.
  • Undetermined-risk areas are where flood-hazard analysis has not been conducted, but a flood risk still exists.

So if you’re at risk, are you covered? Generally, homeowners insurance does not offer protection against flood losses. You should check your policy under “exclusions.” If coverage for flood damage exists, it will probably be listed under “water damage.” Contact your agent or insurer to find out more about what your current policy covers.


While some private companies offer flood insurance, most flood insurance in the U.S. is backed by the federal government under the NFIP. It may be purchased through licensed property and casualty insurance agents or through many private insurance companies. Typically, there’s a 30-day waiting period from date of purchase before a policy goes into effect. There are also eligibility restrictions to qualify for National Flood Insurance. Please contact the NFIP with eligibility questions at (800) 427-4661 or visit the NFIP’s website, www.floodsmart.gov.


The standard flood insurance policy covers direct physical damage to your insured property up to the replacement cost or actual cash value of damages, or the policy limit of liability, whichever is less. It covers structural damage, including damage to the furnace, water heater, air conditioner, flooring and debris clean-up. Coverage for basements, crawlspaces and ground-level enclosures on elevated homes is limited, so talk to your agent about any restrictions in your policy. The contents of your home are not covered under a standard flood insurance policy.


Flood insurance generally covers damage caused by hurricanes, rivers, and tidal waters extending over at least two acres. Flood insurance covers overflow, inland or tidal waters, and unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters of any source. The flood must be a general and temporary condition. Flooding from wind-driven rain entering through a wind-damaged window or door, hole in a wall, or the roof is typically not covered by a flood policy, but is generally included in most homeowners policies.



The Delaware Department of Insurance mission: Protecting Delawareans through regulation
and education while providing oversight of the insurance industry to best serve the public.


For Immediate Release

Media Inquiries? Contact:  Jerry Grant at (302) 674-7303

Governor’s Weekly Message Transcript: Building on Our Efforts: 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Twenty-five years ago, the landmark American with Disabilities Act helped spur a transformation in the way of life for millions of our citizens. Educational and government programs, building access, transportation and adaptive technology have all helped many individuals with disabilities achieve a far greater quality of life. While we celebrate our progress, we have more to do to ensure people with disabilities reach their potential. That includes recognizing that too many are unemployed, despite untapped talents that are valued in the marketplace. Earlier this week, I joined U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez and former U.S. Senator Tom Harkin to commemorate the anniversary of the ADA and talk about ways to build on recent momentum to increase job opportunities. We have seen states and businesses show that hiring people with disabilities is good for the bottom line, improving our workforce while increasing financial independence for these new employees. Delaware and other states are following the blueprint of a National Governors Association initiative I led – increasing job training services as well as other programs that help young people transition from high school to a job. IT firms SAP, CAI, and others are working with Delaware-based Specialisterne to employ hundreds of people with autism in the next few years. They join an ever-growing list of companies, including Walgreens, Microsoft, Bank of America, Chase, and Highmark that recognize that people who may not have gotten a chance before are often best-qualified for many jobs. Over the past twenty-five years, we have made great strides in fostering an environment that is welcoming and supportive of individuals with disabilities. By building on our efforts to create a more inclusive society we will keep Delaware and our country moving forward.