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Genealogy: New Jersey State Archives Resources

Interested in learning more about Genealogy? Come in for basic how-to information and a look at New Jersey resources!

New Jersey State Archives

The New Jersey State Archives is the Records Repository of the State of New Jersey.  Its large collection of Primary Documents include New Jersey Vital Records (Birth, Marriage, and Death), Military Service Records (pre-WWII), Wills and Inventories, Colonial Deeds, Court Records, and Naturalization Records.

Many genealogical collections owned by the Archives are available for order online or by mail.  You may use the searchable catalog to locate records sets of interest, or search the online databases.

If you are not a computer user, call (609) 292-6260 to request a Mail Reference Packet.  This printed guide contains collection descriptions and order forms for Vital Records and other collections available for order.

Note that the New Jersey State Archives is a separate entity from the New Jersey State Library.  If you have questions about any NJSA collections, services, or copy fees, please contact (609) 292-6260.

Genealogy Collection Description

Vital Record Example

Marriage of Nikkolai Aaros and Laurasine Leeise, April 28, 1906

Revolutionary and Civil War Records

The Archives has searchable collections of Military Service Records of soldiers who served in New Jersey Regiments or Militias for both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.  Military documents relate to a soldier's service, meaning they are unlikely to contain biographical information, and most commonly are either muster rolls or pay records. 

Revolutionary War Service Records are organized into two indexed systems by soldier's last name: The Compiled Service Cards (overall summary of a soldier's service based on the collection documents in which he was mentioned) and Revolutionary War Slips (abstracts of individual documents where a soldier is mentioned). A soldier will have one Compiled Service Card, and may have several Slips. Both the Compiled Service Cards and the Slips will lead the researcher to the original documents where the soldier is named. You may check Stryker's Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Revolutionary War to see if a family member served before ordering a Revolutionary War Service Record.  

Civil War Regimental Records are organized by Regiment, Company, and Record Type. Soldiers are most likely to appear on Muster and Allotment Rolls, although their names or signatures may appear in other types of documents.  In addition to the Regimental Records collection, there are also Bound Muster Rolls (organized by Regiment and Company) and Muster Rolls by Congressional District (Organized by Enrollment Date). You may check Stryker's Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Civil War (Civil War Service Records searchable database) to see if a family member served before ordering his service records. In addition to service records, the Archives has a searchable database of Civil War Treasury Vouchers, which include both pay records and some discharge papers. If your soldier was an officer he may have had a photographic portrait taken. Be sure to check the Carte de Visite collection.

Wills and Inventories ca. 1670-1952

All copies of Secretary of State's Estate Records and 20th Century Records are available for order from the Archives.

Ancestry.com has digital copies of the will index ca. 1670-1900 and will abstracts ca. 1670-1817.  If you google the titles, you can also find digital copies free online.  The indexes and abstracts are also available in print at both the Archives and the State Library.

 

Vital Records

New Jersey Birth, Marriage, and Death Records were collected by the state starting in May 1848.  The Archives owns Vital Records that are 100 years old and older.

Current Holdings of State Vital Records owned by the Archives (changes every January):

Births: May 1848-December 1917

Marriages: May 1848-December 1917

Deaths: May 1848-December 1917

Notes: The Archives' Searchable Databases page also includes vital records order forms, which you are able to fill in and submit online, or print out and mail.  The Archives has online indexes Marriages May 1848-May1878Deaths May 1848-May 1878 and Deaths June 1878-June 1897 (this index is in progress, more to be added). FamilySearch.org has indexed State vital records May 1848-December 1900.  Ancestry has New Jersey State Vital Records indexes for 1901, 1902, and 1903.  Reclaim the Records has added New Jersey Marriage Indexes by Bride's name 1901-1948 and by both Bride and Groom's names 1949-2016 to Archive.org.  Reclaim the Records has also created a searchable/browsable Index to New Jersey Deaths 1901-2017.  Note that the index 1920-1924 is incomplete and there is currently no index for 1904-1919 or 1930-1948.  Records 2001-2017 are searchable, all other indexes are browsable.

Current Holding of State Vital Records Less than 100 years old available for in-person use only (changes infrequently):

Births: January 1918-December 1923

Marriages: January 1918-December 1948 (with Brides' Index to December 1948)

Deaths: January 1918-December 1955 

Note: If official copies are needed, contact the Department of Health, Office of Vital Statistics and Registry at 609-292-4087.

Marriage Records Pre May 1848:

County Marriage Records: ca. 1795 (or when county formed)-1900

Note: The Archives owns marriage records for the following counties: Atlantic, Burlington, Cumberland, Essex, Mercer, Somerset, Sussex, Union.  FamilySearch.org has digitized many of the County Marriage Records.

Colonial Marriage Bonds: ca. 1666-1799 are listed in a searchable database on the Archives' website.

Civil War Carte de Visite

Civil War Carte de Visite for Col. Henry W. Brown, 3rd NJ Volunteers

Burlington Declaration of Intention Example


John Shahol, Burlington County Declaration of Intention #3115

v. 23, August 19, 1936

County Naturalization Records

Beginning in the late 18th century, a person wishing to obtain citizenship would apply to the County Court of Common Pleas. This was a two-step process: a Declaration of Intention (statement that petitioner wished to become a citizen) and a Petition for Naturalization (citizenship application). Pre-1906 Naturalization Records will not provide a specific town or state/county of origin. After 1906, you are more likely to find personal information such as a birth event or a person’s specific address/location at the time of application.

Before the 19th Amendment, women rarely applied for naturalization. Because they could not vote, they naturalized under their husband or father, and only his name and information will appear on any documentation.  

Naturalization Records for the following counties are available to order from the New Jersey State Archives: Burlington (1790-1956), Camden (1844-1932), Essex (1792-1934), Hudson (1840-1948), Mercer (1838-1940), Ocean (1850-1966), Sussex (1817-1948), and Union (1857-1931). The Archives does have additional county naturalization holdings for in-person use only. Check the searchable catalog for details.

Newspapers

The Archives' newspaper collection holdings and date ranges vary from town to town. There is a printed newspaper holdings list by county and town available for in person use. There is not a name or subject index for the Newspaper Collection as a whole. However, there is a card file index for marriages and obituaries in Trenton newspapers 1776-1899. For questions about newspaper holdings at the Archives, call (609) 292-6260.

Early Land and Supreme Court Records

Early Land Records and Supreme Court Case File Records can be surprising genealogical gold mines for researchers working on their Colonial or early 19th Century family history. Due to the nature of some of the land transactions or court cases, familial relationships, reports of birth, marriage, or death events, and details of personal wealth and property may be included.

Both collections have been indexed by surname and are searchable via the Archives website. The searchable databases for the collections includes detailed abstracts for many entries to give researchers a better idea of the contents of the land record or case file. There is a print index to Colonial Secretary of State's Deeds called Colonial Conveyances which both the Archives and the State Library have. However, the Early Land Records collection has additional holdings not included in the publication.

Contact The Archives

New Jersey State Archives      225 W. State Street P.O. Box 307 Trenton, NJ 08625-0307      609.292.6260     njarchives@sos.nj.gov

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