Tri-County History Fair: Middlesex, Somerset, and Union Counties

Plainfield Public Library Announces Tri-County History Fair
Saturday, October 22, 2016, from 10 am to 4 pm

The Plainfield Public Library is excited to announce the Tri-County History Fair for Middlesex, Union, and Somerset Counties. Join colleagues, friends, and neighbors for a fun day of historical discovery, resource sharing, raffles, and more. On Saturday, October 22nd from 10 am to 4 pm, over 20 local history organizations, museums, and libraries will be exhibiting and promoting their historical collections on the library’s lower level around the area fountain. There will be two exhibits on display at this time: Contemporary Photographs of Plainfield Veterans by Plainfielder Brian Price and Plainfield in Pictures– a selection of images from the library’s historical photograph collections. Continue reading

Monmouth County Surrogate to Digitize over 80,000 Estate Files (1967-1992)

Estates from 1967 to 1992 to be available on Surrogate’s Records Room computers

FREEHOLD, NJ – The conversion and indexing of over 80,000 microfiche estate records to a digitized format is under way in the Monmouth County Surrogate’s Office, announced Surrogate Rosemarie D. Peters. When the conversion is completed, the records, extending from 1967 to 1992, will be imported into the existing imaging software system and will be available on computers in the Surrogate’s Records Room in the County Hall of Records, Main Street, Freehold.

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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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What? Wait! You’re Telling Me There Are No Indexes!?

A general sentiment that I read quite frequently on the messages boards is that doing research in New Jersey is so difficult.  Digging deeper, I find that the trouble is with the time period… the early 20th century.  The trouble isn’t with the records themselves; the trouble is the lack of indexes!

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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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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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