Sunday, May 20, 2012

Spring Seminar 2012 in Newton, New Jersey

Saturday (May 19, 2012) was the Spring Seminar of the Genealogical Society of New Jersey at the First Presbyterian Church in Newton, followed by a tour of the Sussex County Historical Society.

The Presbyterian Historical Society told us about their physical repository in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 425 Lombard Street. The records are not indexed, so you will need to know names, dates, and specific churches to conduct an effective search.  Records may also be maintained at the original location, so check before driving to Philadelphia.

Joseph R Klett discussed how to use the records of the East and West Jersey Proprietors, which were incorporated original landowners.  These early records are now housed in the Archives at Trenton.  Some are searchable online, but most are not digitized, indexed, or abstracted.  (You can't find everything online!)  I did not realize that in the 1600s, Burlington County stretched as far north as the New York State border; or that the East Jersey Proprietors dissolved in 1998 while the West Jersey Proprietors is still an active organization.

Online link to the index for some early proprietor records at the Archives.

Gerald H Smith advised us to use a property description in a deed to draw the lot and then use land maps to locate ancestors and the neighbors that they often married.
Typical property description.  Although the trees are likely long gone, use the lengths, angles, and neighboring properties to draw out an approximate shape for the lot.  Main roads and rivers as borders may still exist.

Old property descriptions use a length of "Chains." The Historical Society had such a measuring device on display.
The Historical Society has files on many local families from Sussex County and neighboring counties of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Your original family photographs could be waiting for you here.

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