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New Jersey Genealogy

Getting important state documents for New Jersey genealogy is a bit easier than some other states as the privacy restrictions are less stringent. You should be able to look back to at least 1901 and possibly to around 1878 (in some counties) in your search for records.

New Jersey Vital Records

One feature that makes getting vital records easier for any New Jersey genealogy research is that the state will issue both certified and non-certified copies. The certified versions can be used for legal ID purposes, and will only be issued to immediate family members. But if you request a non-certified, or "plain paper" copy that is not legal for ID, then you can make a request for anyone.

The privacy restrictions also run out in 1901, so any old records you are looking for should be open to the public no matter what your relation is.

Another factor is the age of the record. Requests for older records will be flagged as "genealogical", and the processing times will be slower because they are not a high priority. The cut-off for this is 80 years for birth records, 50 years for marriage and 40 years for death certificates. Your application process is the same, just be aware that these requests take longer.

To make your application, you can get the forms from the Department of Health and Senior Services website, and send the completed documents to the Vital Records office in Trenton. You can also take your application in person to their service counter but only if you have a non-genealogical (recent record year) request. Mailed requests will take 12 to 14 weeks for genealogical documents.

There are also fees to be included with your forms. They are a little more expensive than other states, at $25 each (non refundable). You'll have to pay by check or money order.

State Archives

For a broader look at New Jersey genealogy, you can take a visit to the State Department's division of Archives and Records Management. Depending on the type of document, they have some material dating back to the 1600s.

Their holdings include all manner of government-issued documents such as legal files, old vital records, military documents, county-level records, census records, school records and more. Several of these collections have indexes that you can search on their website for more details.

If you want to visit the Archives, they are located in Trenton and are open Monday to Friday during business hours.

New Jersey Genealogy Groups

Another option for finding more on New Jersey genealogy is to join a group of other researchers. For state-wide coverage, you can either contact the Genealogical Society of New Jersey or the New Jersey Historical Society.

Most counties also have their own smaller groups, either for genealogy or more general historical societies. There are even more specialized groups such as the Society of the War of 1812 in New Jersey, or the Jewish Genealogical Society of North Jersey.

Whatever group you choose, you will gain access to personal information that is not available outside of the groups. Networking with others is a valuable tool on its own.

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