New Jersey County Resources

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This entry was originally written by Roger D. Joslyn, CG, FUGA, FGBS, FASG for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

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The State of New Jersey is divided into twenty-one counties in which are recorded transfers of land, estates, court, and other records (see New Jersey Court Records). Each county is governed by a Board of Freeholders, whose records should not be overlooked. Other useful county records may be located in the courthouses or at the New Jersey State Archives, including Justice of the Peace Dockets; tavern, peddlers’, and shopkeepers’ licenses; road books; and slave births and manumissions.

Some New Jersey counties have established or are establishing county record centers and archives, to which older records are transferred for better preservation and use by researchers. Such facilities, in one stage or another, exist in the counties of Bergen, Cape May, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Salem, Somerset, and Sussex. Most clerks still retain custody over such material and should be contacted first about the location and access to a particular record.

Most municipal records are still in the townships, boroughs, and cities, but selected ancient town books are at the state archives, and other town records may be found at local historical societies, the New Jersey Historical Society, and at Rutgers Special Collections and University Archives. Such records list earmarks (although some are also found in county records), indigents, elected officials, stray animals, and so forth. The Records of the Town of Newark, New Jersey…1666, To…1836 (Newark, N.J.: New Jersey Historical Society, 1864) was published as volume 6 of the Collections of the New Jersey Historical Society, with a supplement issued two years later that included genealogical notes of the first settlers by Samuel H. Congar.

Based on an act by the state legislature in 1979, New Jersey has a system of local historians who are “to promote and preserve the history of the municipality/ies.” Such historians may be appointed in the counties, townships, and boroughs, and thus their coverage is less than it should be. A list of historians can be obtained from the New Jersey Historical Commission, 225 W. State St., 4th Floor, P.O. Box 305, Trenton, NJ 08625-0305

The first column of the following table contains the map coordinates for the state map. In the second column is the name of the county with the mailing address of the county clerk, where deeds, mortgages, early marriages, naturalizations, and other records are to be found. In the third column is given the date the county was created and the name or names of the parent county or counties. The fourth column has the date the earliest land deed was recorded. Where two years appear, the first refers to mortgages, the second to deeds. Under New Jersey law, mortgages were first recorded in the counties in 1766 and deeds in 1785. Some counties have abstracts of earlier deeds from their parent counties (see New Jersey Land Records). In the last column is the date when Surrogate’s records begin, followed by the mailing address of the county Surrogate’s Court, if different from the county clerk. Where two years are given, the first is the date when orphans’ court minutes begin, the second is when Surrogate’s records and files begin (see New Jersey Probate Records).

Map County County Address Date Formed Parent County(ies) Deeds Surrogates' Court
H4 Atlantic 5901 Main St., CN 2005 Mays Landing 08330 1837 Gloucester 1837 1837 1201 Bacharach Blvd. Atlantic City 08401
B6 Bergen 1 Bergen County Plaza Hackensack 07601-7000 1683 East Jersey Province 1766/1829 1785/1804 County Justice Center Rm. 211 10 Main St. Hackensack 07601-7691
Earlier records of the county clerk are in the archives, Cultural and Historic Affairs, 1 Bergen County Plaza, Room 425. These include deeds, 1707—1828 (Libers A—Z2), chattel mortgages, soldier burials, justices and freeholders records, voter registrations, slave births and manumissions, and early court records, as well as microfilm of archival court and other records, the originals of which are now at the state archives.
G4 Burlington 103 County Office Bldg. 49 Rancocas Rd. Mount Holly 08060-1384 1694 West Jersey Province 1766/1785 1785/1804 116 County Office Bldg 49 Rancocas Rd. Mount Holly 08060-1384
Courts were established in 1681.
G3 Camden Hall of Justice 101 South 5th St. Camden 08103-4001 1844 Gloucester 1844 1844
K4 Cape May Cape May Court House 7 N. Main St., DN 109 08210-3096 1692 West Jersey Province 1770/1785 1786/1804 4 Moore Rd., DN 207 Cape May Court House 8210
Courts were established in 1685.
J2 Cumberland 60 West Broad St. Bridgeton 08302 1748 Salem 1766/1785 1785/1804
C6 Essex 1683 Hall of Records Rm. 240 1783/1728 East Jersey Province 1783/1804 Rm. 130 Rm. 213
The Hall of Records is located at 465 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Newark, NJ 07102. Volume A of deeds, dating back to 1688, was supposedly destroyed in a fire. Volume A of mortgages is missing.
G2 Gloucester 1 N. Broad St. P.O. Box 129 Woodbury 08096-0129 1686 West Jersey Province 1766/1785 1785/1804 1 N. Broad St. P.O. Box 177 Woodbury 08096-7177
The courthouse was destroyed by fire in 1786. Miscellaneous early court records are at the Gloucester County Historical Society, 17 Hunter Street, Woodbury, NJ 08096.
C6 Hudson 101 Admin. Bldg. 583 Newark Ave. Jersey City 07306-2301 1840 Bergen 1840 1840 Register’s Office 104 Admin Bldg. 595 Newark Ave. Jersey City 07306-2301
D3 Hunterdon Hall of Records 71 Main St. Flemington 08822 1714 West Jersey Province/Burlington 1766/1785 1785/1804 65 Park Ave. Flemington 08822-1495
E4 Mercer 209 South Broad St. P.O. Box 8068 Trenton 08650-8068 1838 Somerset/Middle-sex/Hunterdon/Burlington 1838 1838
D5 Middlesex County Admin Bldg. 4th Floor John F. Kennedy Sq. P.O. Box 1110 New Brunswick 08903-1110 1683 East Jersey Province 1766/1785 1786/1804 County Admin Bldg. 1st Floor 1 John F. Kennedy Sq. P.O. Box 790 New Brunswick 08903
E6 Monmouth Hall of Records, Rm. 111 1 East Main St. Freehold 07728-1251 1683 East Jersey Province 1766/1667 1785/1804 Hall of Records Freehold 07728-1265
Some records were destroyed by the British in 1778, which might explain the gap in the deeds from 1756 to 1785. Older records have been transferred to a county records center.
B5 Morris Admin. & Records Bldg. Court Street P.O. Box 315 Morristown 07960-0315 1739 Hunterdon 1765/1785 1785/1804 Admin. & Records Bldg. P.O. Box 900 Morristown 07960-0900
Early Surrogate’s files and books, circuit court and court of common pleas records, naturalizations, marriages (1795—1876), and other material are located at the Morris County Records Center and Archives, 300 Mendham Rd., Morristown, NJ 07960, which should be contacted before a visit.
F6 Ocean 105 Courthouse 118 Washington Ave. P.O. Box 2191 Toms River 08754-2191 1850 Monmouth 1850 1850 211 Courthouse P.O. Box 2191 Toms River 08754-2191
A5 Passaic 401 Grand St., Rm. 130 Paterson 07505-2018 1837 Bergen/Essex 1837 1837 Courthouse, Rm. 101 Paterson 07505
H2 Salem 92 Market St. P.O. Box 18 Salem 08079-0018 1694 West Jersey Province 1766/1786 1785/1804 92 Market St. Salem 08079-1913
Courts were established in 1681.
D4 Somerset 110 Admin. Bldg. 20 Grove St. P.O. Box 3000 Somerville 08876-3000 1688 Middlesex 1765/1785 1794/1804 112 Admin. Bldg. P.O. Box 3000 Somerville 08876-3000
In 1779 the courthouse, then at Millstone, was burned.
A4 Sussex 4 Park Place Newton 07860 1753 Morris 1766/1785 1804
C5 Union 2 Broad St. P.O. Box 6073 Elizabeth 07207-2204 1857 Essex 1857 1857 2 Broad St. Elizabeth 07207-6073
B3 Warren 118 Courthouse 413 Second St. Belvidere 07823 1824 Sussex 1825 1825 413 Second St. Belvidere 07823-1500