RUTGERS UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES RECEIVES GRANT TO DIGITIZE IMPORTANT HISTORICAL NJ NEWSPAPERS

With $186,204 grant New Jersey becomes the 44th state to participate in the National Digital Newspaper Program, supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – The New Jersey Digital Newspaper Project is a collaboration of Rutgers University Libraries, the New Jersey State Archives and the New Jersey State Library that will make the history of New Jersey known to its citizens and the world. The plan, according to project director and Rutgers University digital archivist Caryn Radick, is to scan existing microfilm from the New Jersey State Archives and to make searchable digital files available through the Library of Congress website Chronicling America. Over a two-year period, the project will digitize and catalog at least 100,000 newspaper pages, originally published between 1836 and 1922 and not currently available in digital format.

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Treasure Trove Thursday: US District Court – Newark, NJ [NARA RG21 M2123, 1914-1945]

A new Historical Records Collection at FamilySearch

An announcement in the June 26, 2016 edition of Nu? What’s New? The E-zine of Jewish Genealogy from Avotaynu (Volume 17, Number 25), alerted researchers that there were newly digitized naturalization records for U.S. District Courts in Newark and N.Y.C. Today, we’ll be looking at how to access these new online images.

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Using the Indexes: New Jersey Births-Marriages-Deaths, 1901-03 and the Bride’s Index, 1901-14

Late in 2015, Reclaim the Records, a not-for-profit group of genealogists, historians, researchers, and open government advocates, worked with the New Jersey State Archives to acquire the microfilm to the birth, marriage and death annual indexes for 1901, 1902, and 1903.  While speaking with the Archives, she was also able to submit a request for the Bride’s Indexes for 1904-09 and 1910-14.  You can read more about the project’s Records Request #5: New Jersey Birth, Marriage, and Death Indices, 1901-1903 and 1901-1914 on their website.

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New Jersey Day Celebration, June 24th

New Jersey Day Celebration
Friday, June 24, 2016
225 West State Street, 1st Floor20160622_111926

In celebration of New Jersey Day, the anniversary of the founding of New Jersey in 1664, several of the State’s cultural agencies have put together a series of exhibits and programs for Friday, June 24, 2016, on the 1st Floor of 225 West State Street, Trenton, N.J.

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Veteran’s Day Tribute: Hidden Gems Online

Today’NJSA Search the Collectionss post is in honor of all those who served our great country.  I hope you’ll find the following collection of hidden gems helpful in your family research.  I’m wondering how many of us really take the time to review all the options on any given website.  Do you take the time to look at collection titles that may not have immediate or apparent interest?  When using the New Jersey State Archives (NJSA) website, my guess is that most of us choose “Search the Collections” from the main webpage.

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Using the Online Collections – Ancestry vs. FamilySearch: Part B

FamilySearch has made great strides in providing digital records collections available freely for researchers and currently, there are eleven New Jersey Historical Records Collections. The focus of ‘Part B’ in the comparison of Ancestry vs FamilySearch is the collection – New Jersey Probate Records, 1678-1980. It has been online since June 2014. The collection is comprised of digitized images from the microfilming of the County Surrogates’ Courts in the early 1970s. The records available include a variety of components: wills, administrations, bond, receipts, indexes, adoptions and more.

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Book Review:  New Jersey Petitions, 1740, 1745-1794 (5 volumes)

Researching families in colonial New Jersey through early statehood can be challenging and researchers often need to look at a variety of record sets.  An often overlooked group of records is that of petitions to the government – governor, legislature, etc.  These letters from the citizens of the province reflect sentiments ranging from taxation, hunting, war and even opposing expressing opposition to elected officials.

New Jersey Petitions, 1740, 1745-1794 (5 volumes)

New Jersey Petitions, 1740, 1745-1794 (5 volumes)

The compilation — New Jersey Petitions by John D. Stemmons — is comprised of 5 volumes spanning 1740, 1745-1794 and utilizes the petitions found within the manuscript collection of Legislative Records at the New Jersey State Archives.[1]  Researchers will find over 20,000 entries of inhabitants in New Jersey that cannot be replicated by any other record set for the time period.[2]

Researcher’s Caveat:

In preparing these volumes, the compiler chose to use petitions that generally had more than 10 names and a location given.  Those petitions with less than these criteria are excluded from the abstracts.

In the beginning of each volume contains a List of Petitions or inventory of documents with a basic description that was used to extract the signers’ names.  All name entries are presented in alphabetical order by surname.  Due to the recording clerks’ interpretation of surnames, it is important to check variant spellings.

Benefits of Petitions/Memorials[3]

Beyond the obvious boon of locating your ancestor’s name on a petition for a known locality, other positives include seeing original signatures or lack of by using their ‘mark’, familial relations (son of), and even marital status of female signers.

Where to find Volumes 1-5

A quick search of WorldCat shows that the Allen County (IN) Public Library, Wisconsin Historical Society, Houston (TX) Public Library, Library of Congress (DC) and the Family History Library (Salt Lake) have the complete set.[4]  This is in addition it being in the collections of the New Jersey State Archives in Trenton and Rutgers University Alexander Library in New Brunswick.

Unfortunately, if you are looking to add this set to your home library, you will have to look very hard.  The publisher cannot be located online and using AbeBooks.com, I could not locate used copies for sale.

Overall, the compilation is a wonderful resource to use for mid-18th century New Jersey research.  If you have not consulted the set, I urge you to do so.

Happy Searching!


 

[1] Department of Education, New Jersey State Library, Bureau of Archives and History, Manuscript Collection, 1680s-1970s (Series #: SEDSL006); BAH: Legislative Records, 1724-1796 (Boxes 1-12 to 1-16); New Jersey State Archives, Trenton.

[2] Unlike its sister colonies in New England, the Province of New Jersey did not continue the practice of recording births, marriages and deaths with town clerks.  Also, the US Federal censuses for 1790-1820 are not extant and church records for the early to mid-1700s may not be complete for early congregations due to records loss.

[3] Memorial – A document presented to the legislative body, or the executive, by one or more individuals, containing a petition or representation of facts. (Black’s Law Dictionary, 4th Edition, page 1136).

[4] OCLC WordCat (http://www.worldcat.org : accessed 23 October 2015); “new jersey petitions” search results.

New Jersey Estate Records: Surrogate’s Courts – Why is the year 1804 so important?

For an intimate revelation of social conditions in New Jersey during the first sixty-five years of English supremacy it would be difficult to imagine a volume richer in material than this. From about 1680 it was the general practice to deposit wills with the Provincial Secretaries, by whom they were filed or recorded—usually both,—together with inventories of estates, accounts of executors and administrators, and other papers pertaining to such matters, and many odd documents having no apparent relation thereto—as ante-nuptial contracts, marriage licenses, and the like. These records were brought together in 1790 or shortly thereafter, in the office of the Secretary of State at Trenton, where they are now carefully arranged and preserved.

~ William Nelson, 
Introductory Note on the Early Testamentary 
Laws and Customs of New Jersey, 1901

Although the Governors’ appointments for Surrogates’ within the counties came to be though the law giving them their posts for a 5-year term, their duties were limited. In 1784, “An Act to ascertain the Power and Authority of the Ordinary and his Surrogates &c” was passed to further define the duties of Surrogates and extended duties to granting the Probates of Wills, Letters of Administration, Letters of Guardianship and Marriage-Licenses, and to the Hearing and determining of estate disputes.[1] The common practice for the county surrogates to send wills which they had proved to the Register of the Prerogative Court to be recorded.[2] No original wills or inventories were kept locally with the Surrogate.

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