New Jersey

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Discover you family history through historical newspapers at Newspapers.com
New Jersey

IMPORTANT UPDATE: SOME LINKS HAVE CHANGED. THE MAIN ARCHIVE PAGE HAS MOVED. I WILL UPDATE THE DESCRIPTION BELOW AS TIME ALLOWS. 

The New Jersey Division of Archives and Records Management gets five stars from me (here they are guys...★★★★★) for a terrific website, with a lot of digital content, great family history databases, and a clear, sensible, user-friendly arrangement.  

One of the first things you see when you visit the site is a link to Searchable Databases...How lovely (and how rare...few archives seem able to manage such a feat).  The databases are wonderful genealogical resources, and there is plenty here of more general historical interest as well:

There are several databases of census and vital records dating back to Colonial times:
  • Colonial Marriages, 1665-1799 
  • Index to Marriage Records, 1848-1878
  • Death Records, June 1878-June 1885
  • Passaic County and Atlantic City Census, 1885

There's even a very intriguing file of Legal Name Changes, 1847-1947, a wonderful family history resource, and something that more states should consider posting online.  Many of the name changes look to be attempts at Anglicization, like the 1919 change from Giovanni Di Guglielmo to John Williams.  


Other NJ databases, military and civil, are equally unusual:
  • Proprietary Warrants and Surveys, 1670-1727, which includes many of New Jersey's earliest land records.

  • Inventories of Damages by the British and Americans in New Jersey, 1776-1782 has records of restitution requests (never paid, apparently) for damages suffered by New Jersey citizens at the hands of both British and Colonial forces.  

  • Supreme Court Case Files, 1704-1844, with more than 54,000 cases.

  • William S. Stryker's Record of Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Civil War, 1861-1865, with 82,467 name entries.

  • Civil War Treasury Vouchers, 1861-1865 has more than 100,000 records of payments to soldiers for final pay, or to families of deceased soldiers, as well as for hardship.  
For all of the NJ Archives databases, you can easily access the information through name searches, or by searching on other parameters (county, city, regiment, and so on).  You can also order copies of the original records, although these images are not available online. 

The other major digital component of the NJ Archives are what they call the Imaged Collections, 4,600 images from the photograph and manuscript collections.   While this collection is not as robust or as user-friendly as the databases, it is still a worthy addition to online archives.   The topics covered here are:
  • Military Activities, Service Records and Portraits
    • including Civil War U.S. Colored Troops Service Files 

  • Historic Structures, Transportation and Public Works

  • Governors' Documents and Institutional Records
    • including Lindbergh Kidnapping

  • County Records
    • including Slave Records and Licenses

  • Family Papers

There is also a collection of Documentary Treasures, including NJ Constitutions, materials relating to the US Constitution, select NJ government documents, and Revolutionary War materials, including the original Treaty of Paris, which formally ended the Revolutionary War, and is certainly worth a look.  

Before leaving the Garden State, we should pay a visit to New Jersey Digital Collections archives at the NJ State Library.  These are harder to find, but still, well worth the effort.  

A very diverse set of documents are available here, as PDFs (two of them, the Registers of Revolutionary War and Civil War soldiers, were the basis for the NJ Archives databases by the same names): 
  • Afro-Americans in New Jersey
  • Annual Report of the Inspector of Factories and Workshops, 1883-1904
  • Battles and Skirmishes of the American Revolution in New Jersey
  • Bureau of Statistics of Labor and Industries of New Jersey Annual Reports, 1878-1917
  • Modern Forms of Municipal Governments
  • Corporations of New Jersey:List of Certificates to December 31, 1911
  • Guide to City Directories of New Jersey
  • History of the New Jersey A.M.E. Church
  • Morgan's History of the New Jersey Conference
  • Municipalities in New Jersey by County
  • New Jersey Constitutional Convention Proceedings 1947
  • New Jersey in the American Revolution 1763-1783: A Chronology
  • New Jersey in the American Revolution 1763-1783: A Documentary History
  • New Jersey Legislature 2000-2001
  • New Jersey Legislature 2002-2003
  • New Jersey's Revolutionary Experience
  • Official Register of the Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Revolutionary War
  • Report of the Attorney General's Task Force on Sovereign Immunity
  • Report to the Governer on the Subject of Tort Reform
  • Record of Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Civil War, 1861-1865
  • Report of the Study Commision on Parole
  • Trenton Illustrated
  • The Governers of New Jersey 1664-1974: Biographical Essays
  • The New Jersey African American History Curriculum
  • The Origin of New Jersey Place Names

More historical archives and research materials can be found at these excellent resources:

 Historical Newspaper Archives          Ancestry.com       

 Free Genealogy Tools                         US Historical Newspapers        

 European Historical Newspapers        International Historical Newspapers

Court Record Searches                        Public Records Searches 


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