New York, which was also known as New Netherlands at one point, included what is now New Jersey in colonial times. In 1664, the Dutch surrendered to England. A year later, Governor Philip Carteret took leadership of the newly-organized British colony of New Jersey.

A group of English Quakers gained some New Jersey land from Lord Berkeley in 1676, which left the colony split into the Quaker land and the land governed by Governor Carteret. In 1702, the area transitioned into a united crown colony under the Royal Governor of New York. Then, in 1738, New York and New Jersey finally became separate colonies. Governorship of New Jersey was given to Lewis Morris.

When the American Revolutionary War took place, New Jersey became a focal point in the war, because it was centrally located between Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New York City.

Getting Started with New Jersey Genealogy and Family Trees

How to Search for New Jersey Genealogy Information – Known as the “Garden State”, New Jersey is also a place that is associated with early America, the Revolutionary War, Native American tribes, tons of early immigration, and so much more. It is a place that has a naturally high demand for genealogical materials, and this article is going to introduce you to the best ways to search for New Jersey genealogy data.

Resources for New Jersey Genealogy Materials – Let’s just start this brief discussion with one simple fact – you may have to plan a visit to New Jersey to do some of your research. This is not bad news because the state is full of fascinating, fun, and unique places to explore. When you are beginning a search for New Jersey genealogy materials, however, it can be frustrating to be unable to find things online.

Though many relevant organizations are digitizing collections, archives, and records, at a fast pace, not all have started the process. This is the reason that people looking for New Jersey genealogy information may be able to find the things they need right through a computer, or they may have to plan a visit. What this means is that anyone doing research for New Jersey genealogy will want to discover which resources will lead them to the information they need.

The Modern System for New Jersey Genealogy – Most research begins with public records, since these are the most readily available online resources for New Jersey genealogy. They are normally divided between the following types of categories:

  • Local Records – state genealogy research will usually begin with a county clerk’s office or website, and will go on to the local genealogical societies, small local libraries, historical societies, and school or college libraries for New Jersey genealogy materials. These are items that are usually offline and viewable by appointment or special arrangement.
  • Vital Records – these are records for births, marriages, divorces and deaths from county, state, and national archives. They also include military records, immigration and naturalization details, cemetery or obituary information, census records, newspaper items, and passenger lists and records as well. These tend to be available as online or offline resources for New Jersey genealogy.
  • State Records – from probate information to private manuscripts, surname lists, newspapers, state census information, marriage details, military or veterans information, land records, maps, estate information, genealogical folders, death records, deeds, birth certificates, cemetery information and more; these are available as online and offline resources for New Jersey genealogy.

Effective Sources for New Jersey Genealogy – Rather than steering researchers towards really general sources for New Jersey genealogy, we have provided some of the most effective sources for New Jersey genealogy below:

  • State of New Jersey, Department of Health and Vital Statistics – online only at: .
    This is where you can order birth, death, marriage and divorce records via a written request or even online.

Additional state and local records can be found at the:

  • NJDARM, New Jersey Division of Archives and Records Management, 225 West State Street, P.O. Box 307, Trenton, NJ 08625-0307;
    Website: . The genealogical page at this website is really a treasure trove for New Jersey genealogy research. From many place name tools, vital records, estate records, military details to naturalization documents, land records and more – this page is going to give a researcher a lot of details.

Finally, these websites provide a tremendous amount of state-specific details to those in search of facts for New Jersey genealogy projects.

New Jersey Ethnic Group Research


  • New Jersey African American Books (
  • David Steven Cohen, comp., New Jersey Ethnic History: A Bibliography (Newark, N.J.: New Jersey Historical Society, 1986), lists over 600 books, articles, and theses, covering African- Americans, Cubans, Dutch, Germans, Hungarians, Irish, Italians, Japanese, Jews, Native Americans, Portuguese, Quakers, and Swedes. Another interesting but controversial work by Cohen is The Ramapo Mountain People (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1974).
  • Theodore F. Chambers, The Early Germans of New Jersey (1895; reprint, Lambertville, N.J.: Hunterdon House and Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1982), has information on non-German families as well as northwestern New Jersey, but it must be used with great caution.
  • Dennis J. Starr, The Italians of New Jersey: A Historical Introduction and Bibliography, New Jersey Historical Society Collections, vol. 20 (Newark, N.J.: New Jersey Historical Society, 1985), discusses the largest ethnic group of the state and is helpful for finding other sources on the subject.
  • Clement Alexander Price, comp. and ed., Freedom Not Far Distant: A Documentary History of Afro-Americans in New Jersey, New Jersey Historical Society Collections, vol. 16 (Newark, N.J.: New Jersey Historical Society, 1980), is based heavily on original source material. One WPA project highlighted records of Afro Americans: Transcriptions of Early County Records of New Jersey: Gloucester County Series: Slave Documents, prepared by Gloucester County Historical Project (Newark, N.J.: Historical Records Survey, 1940).
  • Herbert C. Kraft, The Lenape: Archaeology, History, and Ethnography, New Jersey Historical Society Collections, vol. 21 (Newark, N.J.: New Jersey Historical Society, 1986), is a study of the so-called Delaware Indians who lived in what are now New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New York. In an earlier work, William Nelson compiled a reference work, Personal Names of Indians of New Jersey (Paterson, N.J.: The Paterson History Club, 1904), listing 650 names, mostly from seventeenth-century deeds.
  • New Jersey Native American Books (

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