Research in New Jersey Archives, Libraries, Publications, Historical & Genealogical Societies

It is advisable to acquaint yourself with just about any repository in New Jersey that you might check out by contacting to the proper archive or library before you proceed.

Most, if not all, New Jersey repositories have written and published materials that show its collections and research policy.

New Jersey archives and historical institutions also have Internet sites that supply identical content. Many even include down-loadable sources for some or parts of their collections.

New Jersey Archives

  • Department of State Division of Archives and Records Management ; Bureau of Archives and Records Preservation State Library Bldg, 185 West State Street, CN-307, Trenton, NJ 08625-0307;  The New Jersey State Archives has many of the basic research materials for the state, such as federal and state census records; probate, land, and court records; newspapers; and vital records. Mail requests are accepted for some of the collections and require a $2 fee for each item requested, in addition to copying charges.
  • Department of Special Collections and Archives, Rutgers University Library, New Brunswick, NJ 08903 ; Perhaps the best published collection of New Jersey material, Rutgers also has a wealth of manuscripts, including the collections of the Genealogical Society of New Jersey.
  • Monmouth County Archives, 125 Symmes Drive, Manalapan, NJ 07726; (732)-308-3772
  • Salem County Archives and Records Management, 164 Salem, Woodstown Road, Salem, NJ 08079; 856-935-7510 X8550

New Jersey Museums

New Jersey Libraries

  • New Jersey State Library, State Library Building, 185 West State Street, CN-520, Trenton, NJ 08625-0520; The New Jersey State Library has essentially the published complement to the New Jersey State Archives, including genealogies, histories, periodicals, guide books, maps, atlases, and indexes. Its collection, however, is stronger for the southern and central parts of the state than for northern New Jersey. There are also newspaper clipping files, phone books, directories, and folders of material and correspondence arranged by family name, as well as microfilms of the federal and state censuses. The state library is one of the two depositories for the state’s DAR collection.

New Jersey Periodicals

Genealogical periodicals will offer you a number of sources of information, they are often overlooked by family history and genealogy researchers and genealogist in seeking for family history. Many regional and county genealogical and/or historical societies issue periodicals that have records pertaining to the region or locality they serve. Sometimes these publications provide articles involving records which aren’t obtainable somewhere else.

  • The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey , was introduced in 1925 by the Genealogical Society of New Jersey and has carried many cemetery marker inscriptions, county marriages, tax lists, church records, and other source material, but only a little compiled genealogy. Kenn Stryker-Rodda produced four volumes of a Given Name Index, covering the first fifty volumes of the journal (Cottonport and New Orleans, La.: Polyanthos, and Lambertville, N.J.: Hunterdon House, 1973–82), and Donald A. Sinclair compiled a subject and author index to the first thirty-five volumes, published by the genealogical society in 1962. See also Elizabeth M. Perinchief’s Index to Cemetery Transcriptions, Baptismal, Burial, Church and Marriage Records in the Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey through 1980 (Mount Holly, N.J.: Burlington County Library, 1981).
  • The New Jersey Historical Society Journal , was first issued in 1845 as Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society, comprising ten volumes through 1866. From 1867 to 1895, thirteen volumes were issued with the designation Second Series; from 1896 to 1915, ten volumes were published as the Third Series; and from 1916 to 1966, eighty-four volumes comprised the New Series. The journal was retitled New Jersey History in 1965 but continued the volume numbering from the New Series of Proceedings. A subject index to the first thirty-six volumes published 1845–1919 was printed in volume 5 of the New Series (1920). Basic genealogical material was dropped from the publication after 1951, but earlier there were many excellent features, including source records and genealogies.
  • The New Jersey Genesis , was published in twenty volumes from 1953 to 1973 and included source records (some of which were published elsewhere), queries, and other material. An index compiled by the New Mexico Genealogical Society was published in 1973
  • The Jerseyman, published in Flemington in eleven volumes from 1891 to 1905. It included church records, genealogies, and local history, mostly for Hunterdon and bordering counties
  • The Somerset County Historical Quarterly, was published in eight volumes from 1912 to 1919 and has been reprinted by Hunterdon House (Lambertville, N.J., 1977–89) A Subject-and-Author Index to this quarterly, by Donald A. Sinclair, was published by the Genealogical Society of New Jersey in 1991. The quarterly’s most valuable contents were source records, especially Dutch church records, and some of its coverage was devoted to Hunterdon County. The now-defunct Somerset County Genealogical Quarterly is excellent for its source material.
  • The Vineland Historical Magazine, begun in 1916 and concerning Cumberland County
  • Cape May Magazine of History and Genealogy, begun in 1931

New Jersey Historical & Genealogical Societies

For almost every state there is a state genealogical society, a state genealogical council, or both. Along with their own work, New Jersey groups occasionally help coordinate the efforts of local societies within the New Jersey. Their specific publications, newsletters and quarterlies, supplement those provided from the area societies.

New Jersey Newspapers & Publications

New Jersey Genealogical publications (magazines, newsletters, periodicals, books, etc.) consist of all sorts of beneficial facts pertaining to individual ancestors, entire lineages and families, places in time, and regarding all types of genealogical records and repositories. They allow you to uncover a abundance of information and facts about your ancestors from many historical newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals. These different kinds of resources can frequently supplement public records and offer you information and facts that is not documented anywhere else. Here, one can learn much more concerning your ancestor’s possible every day activities by putting them in the framework of their time.

Books

Newspapers – New Jersey newspapers can provide all types of evidence about historical occasions, local history, court and legal notices, obituaries, and much more.

In 1775, the first New Jersey newspaper was published. A five-volume published set called "New Jersey Archives," 2d series (Trenton, N.J., 1901-17) contains extracts from that paper and another early New Jersey paper as well. More were published in Thomas B. Wilson, Notices from New Jersey Newspapers, 1781-1790 and 1791-1795 (Lambertville, N.J.: Hunterdon House, 1988, 2002). An Index to Central New Jersey Newspapers was compiled by Michael Brown. It included listings of meetings, land purchases, accidents, injuries, marriages, and deaths from 1783 to 1881. researches should look at William C. Wright and Paul A. Stellhorn, eds., Directory of New Jersey Newspapers, 1765- 1970 (Trenton, N.J.: New Jersey Historical Commission, 1977) in order to locate specific newspapers from the state.

The state library, state archives, Rutgers University, and the New Jersey Historical Society all have their own collections of newspapers from the state. The New Jersey Historical Society also has a card file of deaths and marriages that were extracted from those newspapers, as well as from some church records and from the Rutgers collection called Hutchinson Collection of New Brunswick Newspaper Extracts (1792-1865). Another good index of birth, death, and marriage records from newspapers can be found at the Gloucester County Historical Society. The "New Jersey Archives," 1st series contains 11 volumes that include extracts about New Jersey from 1704 to 1782 that were published in newspapers outside of New Jersey.

The Gloucester County Historical Society and other southern New Jersey repositories contain some fairly in-depth manuscript collections. The New Jersey State Archives also has a small collection, which was covered in Historical Records Survey, Calendar of the New Jersey State Library Manuscript Collection (Newark, 1939). Rutgers is home to the Charles Carroll Gardner Collection, which contains a lot of information on families in Essex County. Researchers should also examine the following collections:

  • Charles E. Sheppard at Vineland
  • John P. Dornan files at Rutgers
  • The Freeman Gardner collection on early Woodbridge families at the New Jersey Historical Society
  • The Hiram E. Deats collection at Flemington for Hunterdon County.

A lot of information can also be found at the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, including the Gilbert Cope Collection. The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society and the New York Historical Society are also home to collections that contain information on New Jersey residents. Some of those collections are the John E. Stillwell collection, the Josephine C. Frost collection, and the Alfred Vail collection.

Further Reading

  • New Jersey Historical Manuscripts: A Guide to Collections in the State (Trenton, N.J.: New Jersey Historical Commission, 1987) is a general guide to 263 repositories. While a little outdated, it is still useful.
  • Guide to the Manuscript Collections of the New Jersey Historical Collection, New Jersey Historical Society Collections, vol. 15 (Newark, N.J.: New Jersey Historical Society, 1979) is also somewhat dated, but includes family and personal papers as well as a wealth of other useful material.
  • A Guide to the Manuscript Collection of the Rutgers University Library (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1964) can be a useful starting point to this impressive collection, to which much important material has been added since.