Guide to Using the Catalogs at The New Jersey Historical Society

To search for published materials at The New Jersey Historical Society, search Clavis, the catalog of the Newark Public Library. Under Step 3, select New Jersey Historical Society. Please bear in mind that we are currently undergoing an inventory of our collections and the catalog is constantly being updated and improved. Please contact the library staff at with any questions about using the online catalog.

Those visiting the Historical Society in person may also utilize the paper card catalogs located in the reading room. Many of these card indices are also useful in other ways including finding New Jersey place names, determining in what city a particular newspaper resided, and locations of burials of Civil War soldiers. Below is a list of the card catalogs accessible in the library and how to use them. For their locations in the reading room, see our library map.

Biographical Card File (White labels)
Created about 1958, most cards refer to 18th, but largely 19th century newspaper entries for baptisms, marriages, deaths, and burials of New Jersey figures. Some entries also contain information from church and county court record books. A list of the sources used for the catalog is included at the front of the first drawer of the 84-drawer index.

Newspapers Card File (Off-White labels)
This newspaper card index, as opposed to the newspaper card index mentioned later (see below), describes the holdings of newspapers by issue at the library. This card file is not active, but everything in the file should be represented by newspapers in hard copy or on film in the library’s collection. An updated newspaper holdings guide is available on our web site.

Weyel Index Card File (Green labels)
Anna Specert Weyel (b. 1849) was a midwife from Bayonne, NJ, who kept records on approximately 3000 births from 1884-1917. The index contains the child’s and parent’s names and references the original record books that provide the child’s name, birth date, street address, mother’s maiden name, mother’s age, mother’s birthplace, father’s name, father’s age, number of children born in marriage, number of children to survive birth, and, occasionally, information as to the father’s country of birth. Weyel delivered the children of Irish, English, German, Italian, Hungarian, Polish and Russian immigrants. The record books can be pulled for patrons by the reference librarian on duty.

Civil War Veterans, NJ Infantry Burial Records Card File (Off-White labels)
Provides an alphabetical index to the Library’s cemetery files concerning Civil War veterans buried across the state. The list is not comprehensive, but is quite large, although information varies from cemetery to cemetery as to type of information transcribed (some include only names and death years, others provide birth and death dates). This index provides a file number, which users can give to the reference librarian on duty to have the information from the file pulled.

Library Card Catalog (Blue labels)
The blue labels represent the holdings of books and pamphlets in the NJHS library. However, this catalog is vastly out of date and does not:
a.) signify which items are located in the main library location at 52 Park Place and which are located in an off-site storage facility. Items located in the off-site storage can be pulled for you, but items are only pulled once per week and often other arrangements to view the materials are needed.
b.) have cards that represent every item available in the library.
c.) prevent the user from finding materials that are no longer a part of the library’s collection. As is standard for any library, materials are de-accessioned from the collection, but in the past, cards relating to remove books were not removed from this catalog.

Cards will display bibliographic information on each item in the library collections and also will include call numbers in the upper left-hand corner that enable the librarian to retrieve the item.

Generally, the catalog is not perfect, but it is still useful until the library staff can develop an online catalog for the collection on the Society web site. When in doubt, seek a librarian’s help in order to find needed materials.

Broadsides Card Catalog (Orange labels)
Broadsides are printed matter on a large single sheet of paper, that often displayed an advertisement or public notice. The Library has a collection of 400 broadsides, which are outlined in this card catalog. Items from the Broadsides Catalog can pulled by the reference librarian on duty. The blue index cards in the catalog are the bibliographic entries for the broadsides in the collection, which are cross-referenced by many other white subject “see-also” cards.

Map Card Catalog (Green labels)
The Society maintains nearly 2000 street, highway, manuscript, topographical and other maps of the state of New Jersey. The catalog is divided into four separate sections:

  1. An alphabetical index by subject, place and map title
  2. An alphabetical index by surname of cartographer
  3. A numerical index in map call number order
  4. An alphabetical index of special maps (framed maps, atlases, maps in other parts of the collection, etc.)

Maps from this catalog can be pulled for patrons by the reference librarian on duty.

Manuscripts Collection Card File (Yellow labels)
Before the development of our online manuscript finding guide the only access to the society’s documents, ledgers, diaries, individual land deeds, and other unpublished material was through this card index. This index is no longer up to date, but still can be useful in locating some items, although users are urged to search the manuscript finding guide first for items of interest. This yellow card index is far from being complete even for collections that the library has owned for some time (some collections may have some entries for some documents, but none for others in the same collection), so be wary and use all available indices for a complete search. The advantage of this card catalog is that it references information from manuscript collections on an item level (i.e. the specific documents from within the collection) and is divided into the following seven separate sections:

  1. An alphabetical index by author, family surname, format (i.e. land deeds, personal diaries, letters, etc.) or subject
  2. A supplemental index to the above alphabetical index also alphabetical by author, family surname, format or subject but contains additional collections not referenced in the above index
  3. A chronological index providing access to manuscript collections in order by time period
  4. A listing of the collections in call number order
  5. An index to #MG 26 [The papers of Joseph P. Bradley (1813-1892), U. S. Supreme Court Justice]
  6. An index to #MG 429 [The papers of John Insley Blair (1802-99), businessman that also includes papers of John D. Vail, both of which reference various deeds, mortgages, and licenses from ca. 1830-1896]
  7. An index to #MG620 [The papers of Peter Vroom (1791-1873), Governor of New Jersey and U.S. Congressman]

Collections from this catalog can be pulled for patrons by the reference librarian on duty.

Genealogy Manuscripts Index Card File (White labels)
Whereas the yellow-labeled Manuscripts Collection card file indexes many manuscript collections in the library’s collection, the Genealogy Manuscripts Index, provides an index to surnames within a few specific collections but not all collections. The catalog references only family surnames in research collections of former genealogists and provides folder numbers and call numbers. In cases where only a symbol was used rather than a specific call number or folder number, a chart atop the catalog provides descriptions to what collections are referenced by the symbols. Patrons should provide call numbers and folder numbers to the librarian on duty to pull the needed materials.

Lovejoy Collection Index Card File (White labels)
This card file contains genealogical information (births, deaths, etc.) arranged alphabetically on various families though largely of the Lovejoy family.

Newspaper Index Card File (Purple labels)
This index provides several avenues to find information concerning the newspapers published in New Jersey cities. The index is organized by the city or town of the paper’s publication, by the newspaper’s title, and also by shelf location. Depending on the information known, this catalog provides dates the newspaper was active, what paper the newspaper merged with or formed into and previous and future names of the newspaper.

Microfiche Card Catalog (Blue labels)
The library owns the “Genealogy and Local History Collection” of various books, pamphlets and secondary material filmed by UMI (now ProQuest). This collection is quite vast and includes church histories and records, local and town histories, and many other publications long since out of print. This catalog is an index to those holdings by providing call numbers to any of the collection’s microfiche, which can be pulled for patrons by the reference librarian on duty.

NJ Chronology Card File (Off-White labels)
The important dates in the history of the Garden State are outlined in this card index which is organized chronologically in several separate categories: general New Jersey history, New Jersey women’s history, New Jersey place names, and a bibliography for these indices.

Women’s Archives Card File (Off-White labels)
Probably created by workers of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), this compiled index of the Newark Daily Advertiser indexes articles pertaining to women from March 1832 to December 1885. Such subjects as education, personalities, women’s rights and suffrage are represented as well as others. The Society has copies of the Advertiser on microfilm for the time period the index covers and appropriate newspapers can be pulled for patrons by the reference librarian on duty.

Freeman Worth Gardner Place Name Card File (White labels)
This index compiled by noted genealogist Freeman Gardner contains present-day names (at least to Mr. Gardner, prior to 1945) of New Jersey geographical locations and any previous designations drawn largely from The New Jersey Archives, maps, and other published material. This card file sits a top the bookshelf nearest the remainder of these card indices.

Woodbridge, NJ Cemetery Indices (Yellow labels)
These indices, provide information from three cemeteries in Woodbridge, NJ: The Woodbridge Presbyterian Church Cemetery, the Woodbridge Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery and the Woodbridge Trinity Churchyard. This card file sits a top the bookshelf nearest the remainder of these card indices.

Woodland Cemetery Card Index (White labels)
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). Materials from MG 1230 can be pulled by the reference librarian on duty. This card file resides near the elevator.

MG1 Collection Index (White labels)
This manuscript collection contains various individual documents of many different New Jerseyans, dating from as early as the 17th century, to as late as 1920. This index is maintained in four boxes and references to in a large part, land transactions, court orders, certificates, etc. Materials from this collection can be pulled for patrons by the reference librarian on duty. The boxes of this card file reside atop the Woodland Cemetery Card Index near the elevator.

MG70 Collection Index (White labels)
The papers of James (1691-1756) and William Alexander (1726-1783) are indexed through this catalog that references largely business and personal records of the father and son. The index is alphabetical by individuals’ names referenced on various fee notices, bonds, letters, and other documents. Materials from this collection can be pulled for patrons by the reference librarian on duty. The boxes of this card file reside atop the Woodland Cemetery Card Index near the elevator.

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