NGS Research in the States Series: New Jersey


“Our concern is with the beginnings of settlement within teh area that we know today as the State of New Jersey. Here, between the Hudson and the Delaware, people of many nationalities came together, at times in jarring conflict, but for the most part in peaceful harmony, to lay the foundations of a colony whose distinguishing mark was to be its heterogeneity. Unlike New England, where the Puritan townsman typified the whole population, or the South, where the tidewater English planter was equally predominant, New Jersey presented a picture of infinite variety. Its founders spoke many tongues, belonged to many religious denominations, practices their arts and crafts in many different ways. Each distinctive group had its own contributions to make, and each was to leave a lasting inheritance to future generations.”

This Issue: NGS Research in the States Series: New Jersey; written by Claire Keenan Agthe.

Like most states, New Jersey has its own unique diversity and history. Today, New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the U.S. and yet has a strong agricultural base, which helped it get its nickname the ‘Garden State.’ Its earliest settlers included the Dutch, Swedes, Finns, English, Scots, Scots-Irish, Germans, and French and generally welcomed people of many religions.

Each guide in this series offers a bit of history behind each type of record or resource as well as names and descriptions for specific archives.  For example, under the heading Military Records and Benefits, you will find the following:

“New Jersey is fortunate in that no battles since the American Revolution have taken place on its soil, although many of its citizens have served in the armed services in both peacetime and wartime. Early military personnel records are scarce, but those that do exist can be valuable sources of information. The State Archives holds most state military records prior to World War I, while most subsequent state records are at the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. …”

In the guide, each section is handled in like manner. Plenty of specific information on what records are available and where to find them.

As an interesting side note, New Jersey has see no wartime battles since the American Revolution; yet, since “its position between British-held New York and rebel-held Philadelphia made New Jersey home to 296 engagements during the Revolutionary War.”

About the Series

Beginning in 1987, the National Genealogical Society began publishing a series of state guides in the organization’s magazine, the Quarterly. These guides were later re-issued as special publications designed to support genealogical research in each state. Eventually those guides became outdated and out of print. The current set of guides represents a refresh of those publications, updated and improved for today’s traditional and digital research resources.

About the Author

Claire Keenan Agthe is a professional genealogist, is president of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, and is a trustee of the Genealogical Society of New Jersey, where she lives. Claire lectures on copyright and Irish genealogy, and professionally conducts client research.

More About the State Guides (from the Introduction)

“Readers should be aware that every effort has been made to include current web addresses throughout the publication and all were verified immediately prior to release…”

“Two research facilities used by many genealogists are the Family History Library (FHL) and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Most genealogists are familiar with the abbreviations used for these two facilities and they are used in these publications. Otherwise the use of abbreviations and acronyms is kept to a minimum.”

Table of Contents

History and Settlements

  • Early History
  • Settlement
  • Migration
  • Economy
  • Jurisdictional Changes

Archives, Libraries, and Societies

  • Genealogical Society of New Jersey
  • New Jersey Historical Society
  • New Jersey State Archives
  • New Jersey State Library
  • Rugers University: Alexander Library
  • Other Libraries
  • National Archives Regional Facility

Major Resources

  • Aids to Research
  • Atlases, Gazetteers, and Maps
  • Biographical Guides
  • Business Records
  • Cemetery Records
  • Census Records
    • Early Censuses and Substitutes
    • Federal Censuses and Substitutes
    • State Censuses
  • City and County Directories
  • City-Level Research
  • Court Records
    • Federal Courts
  • Decedents’ Estates
    • Probate and Estate Records
    • Partitions and Divisions of Estates
  • Ethnic Records
    • African American
    • German
    • Native American
    • Scots and Scots-Irish
  • Immigration
  • Land Records
    • Deeds
    • Mortgages
  • Military Records and Benefits
    • Militia and National Guard
    • Colonial Wars (pre-1775)
    • American Revolution
    • Wars of 1791-1815
    • Mexican-American War (1846-1848)
    • Civil War (1861-1865)
    • Spanish-American War (1898)
    • World War I (1914-1918)
    • World War II (1941-1945)
    • Korean War (1950-1953) and Vietnam War (1959-1975)
  • Name Changes
  • Naturalization Records
    • Naturalizations in County and State Courts
    • Naturalizations in Federal Court
  • Newspapers
  • Religious Records
    • Catholic (Roman)
    • Jewish
    • Presbyterian
    • Protestant Episcopal
    • Reformed Church in America (Dutch Reformed)
    • Society of Friends (Quakers)
    • Unitarian Universalist Association
    • United Church of Christ (UCC)
    • United Methodist
  • School and Institutional Records
  • Tax Records
  • Vital Records
    • Adoption Records
    • Colonial and County Vital Records
    • State Vital Records
    • Inquisitions on the Dead (Coroner Reports)
    • Divorce Records
  • Voter Rolls
  • Women of New Jersey
  • Conclusion

These guides are an excellent resource for state by state research. Available guides, including NGS Research in the States Series: New Jersey are available from Family Roots Publishing.

Other guides in series reviewed to date (in alphabetical order):

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