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Most archives, historical societies, and genealogical societies have special collections and indexes of genealogical value. Some of the major manuscripts and published sources for New Jersey are listed below.

Contents

Major Manuscript Collections

Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Genealogical Collection. This collection includes volumes of Bible transcriptions, as well as cemetery, church, marriage, death, obituary, and will records. The collection is at the New Jersey State Library and at the DAR Library in Washington, D.C. Most of the volumes were microfilmed at the DAR Library and are listed in the Family History Library Catalog Author Search under Daughters of the American Revolution (New Jersey).

The volumes are generally arranged by county, and many have individual indexes. Most of these microfilmed volumes are part of a 106-reel microfilm collection starting with FHL reel 860342, but a few are listed separately in the Family History Library Catalog Place Search under place and topic such as:

NEW JERSEY - BIBLE RECORDS
NEW JERSEY - CEMETERIES
NEW JERSEY - VITAL RECORDS

Charles Carroll Gardner's Collections. Charles Gardner was recognized as the most accomplished New Jersey genealogist of the first half of this century. His compilations focus on northeastern New Jersey families, particularly those of Essex County.

  • An early work, The Gardner Collection. On 32 Family History Library films beginning with film 941113 was completed before 1911. This includes 180 folders on pre-Revolutionary War families. A separate section includes about 30,000 cards that index individuals listed in New Jersey records. The original papers are at the New Jersey Historical Society.
  • Gardner's material, collected from 1911 to 1960, is cataloged as Collection of New Jersey Families, 1600-1900; Family Records taken from Civil, Court, Land and Probate Records, etc.(on 25 Family History Library films beginning with 848919). The material contains alphabetically arranged records copied from civil, court, land, probate, and other sources. The original records are in Special Collections and University Archives at Rutgers University.
  • Collection of Essex County, New Jersey Families, 1600-1900 (on 70 Family History Library films beginning with 849448). The records are alphabetical.

Nicholson Collection: ca 1690-1900. This collection of documented family group records prepared by Anne Lea Nicholson is at the Gloucester County Historical Society and at the Family History Library on 22 films beginning with 1491818. It is one of the first sources that should be checked for ancestors in Gloucester, Salem, Burlington, Camden, and Cumberland counties and Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.

John P. Dornan. Collection. This two-part collection includes alphabetically arranged family folders and handwritten family group records of Quakers and other families of South Jersey. It belongs to the Genealogical Society of New Jersey and can be found in Special Collections and University Archives at Rutgers University. It is also available on microfilm at the Family History Library on 37 films beginning with 851703; and on 33 films beginning with FHL film 849558. There is a surname card index on Family History Library film 854115 (A-Kuhl; skips to Personette and continues to Taylor; film 854116, Peter Taylor - Thacker; returns to Lacey and continues to Perry; Tharp-Zimmerman and topics file.

The Gloucester County Historical Society's Historical and Genealogical Files, 1600s-1900s. This collection of about 3,000 alphabetized family folders has material about hundreds of South Jersey families. It is on FHL films 1005031-64.  An earlier version of this collection  (Family History Library films 850326-29). The earlier version is less comprehensive but has material not found in the more recent version.

Elias Boudinot Stockton's Collection. The Stockton Collection is alphabetical and has about 75,000 cards and 1,500 file folders for New Jersey and some New York families. It is at the New Jersey Historical Society Library and at the Family History Library (on 44 Family History Library films beginning with 940610). Films 941111-12 have three-by-five-inch cards for individuals in several series for different states. 

Gilbert Cope's Collection of Family Data. This collection, compiled by a prominent Quaker genealogist, is important for Quakers and others who lived in southeastern Pennsylvania and Burlington, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem counties in New Jersey.  (Family History Library films 517003-78).

Genealogical Society of New Jersey's Genealogical Collection. This is an alphabetical collection of newspaper clippings and family histories in Special Collections and University Archives at Rutgers University. FHL films 854126-30 items 1-3.

General Society of Colonial Wars. Lineage Records . . . Supplemental Records. In searching for Colonial period ancestors from the 1600s to 1783 you may wish to search the lineage papers of the General Society of Colonial Wars. These are available on Family History Library films. They are a valuable resource.
The lineage papers are well-researched, and well-documented with information on births, marriages, and deaths in family lines from a Colonial period ancestor to someone who applied for membership in the society in the last 100 years.
First order Family History Library film 1,425,262 item 27. This has the book Master Index of Indexes of Ancestors of The Society of Colonial Wars, by Ronald L. Olsen, published in 1992. This is an index to many men of the Colonial period who were in the military or in government leadership positions. Hopefully in the future this book will be available in digital form on familysearch.org.
When you receive the film at a family history center, look for the names of your Colonial-period male ancestor, their father, brothers, uncles, etc. When you find a name, then the next step is to determine the lineage papers' number. For this you will need to order a film for that surname from these films:
528,690 surnames Abbey to Baylor
528,691 surnames Beach to Cruttenden
528,692 surnames Cudworth to Hampton
533,971 surnames Hance to Loper
533,972 surnames Lord to Reynor
533,973 surnames Rhett to Travis
533,974 surnames Treat to Zimmerman
In these alphabetical cards, look up the card for your relative. You will then see the number of the lineage papers or supplemental lineage papers of that ancestor. There will be a lineage papers' number between 1 and 14,199, or a volume number between 1 and 61, with supplemental papers’ number.
Your next step is to order the microfilm of the lineage papers. The films are listed in the Family History Library Catalog in familysearch.org. In the Catalog film number box you can type in the film number for the first film in this collection, film number 528,677. You will then see the list of films with the lineage papers’ numbers, and, supplemental papers’ volumes and papers, with their film numbers.
Order the film for the correct number of the lineage papers or supplemental papers’ volume, and you will receive the film at the center in a few weeks. The lineage records will hopefully give you important information to complete a particular family tree. If you wish to contact the society, see theEncyclopedia of Associations, available at major libraries.

Additional Manuscript Collections 

Most libraries and historical societies in New Jersey have valuable genealogical collections. Some of the major ones include:

Emigrant Register File. This is a collection of about 30 binders compiled by the Genealogical Society of New Jersey and housed in Special Collections and University Archives at Rutgers University. It pertains to New Jersey families who migrated to other parts of the country.

Surname Index to Genealogy Manuscript Collections. The Finding Guides link at the New Jersey Historical Society website indexes numerous manuscript collections as well as other records of genealogical value. 

Genealogical Vertical Files, Family Files, and Genealogical Charts. The New Jersey Historical Society has over 10,000 folders of Bible records, tombstone inscriptions, and family data; 1,200 family folders; and over 60 genealogical charts.

Irwin, Barbara S., and Elizabeth B. Turner, Guide to the Chart Collection in the New Jersey Historical Society 1983, revised edition, Newark, New Jersey: New Jersey Historical Society, 1985. (Family History Library book 974.9 A1 no. 92.) This pamphlet indexes the above-mentioned genealogical charts.

Published Collections

Genealogy – A valuable help for locating ancestors is the book Statewide Indexes and Collections: For United States Research. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 2001 (FHL book 973 D23, film 1,425,402 item 9). For New Jersey and other states, there is an excellent list of sources which have many, many, ancestors’ names. The list is arranged chronologically. First there are sources containing information back to the early settlement of the state, then sources for the middle period, and finally, for more recent years. When you find an ancestor’s name in these sources, you can find the book or collection and see what type of family history information is given.

  • Armstrong, William Clinton. Pioneer Families of Northwestern New Jersey. Lambertville, New Jersey: Hunterdon House, 1979. (Family History Library book FHL book 974.97 D2a.
  • Littell, John. Family Records or Genealogies of the First Settlers of Passaic Valley. 1852, reprint edition, Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1981. Family History Library book FHL book 974.9 D2L; FHL film 176652. A separate index is Mabel Day Parker, An Index of Littell's Passaic Valley Genealogies (typescript, n.p., n.d.; Family History Library fiche 6052239.
  • Rider, Fremont, Editor. American Genealogical Biographical Index. Volumes 1-186+. Middletown, Connecticut: Godfrey Memorial Library, 1952-. Family History Library book FHL book 973 D22am series 2; on 31 FHL films beginning with FHL film 1698167. This is a continuing series, and now includes surnames A - Walker. An earlier version of 48 volumes was published as The American Genealogical Index, 1942-1951. Over four million brief citations (name, date, and source) to manuscripts, periodicals, and books. The earlier version had reference to 350 sources that have been included in the second version. The second version includes an additional 800 sources.
To help interpret citations and locate the original sources, use the colored pages in some volumes or check:
  • Clark, Patricia L. and Dorothy Huntsman, Editors. American Genealogical Biographical Key Title Index. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1990. Gives the title for each code. Lists the sources that are at the Family History Library and their call numbers. Family History Library book FHL book973 D22am index; FHL film 1698167 item 4; fiche 6088377.
  • Sinclair, Donald Arleigh, Compiler, A New Jersey Biographical Index: Covering Some 100,000 Biographies and Associated Portraits in 237 New Jersey Cyclopedias, Histories, Yearbooks, Periodicals, and Other Collective Biographical Sources Published to About 1980. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1993. FHL book 974.9 D32s.

Family History Library

Most of these and other important New Jersey genealogical collections can be found in the Family History Library Catalog Place Search under:

NEW JERSEY - GENEALOGY
NEW JERSEY, [COUNTY] -GENEALOGY

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