New Jersey County Clerks and Surrogate’s Records
The New Jersey County Clerks and Surrogates are Constitutional 5 year term elected offices whose record holdings (in most cases) date back to the incorporation of their county.
The County Clerk oversees elections, and retains the related records as well as land and property records, county marriages, registered businesses, and county level naturalizations.
The County Surrogate is a Clerk of New Jersey Superior Court, Chancery Division, Probate Part and Judge of the Surrogate’s Court, who acts in place of the Governor for each county, overseeing the administration of estates and adoptions. The Surrogate retains the records related to these functions, including: administrations, wills, divisions of land, probate, orphan’s court, and adoption records.
The New Jersey State Archives has microfilmed copies of Clerk’s and Surrogate’s records for in-person public use for most counties until about 1900 in most cases. The county offices generally retain ownership in of the original records, and should be contacted if copies are needed for any official purpose, or if the patron would like records sent through the mail. A listing of marriage and naturalization records held by the Archives rather than the county offices is below.
Familysearch.org has begun digitizing County Records, including Marriage Records and Deeds. Genealogical researchers may use this site to obtain copies for unofficial use. If copies are needed for any other reason, the owning office should be contacted. (Note: to access the collections on this site, you must login with a free account.)
Some county offices have searchable online databases for property, wills, naturalizations, or businesses. These are listed below. If the county does not offer a searchable index, links are provided to the main website.
Popular County Records Owned by the New Jersey State Archives
County Marriages: Atlantic, Burlington, Cumberland, Essex, Mercer, Somerset, Sussex, Union
County Naturalizations: Burlington (1790-1956), Camden (1844-1932), Essex (1792-1934), Mercer (1838-1940), Ocean (1850-1966), Sussex (1817-1948), and Union (1857-1931)
The State Archives does own additional County Clerk’s and Surrogate’s records. For more information on their holdings, please check the searchable catalog.
Some county offices have searchable online databases for property, wills, naturalizations, or businesses. If the county does not offer a searchable index, links are provided to the main website.