LOCAL HISTORY & GENEALOGY
New Brunswick Free Public Library has a rich local history and genealogy collection related primarily to New Brunswick and Middlesex County. Our holdings include newspaper clippings, books, pamphlets, slides, microfilms, city directories, photographs, post cards, maps, manuscripts, and letters. Our reference staff can assist with general research requests and will guide patrons to possible resources so they can do their own searching. Please call 732-745-5108 x20 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download a PowerPoint Presentation from Ms. Jackie Oshman, our Genealogical Specialist, which gives an overview of simple family research tips.
The library has a variety of historical materials including field books, insurance and tax maps, city directories from 1855, and 166 volumes of the DAR Lineage Books. Information on local manufacturers, historical buildings, government officials and people, celebrations and events are also available.
To view a list of materials available for use in our Reference Room, please click here. Contents include materials found in the Archives, New Brunswick Room, and New Brunswick Vertical Files.
Check out our new nbfplarchive website, created to provide access to information from holdings within our archival collections. We will be adding content to this site as often as we are able, so keep on checking back to see what's there!
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Home News Tribune Digital Microfilm
Access digital images of the Home News Tribune online. Papers from 2010 forward are available. View the QuickStart Guide for help in using this service, or click here to start. (If using it from a computer outside of the library, you will need a New Brunswick Free Public Library Card.)
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New Brunswick Daily Times 1871-1916 and Daily Home News 1887, 1889, 1903-1926
(Sunday newspapers are currently absent from the database during the period of 5/1916-12/1926. Please contact the library to use microfilms.)
Funding in part has been provided by the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission, Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, and the New Jersey Historical Commission/Department of State. The project was also made possible with the permission of The Home News Tribune, and the generous support of the New Brunswick Historical Society.
We would like your feedback on this database! Your comments will help us improve our services and support future historical projects. Please call 732-745-5108 x20, or send an email to email@example.com.
The newspapers were digitized at 400 dpi. You can choose to search by keyword or browse by date. Due to the nature of our microfilms and the limitation of automatic OCR (Optical character recognition) indexing, a significant amount of words were not recognized by the computer when creating this database. Therefore, if you are searching for “Elmwood Cemetery” or “George K. Parsell,” please try using part of the names/phrases like “Elmwood”, “George Parsell” or “Parsell” only, to get a better search result. Our staff continues to work on improving the accuracy of the indexing.
You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the newspaper pages. After you click on the link on the result page, a PDF file will be opened with the search term highlighted. The search box on the left gives you a list of abstracts that contain your search term. You can close it to view the newspaper better, and click on the binocular icon on the left to bring the box back again. To view the full page of the newspapers, simply click the orange “View Full Page” button on the top of the page.
Printing and saving:
You can choose to print the full page or the current view of the page by clicking the printer icon in the tool bar. If you only want to print a specific article, you will need to save the newspapers first, open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat Reader, and then select Tools > Select & Zoom > Snapshot Tool to highlight the article you wish to print. After highlighting the article, go to File > Print, and “Selected Graphic” should be automatically selected for you to print.
If you need assistance or have any questions, please call the Reference Desk at 732-745-5108 x20 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. A librarian will be happy to help you.
Click here to search!
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The following list shows the title of the publications followed by the dates of the issues that the library has in its collection of microfilm, which can be viewed on one of our readers in the Reference Room.
Arnett's Brunswick Advertiser/Genius of Liberty
Century: A Popular Quarterly
"Fredonians" in various titles*:
- 6/1811-12/1834 (with missing issues)
- New-Brunswick Daily Fredonian (continued by Daily Fredonian)
- New-Brunswick Weekly Fredonian
- New Brunswick Semi Weekly Fredonian
- Daily Fredonian
Guardian, or New-Brunswick Advertiser
Home News Tribune (Home News/Daily Home News)
1887; 1889; 1903-present
New Brunswick Commercial Advertiser
New Brunswick Daily Press
New Brunswick Daily Times (both microfilm and online)
New Brunswick Observer
New Brunswick Press
1/20, 1/27, 2/17, 2/24/1921
New Brunswick Spokesman
New Jersey Federalist and Genius of Liberty & New Brunswick Advertiser
New York Times
9/1851-12/2009 (subscription to be discontinued)
Political Intellegencer & New Jersey Advertiser
Sunday Morning Post
The Sunday Times (est. 1792)
5/1916-12/1929 (with some missing dates)
The Times And New-Brunswick Advertiser
10/1827-10/1854; 12/1860-12/1863; 1/1868-8/1869 (with some missing pages and issues)
The Times and New Jersey Union**
The Weekly Times (The New Brunswick Times) (est. 1799)
* The Daily Fredonian, established in 1855, was published by The Fredonian Publishing Co.. H. M. Woodmanser was the manager.
The Fredonian was printed and published by D. & J. Fitz Randolph on Burnet St., New Brunswick every Wednesday.
The New-Brunswick Daily Fredonian was established in 1855 by John F. Babcock
John F. Babcock was the editor and proprietor of The New-Brunswick Weekly Fredonian. The paper was established in 1811 and was published every Thursday.
** The Times was a weekly newspaper published in New Brunswick, NJ. It started publication in 1826. It followed the Times & New-Brunswick Advertiser.
The title changed to The Times and New Jersey Union sometime in 1854. It reverted back to The Times on Dec. 13, 1860. It became the New Brunswick Weekly Times on Sept. 2, 1869. It ceased publication sometime in 1891 and became the Weekly Times.
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New Brunswick Firehouse Logs
The details of life in New Brunswick a century ago are documented in the thousands of pages of the New Brunswick firehouse daily logs available now at the New Brunswick Free Public Library. Please click here for the finding guide. To view the actual ditigitized logs, please visit the library at 60 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick, NJ 08901. For more information, please contact the Reference Desk at: 732.745.5108 x20.
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In October of 2007, StoryCorps came to the New Brunswick Free Public Library to help capture an oral history of New Brunswick. Click here for more details, and to access selected stories.
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Check out our digitized collection of historic New Brunswick-area postcards to view images of the city in its past. Just click here!
We also have a new collection of local photos here!
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Vital Records: Birth, Marriage and Death Records
The library has an index card file to New Brunswick’s birth, marriage and death records for the following:
- Births: 1882 -1963
- Marriages: 1915 -1984
- Deaths: 1924 -1970
The index cards have limited details. Birth and Death index cards simply have the person's name and the date of the birth or death. Marriage cards only have the groom's name and the date of the marriage. These cards are grouped by years, and within those years they are in alphabetical order by the last name.
The library does not have any vital statistic records beyond the index file. For copies of birth, marriage or death certificates, please see the City of New Brunswick’s Department of Social Services web site or call 732-745-5018 for Vital Statistics.
If what you need is not available through the City of New Brunswick,
you may want to search on the state level. The State of New Jersey
Department of Health and Senior Services has a useful Vital Records page. The NJ State
Library also has a helpful Genealogy and Local History page.
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New Brunswick Cemeteries
The Reference Department may be able to supply historical or other general information about New Brunswick cemeteries. Local cemeteries include the Baptist Cemetery, Central (Cheesman) Cemetery, Christ Episcopal Church Yard, Elmwood Cemetery, Evergreen Cemetery North Brunswick, First Dutch Reformed Churchyard, Presbyterian Cemetery, Van Liew Cemetery North Brunswick, the M.E [Methodist Episcopalian] Cemetery, Pitman, the "Old Cath [Catholic] Cemetery", St. Peter’s Cemetery, Poile Zedek Cemetery, and Willow Grove Cemetery. See below for more specific details about two of these cemeteries:
Willow Grove Cemetery Website.
Check out our new website devoted entirely to the Willow Grove Cemetery Complex. This website provides information on the three cemeteries that make up this complex, a cemetery map, and a directory with a handy search feature.
The City of New Brunswick received a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of Cultural Affairs in the Department of State, which aided in the indexing of the grave markers and the development of this web site.
You can also download a PDF of an inventory of the Willow Grove Cemetery here. (Once you have opened the PDF, you can use the "find" feature to search for names, years, etc.)
Elmwood Cemetery Self-Guided Tour Map
The Elmwood Cemetery, located in North Brunswick and New Brunswick, is both a beautiful Victorian era cemetery and a significant resource for those doing genealogical research. There are approximately 15,000 internments primarily from the 1870s through the first half of the Twentieth Century.
The Elmwood Cemetery Association and the New Brunswick Historical Society have produced a self-guided tour map of the cemetery. If you would like free copies of the map or biographical information about the families, please contact the New Brunswick Historical Society at email@example.com, the Elmwood Cemetery Association at firstname.lastname@example.org (732.545.1545), or the New Brunswick Free Public Library at 732.745.5108 or email@example.com. If you wish to download a copy of the map, click here or http://sites.google.com/site/fotwhjh/home/outreach/elmwood-cemetery-map-and-walking-tour
The families named in the tour guide include Atkinson, Benedict, Bishop, Boyd, Campbell, Carpender, Cook, Demarest, Deshler, Florance, Geipel, Janeway, Janeway, Jarrard, Johnson, Kilmer, L’Hommdieu, Laurie, Ludlow, MacKinney, McIntosh, Merchant, Meyer, Onderdonk, Parker, Parsell, Pullen, Schenck, Strong, Susskind, Voorhees, Waldron, and Wolfe.
This map was made possible by a grant from the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission, the Middles County Board of Chosen Freeholders, and the New Jersey Historical Commission of the Department of State. The principal investigator was Elizabeth A. Ciccone.
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New Brunswick War Casualties
To view a PDF of a word document listing casulaties of the Civil War from New Brunswick, click on the following link:
New Brunswick Civil War Casualties
To view a PDF of a list of World War II and other war casualties for New Brunswick, click on the following link:
New Brunswick WWII+ Casualties
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A major New Jersey Historical Resource is now online thanks to Princeton University Library:
New Brunswick Sanborn Maps
From Princeton's press release:
Each town or city link leads to a town/city website that lists each individual sheet, grouped by year. Princeton, for example, has Sanborn sheets for 1885, 1890, 1905, 1902, 1906, 1911, 1918, 1927. Clicking on the individual sheet brings up its high-resolution digital image. Copyright restrictions prevent us from showing online images of post-1922 maps — but even those are listed on these websites and can be viewed in person in our department’s reading room in Firestone Library. If the sheet or year is not represented, we don’t have it. A good way to get an idea of which sheet you need to see is to start with an "overview" sheet, if one is provided in the list.
All the Sanborn records are also available by searching in Princeton University Library’s online catalog. There is one record for each city/town/year. A url in that record will also bring you to the town/city’s website. One easy way is to browse the maps in a subject search, using a phrase like "maps—new jersey".
For those of you New Jerseyans who have never looked at a Sanborn fire insurance map: Do so now, for you’ve been missing out on a truly fabulous resource for tracking the historic development of your own community! Your own home or place of business may be on the map!
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Research Databases & Websites
Ancestry Library contains a wide range of genealogical and historical information: It provides access to multiple resources including census collections from many different countries, passenger lists, vital record indexes and WWI draft registration cards, among others. The library's subscription is available for in-library use only.
HeritageQuest Online combines digital, searchable images of U.S. federal census records with the digitized version of the popular UMI Genealogy & Local History collection and other valuable content. (Use your New Brunswick library card number as your log-in number to access from home.)
Ellis Island Records
A free website provided by The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation.
"FamilySearch is the largest genealogy organization in the world. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. For over 100 years, FamilySearch has been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide. Patrons may freely access our resources and service online at FamilySearch.org."
"Find the graves of ancestors, create virtual memorials, add 'virtual flowers' and a note to a loved one's grave, etc."
Historic New Brunswick
The History page of New Brunswick City Market's website, NewBrunswick.com.
Kean University Library newspaper databases
The Kean University Library has, among other things, a New Jersey Historical Newspapers database with access to more than 40 historic NJ newspapers, including two New Brunswick historical newspapers: the Fredonian and Political Intelligencer. This database is limited to on-site access, however: you must go to Kean to use it.
National Obituary Archive
"The National Obituary Archive™ is the world's largest repository of obituaries and death records with more than 55 million individual entries on file. Visitors may search the archive freely to learn about the deaths of friends or family or to explore relationships when building family trees or doing genealogical research."
New Jersey Digital Highway
"The New Jersey Digital Highway is your 'one stop shop' for New Jersey history and culture, from the collections of NJ libraries, museums, archives and historical societies."
New Jersey State Archive
"The State Archives operates New Jersey's research center for public records of enduring historical value."
"An ancestry.com community."
A "large number of items related to the history of Rutgers University and the City of New Brunswick."
Rutgers Special Collections and University Archives
"Within its four major divisions (Sinclair New Jersey Collection, Manuscript Collection, Rare Book Collection, and University Archives), Special Collections and University Archives collects, preserves, and makes available primary sources of a rare, unique, or specialized nature to support advanced study and research in the humanities and social sciences."
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