I have access to an amazing amount of information that the state provides in Trenton. While it is not stunningly lucrative, I do find sharing this wealth with others to be quite enjoyable. I feel that old satisfying shock of discovery with each successful search, even when it is for others' trees, a sensation produced less and less frequently with my own research as I slowly run out of easy angles to pursue. And I meet some nice people. I will do my very best to try to find what you need and respectfully ask that you do your level best in providing me the information I need in a clear fashion, so that I am well equipped to conduct the search just as you would want to yourself. I prefer spending less time sorting out the information provided to me and more time making sure I find whatever is available for you. Some searches will produce ideal results. Some will produce documents that offer less detail than might have been hoped for. Some will find no document and will lead us to potentially try other types of sources which may require more effort.
Most simple searches are $5 each. Add $4 for your total request to cover printing and shipping. You receive a printed or digital copy of the document you request if it exists. More intensive searches can be arranged. The easiest way to determine price when a more complicated search is required is to go to the search form and enter the information relating to the family members you are searching for. I will reply via email with information on cost once I have seen the challenge you have set out for me. :)
-- Research options
Once I find some goodies for you, it may whet your appetite for subsequent searches. I find that the best place to start is with the BMD records. Searches should always start with the least time-consuming and most promising methods and continue from there until the information needed is located. As we find (or fail to find) some of your desired info, you may have an interest in following up in other areas. What follows is a list of just some of the resources available to me at a number of facilities and within my own collection. All apply to all of NJ and only NJ except where noted.
Since these are arranged by year and county, having some idea when and where the individual was born is helpful.
Indexed by county. Knowing general location is helpful.
Arranged by year. Once again, knowing the year reduces it down to a simple pull.
Arranged by year and county.
Arranged by year.
--Wills up to 1900
These can provide an amazing amount of detail. These are a bit more expensive since they take up several pages.
--Will abstracts to 1817
In place of the printed copies of the will, which are sometimes difficult to read, the abstract provides a typewritten transcript of the will's pertinent content.
These can be a bit unpredictable and may require searching a number of different sources. These are almost always filed under a man's name, as wives would be naturalized with their husbands. Availability depends on county and can extend up to 1929.
Revolutionary through Spanish-American for NJ
I have access to hundreds of these from around the country, including yearly issues for NJ cities like Trenton, Camden, Newark and some ofr many mid-sized Jersey towns. These can sometimes be used as a brute force method of pinning down a date of death, immigration, etc. This in turn can lead to other more descriptive records. If you let me know which city is of interest to you, I can check availability.
-- Federal census records, NJ, 1830-1930
The 1910 census is unindexed and will usually require a more intensive search. With some of the later censuses, the schedule forms are too large to produce an ideal print. Here, partial prints or transcriptions are recommended.
-- NJ state census records, 1855-1915
These are not all that detailed and not indexed, but can help in tracking down a short-lived child, or for overcoming the absence of that blasted 1890 census that went up in smoke! I have mostly just used the 1885 and 1895 censuses here myself, for just that purpose. A last desperate act to get that tough one cracked, basically.
-- Hundreds of NJ newspapers, each in various runs that range from 1770's-1990's.
Great for obits, marriage and birth notices, etc. Philly and NYC papers available also.
Upon request, some New Jersey cemeteries can be searched and photographed. Cost and availability of such research are completely date- and location-dependent at my discretion. In general, cemetery trips within or near Mercer County will be considered. In some cases, I may have access to a transcription, and can do research without a direct visit.
A couple of caveats
1) Unpredictable results:
In my experience I have found these records to be satisfyingly complete, but as can be expected with older records there will be the occasional missing person or illegible name. In some families the legal requirement to record vital events (especially births) was not always fulfilled. In occasional instances the certificate will exist but be partly incomplete since not all information was known by the parties present at the time.
2) Detailed information about the individual may be essential:
If your family member has a common first name and a fairly common surname, there will be many instances of your relative's name that will appear in my search. In these cases it will be critical to provide enough detail about the indidivual so that he/she may be discerned from the others having the same name. Insufficient details may lead to a failed search, even though the requested document may be on file.
If you are uncertain whether the information you have pertaining to an individual is complete enough for a successful search to be attempted, not to worry. Provide as much as you can and hold off on payment. I will get back to you if what you have provided is insufficient and requires a different approach.
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