Genealogist’s Guide

Genealogical Research at The New Jersey Historical Society
Genealogical research is just that, research — research that take genealogists from the Internet to libraries to courthouses and beyond. Although genealogy is not the only subject we focus on at the NJHS (a characteristic of many libraries), we have many resources that can assist the genealogist in his or her search. A list of the major collections and sources for genealogy at the NJHS library are listed below. For further assistance please consult our library staff at (973) 596-8500, ext. 249 or via email at

Cemetery Transcriptions
Epitaphs on cemetery gravestones can be useful in providing birth and death information for an ancestor and many times these epitaphs have been transcribed and indexed. Occasionally family relationships are also apparent (or can be explored further) from information on gravestones and their location next to other stones. Additional books of cemetery records can be found by using the card catalog in the reading room.

Index To Civil War Soldiers’ Graves In New Jersey
ca. 11,000 cards
Location: Reading Room (Index in Card Catalog; Records at Reference Desk)
Provides access to “New Jersey Regiment Infantry Volunteers – U.S. Civil War: Burial Records by County of Veterans Who are Buried in the State of New Jersey,” compiled by William Freck. Index by Richard Lum.

Cemetery Gravestone Inscriptions
20 manuscript volumes
Location: Reading Room Call# REF N 929.017 M815)
Cemetery inscriptions compiled by county (exclusive of Camden, Hudson, Hunterdon, Passaic, and Warren). An index for each volume is available.

Woodland Cemetery Card Index
Location: Reading Room
This index is an alphabetical listing of burials in Woodland Cemetery, Newark, from 1895 to the early 1980’s. The index contains the name, date of death, age, cause of death, address, plot size, and name of undertaker. The Library also holds the internment records for Woodland Cemetery (1855-1980) in one of the manuscript collections (MG 1230).

Census and Tax Records
The United States government began taking a census of individuals around the country starting in 1790 and still takes a census every ten years. Though statistics regarding the census are usually available about a year after the taking of the census, the population schedules that show the individual households in a town or city (and thus the most useful for genealogists) are released 72 years afterwards. Therefore, the 1790-1930 censuses are available for research (1930 being released in April of 2002), but no later schedules. In addition to the census, tax records were also taken and show at least the head of the household and the amount of taxes paid. In New Jersey, tax lists were kept before 1790 at various times depending on the area of the state.

Jackson, Ronald Vern. Early American Series; Early New Jersey, 1600-1819, Bountiful, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems, 1980. 2 vols.
Location: Reading Room Call# REF N 312 3 J1373

New Jersey State Census, 1855
Microfilm: 3 reels
Location: Cabinet W#1

New Jersey State Census, 1865
Microfilm: 4 reels
Location: Cabinet W#1

Jackson, Ronald Vern. New Jersey Tax Lists, 1772-1822, Bountiful, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems, 1981. 6 vols.
Location: Reading Room Call# REF N 929.3 J1371

New Jersey Tax Ratables
Gift of New Jersey State Society, Daughters of American Colonists, 1960; and the Huguenot Society of New Jersey, 1961.
Microfilm: 23 reels
Location: Closed Stacks, Cabinet 5a
Arranged by county, 1778-1832. Index on first reel. Originals at New Jersey State Library, Trenton.

United States Federal Census – Population Schedules
Microfilm: about 300 reels
Location: Cabinet W#1
The NJHS has the federal census for the following counties in the following years:

  • 1790 All States (hard-bound books, not microfilm)
  • 1800 no population schedules survive for New Jersey
  • 1810 no population schedules survive for New Jersey
  • 1820 no population schedules survive for New Jersey
  • 1830 All New Jersey population schedules
  • 1840 All New Jersey population schedules
  • 1850 All New Jersey population schedules and mortality schedules
  • 1860 All New Jersey population schedules and mortality schedules
  • 1870 All New Jersey population schedules and mortality schedules
  • 1880 All New Jersey population schedules and mortality schedules, but no soundex
  • 1890 Jersey City population schedules and veterans’ schedules
  • 1900 All New Jersey population schedules, but no soundex
  • 1910 All New Jersey population schedules (no soundex was done for New Jersey)
  • 1920 All New Jersey and soundex

United States Federal Census – Indices
Location: Reading Room Call # REF N 312…
The NJHS has the following statewide indices for New Jersey: 1790, 1830, 1840, 1850, and 1860.

City Directories
Before telephones, city directories provided residents with lists of businesses, government officials and services, and other residents often alphabetically and in street order. The Society has a large collection of city directories of New Jersey cities on microfilm and in book form for the 19th and 20th centuries. For specific holdings of city directories at The New Jersey Historical Society, please consult the library directly.

Compiled Genealogical Material
Many genealogical researchers will compile the work they have completed on their families into published genealogies or into articles in genealogical journals. The Society also maintains files on New Jersey families that it maintains in its family files, which contain a multitude of material. Researchers should also consult the guide to the Family Files, available on this web site.

Family Files
ca. 1,200 files
Location: Closed stacks – Vertical File area.
Vertical files containing miscellaneous unpublished material on New Jersey and related families.
NOTE: The Library welcomes donations of family papers, originals and copies. A Family File will be started for members to include typescripts of research in progress. See Reference staff for further details.

Family Genealogies
Location: Closed stacks
The Society library also has a collection of published family histories concerning mainly New Jersey families (but a few others) that are in a closed-stack area. Researchers should consult the library’s catalog to determine if a genealogy has been published on their family of interest. Call slips can be filled out to have the necessary books pulled for use.

Genealogy Chart Collection
Location: Closed stacks – Flat File cabinets
This collection, available for use in the Library, consists of hand-written and published lineage or ancestral charts. See Reference staff for assistance.

Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey
Location: Reading Room, Call# 929 N425
Published since 1925 by the Genealogical Society of New Jersey, the journal covers family information, transcriptions of original records and various other articles in relation to New Jersey families. It is well-indexed and the Society has a complete run of the publication. [The Genealogical Society of New Jersey, P.O. Box 1291, New Brunswick, NJ 08903;]

Other General Published Works on New Jersey Families

  • Cooley, Eli, et. al. Genealogy of Early Settlers in Trenton and Ewing, New Jersey, Trenton: W. S. Sharp, 1883.
    Location: Reading Room Call# REF N 929.1 C77
  • Howe, Paul S. Mayflower Pilgrim Descendants in Cape May County, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1977.
    Location: Reading Room Call# REF 929.1 H83
  • Littell, John. Genealogies of the First Families of the Passaic Valley, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1976.
    Location: Reading Room Call# REF N 929.1 L717
  • Miles, Ann P. Monmouth Families, King William, Va.: A.P. Miles, 1980-. 4 vols.
    Location: Reading Room Call# REF N 929.1 M593
  • Monnette, Orra E. First Settlers of ye Plantations of Piscataway and Woodbridge…, Los Angeles: Leroy Carman Press, 1930-1934. 7 vols.
    Location: Reading Room Call# REF N 929.1 M746
  • Sinclair, Donald. New Jersey Biographical Index, Covering Some 100,000 Biographies and Associated Portraits in 237 New Jersey Cyclopedias, Histories, Yearbooks…, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1993.
    Location: Reference Desk Call# REF N 920.09749 Si62
  • Stillwell, John E. Historical And Genealogical Miscellany, Data Relating to the Settlement and Settlers of New York and New Jersey, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1970. 5 vols.
    Location: Reading Room Call# REF N 974.9 St54

Genealogical Card Indices
Some genealogical researchers developed a series of indices on cards to help make some record sources easier to use or to organize their own research. The Society has several card indices of use for genealogists that contain family relations or vital record information. Some of these indices have been microfilmed.

Canfield Genealogical And Marriage Collection
Location: Reading Room
Genealogical card file listing name, birth, death, marriage, children, and the ancestors of the individual. Marriage card file lists name, marriage, children, and ancestors of the individual.

Freeman Worth Gardner Genealogical Card Index
Gift of Mrs. Gilbert B. Lanterman, 1945.
ca. 35,000 cards on microfilm
Location: Microfilm 3A
Contains information on descendants of early families of Woodbridge, New Jersey and vicinity.

Charles Carroll Gardner Genealogical Collection
ca. 30,000 cards; 29 notebooks; 180 manuscript folders
Location: Reading Room and Microfilm 2A
Data on northern New Jersey families. Another extensive of C.C. Gardner’s later work is located at Rutgers University Library, New Brunswick, NJ as a part of the Genealogical Society of New Jersey’s collections.

New Jersey Biographical Card Index
ca. 80,000 cards
Location: Reading Room
Name index of births, marriages, and deaths compiled as a WPA project primarily from northern New Jersey newspapers in the Society’s collection (ca. 1790-1900). Some additional cards largely derived from Trinity Church, Newark burial records and from the genealogical compilations of Elmer T. Hutchinson were added in 1958. For additional information, see the first card in the file.

Stelle F. Randolph Collection
Location: Reading Room
Card file listing name, line of descent, who the individual was a descendant of, birth, death, marriage, and children. Contains approximately ¼ Fitz Randolph surnames, and ¾ other associated surnames.

Elias Boudinot Stockton Genealogical Collection
Gift of The New Jersey Historical Society’s Women’s Branch, 1920.
ca. 75,000 cards; 1,500 file folders
Location: Microfilm 6A
Stockton, a priest in the Episcopal Church, compiled information into a statewide index on New Jersey families and also some out-of-state families (though principally New York).

Weyel Index To Birth And Family Records, Centerville, Bayonne: 1884-1917
Location: Reading Room
Birth and family records indexed from the records of Annie Specert Weyel, a midwife. Approximately 4,000 cards identify child’s name, parents’ names and places of birth, mother’s maiden name, street address, and number of children in each family.

Histories of Towns, Cities and Counties
From the late 1800s through the 1930s, authors in many counties and communities published what was considered then (and for some places still are) the authoritative histories of their city, town or county. Many of these authors not only outlined the political history of the community, but also described town fire departments cemeteries, schools, and even genealogies of local residents. Many of these histories came to be known as “mug books” since biographical sketches and photographs of many residents appeared in them. Additional histories and books can be found by using the card catalog in the reading room.
Location: Reading Room Call# 974.

Maps and Cartographic Records
Maps and gazetteers can also be useful in locating where ancestors were living, what town formed out of what town, and in what county a town now resides. The Society library maintains several map cases of street, topographic, highway, and hand-drawn manuscript maps in its collection. They are organized by place and the librarian on staff will retrieve any for researchers. Gazetteers and place name directories are also available in the reading room.

Map Card Catalog
Location: Reading Room
Contains call numbers for all of the maps in the collection at the NJHS.

New Jersey Place Name Card Catalog
Location: Reading Room

Military Records
The following publications will aid researchers in locating information relating to soldiers from New Jersey who served in various wars [see also “Cemetery Transcriptions” above]. Additional military histories and books can be found by using the card catalog in the reading room. However, these are all secondary resources and for original muster rolls, service records, or pensions, researchers should consult the National Archives web site for their holdings of military records [].

  • Boyce, Hampton V. Records of Veterans of 1812 and present Descendants, S.l.: s.n., n.d. 60 p. mimeo.
    Location: Reading Room Call#973.52/H189
  • McNally, B. Soldiers and Sailors of New Jersey in the Spanish-American War, Newark: McNally, 1898. 46 p.
    Location: Reading Room Call#973.89 M232
  • New Jersey Adjutant General. Officers and Men of New Jersey in Wars, 1791-1815, Trenton: State Gazette Publishing, 1909.
    Location: Reading Room Call #REF 973.5 N425
  • New Jersey Adjutant General. Officers and Men from New Jersey Who Served in the War with Mexico, Trenton: s.n., n.d. 10 leaves. Typ.
    Location: New Jersey Pamphlet Collection (filed under New Jersey Adjutant General)
  • Stryker, William S. Official Register of Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Revolutionary War…, 1911. Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1967.
    Location: Reading Room Call # 973.344 N42c
  • Stryker, William S. Record of Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Civil War, 1861-1865, Trenton: John L. Murphy, 1876.
    Location: Reading Room Call# 973.74 fn

Marriage and Death notices, obituaries, and even birth announcements will appear in daily, weekly, and ethnic newspapers and can be a great resource for the 19th century forward. Local elections, court sentencing, and even the comings and goings of residents and other society news will appear in newspaper pages as well. For a listing of the original and microfilm copies of newspapers at the Society, check out the appropriate    finding guides that provide a list alphabetically by the place of publication.

Newspaper Card Catalog
Location: Reading Room.
A card catalog version of our guide mentioned above listing the holdings of the NJHS.

Other Record Sources
The Society does not have copies of county probate records (wills, inventories, administrations, etc.), land deeds, nor naturalization records. Therefore, researchers should consult the county governments, who are the keepers of the original information [see New Jersey Genweb for more details at: or should try to order microfilm copies of these records (if available for the appropriate time period) from the Family History Resource Centers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [library catalog at:; list of Family History Resource Centers at:]. The Society does have a few secondary sources that may be of some help however and they are listed below. Some additional books of source records can be found by using the card catalog in the reading room.

“Abstracts of Wills,” Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey [title various and is commonly called the New Jersey Archives], 1st series, vol. 23, 30, 32, 33-43. Trenton: MacCrellish and Quigley [publishers also vary], 1901-1949.
Location: Reading Room Call# REF N974.9 N421
Contains abstracts of wills from the state archives from 1670-1818.

Jackson, Ronald V. Index to New Jersey Wills, 1689-1890, The Testators, Bountiful, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems, 1979.
Location: Reading Room Call# REF N929.3 J137

Religious Records
Churches, temples and other houses of worship often maintain membership records of their parishioners, and depending on the religion, many also keep death, burial or marriage records. Christian churches will often have baptismal, confirmation, and sacramental records. Additional church histories and records can be found by using the card catalog in the reading room.

Holland Society Of America Church Records
Gift of The New Jersey Huguenot Society, 1959-1960.
Microfilm: 14 reels
Location: Stacks, Cabinet 9a
Contains Reformed Church records from New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Index available.

Vital Records (Births, Marriages, and Deaths)
The most useful tool for the genealogist are certainly birth, marriage, and death certificates, which provide dates of each event and a link to other individuals whether parental, or spousal. The state of New Jersey started civil registration (i.e. state record keeping of births, marriages, and deaths) in 1848, but copies of those records are not at the Society. For copies of those records, see chart below. Prior to 1848, other record sources should be consulted (such as church records, census schedules, wills, etc.) since no civil registration exists.

Vital Records Dates


Cost through mail

May 1848-May1878 NJ State Archives
PO Box 307185 West State Street
Trenton, NJ 08625-0307 state/darm/index.html
$10.00 per search, for one record in up to five consecutive years.
June 1878-present NJ Dept. of Health and Senior Services
Vital Statistics Registration
PO Box 370
Trenton, NJ 08625-0370
(609) 292-4087 health/vital/vital.htm
$25.00 for copy of record through search of one year.
(Other fees may also apply)

Films of vital records can be ordered through the Family History Centers of the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints [library catalog at:; list of Family History Resource Centers at:]. Some vital record information is in other record sources at the Society including many of the sources listed above and the list below. Additional vital record books can be found by using the card catalog in the reading room.

Family Bible Records
ca. 400 files
Location: Stacks – Vertical File area
Photocopies and typescripts of family Bible records. See the finding guide for a list of surnames included within the collection.

Nelson, William. New Jersey Marriages, 1665-1800, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1967.
Location: Reading Room Call# 929.3 N33

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