Library Services

For those patrons who cannot travel to our library in Newark, The New Jersey Historical Society does offer a number of services to aid them:

Reference Questions
Our reference staff will be happy to answer quick reference questions concerning the holdings at the Historical Society, questions about collections, or brief descriptions of information from our collections themselves. Because the library has a limited staff that also provides assistance for Historical Society exhibitions and programs, we cannot do lengthy research requests, but can suggest other avenues for research. Our reference staff can receive questions via e-mail, postal mail, fax, or phone (ext. 249) [see below for contact information for the Historical Society]. Genealogical requests are handled separately; please see Genealogy Information Requests below.

Genealogical Information Requests
For genealogical inquiries, our search service provides an hour’s worth of staff research time utilizing standard genealogical holdings in the library or collections specified by the patron. The cost is $50 for one hour [$25 for one hour for members of the Historical Society – for information on joining the Historical Society, see our Membership Information Page] and includes up to 10 photocopies or 3 digital scans as well as shipping and handling. Additional copies or scans will be charged accordingly (see price breakdown below), but digital scanning cannot exceed 10 scans. Patrons requiring research that would exceed an hour and/or more extensive or specialized research should consult our list of professional genealogists for hire. Unless other NJHS collections are specified by the patron, the following sources will be consulted by our staff:

  • Published family genealogies which contain an adequate index
  • Family files of New Jersey surnames (see our guide for a list of surnames included in this collection)
  • Monumental inscriptions and vital records vertical files (compilations)
  • Family Bible Records Collection
  • The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey
  • The NJHS Library card indices – Manuscript card file for deeds and wills; ‘biographical’ index (primarily a death notice and marriage announcement index); Civil War Burials index; and genealogy card file (see our card catalog guide for a description of these catalogs)
  • NJHS Manuscript Finding Guides – Includes collections of genealogists, church records, military records and other original and compiled sources

When requesting information from this service, please be as detailed as possible. Questions such as “Can you help me find the Baker family?” or “Give me everything you have on John Miller of Plainsboro, New Jersey,” are too broad and may apply to hundreds of books, maps, and manuscripts in the library’s collections. Thus, try to include as much information about the family (or person) as possible in questions, such as: a year and place for us to search within New Jersey; dates of birth, marriage or death; any spouses, children, parents or siblings; and particularly, the time and place you know the person (or family) existed. The more complete the information provided in the request, the better success we are likely to have in finding pertinent information.

Requests for duplication of NJHS Library collection items (digital scans or photocopies) will only be charged the duplication charges (and not genealogy research fees) provided a full citation for the material to be copied is provided (i.e. MG#, Box and Folder #; Book title, author, publisher, publication date; or journal title, vol. #, issue #, page #, and date, etc.) and no additional research time was needed. However, this determination is at the discretion of the Reference Librarian on duty and research charges may be applied when applicable.

Photocopy, Digital Scanning and Photographic Reprint Requests
The Library balances access to materials with preservation needs. For this reason photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied without permission from library staff.

1) Restricted Materials
The Library does not permit photocopying of large maps; bound atlases; manuscripts or rare books; newspapers; city directories; architectural drawings; and fragile manuscript items. The library will also not permit copying of any materials that are fragile or susceptible, in the opinion of a library staff member, to damage by exposure to the intense light and heat of the photocopy machine. All bound materials must be copied one page at a time.

2) Photographs
Photographs may not be photocopied. Scanned copies of images may be obtained for $6.00 with the approval of the librarian. Scanned copies are not available on the day requested and will be sent through the mail to patrons. Payment is required in advance. Photographic reproductions are also available; please see the Photographic Reproductions Policy and Photographic Reproductions Price List.

In order to request copies of an item from within our photograph collection, please see our Photoscan Request Form. Due to the high volume of requests we sometimes receive, please allow for six-eight weeks for receipt of the information. Please keep in mind that some materials may be too fragile for reproduction and cannot be scanned.

3.) Costs for Photocopying
Photocopies cost $2.00 per page. Staff are able to photocopy a maximum of 40 pages. Photocopy requests fulfilled by mail are subject to a $5.00 handling charge, which includes up to six photocopies. For additional pages, the cost is $2.00 per page. Microfilm copies are $2.00 per page; computer printouts are $2.00 per page; and scanned images are $6.00 per copy.

In order to request copies of an item from within a book or collection, please see our Photocopy Request Form. Due to the high volume of requests we sometimes receive, please allow for six-eight weeks for receipt of the information. Please keep in mind that we will not copy entire books or collections and some materials may be too fragile for reproduction and cannot be photocopied.

4.) Warning Concerning Copyright Restrictions:
The New Jersey Historical Society Library complies with the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code), which governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials. Please see the Library of Congress web site for the most detailed information regarding this law.

Updated March 22, 2007

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