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people on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey

New Jersey Research: Four Centuries of History and Genealogy

November 29, 2023 and December 6, 13, 20, 2023
Live broadcasts: Wednesday 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. ET
Kyle Hurst
Kimberly Mannisto
10% Member Discount

Throughout its history—from Dutch colony to English Province to statehood—New Jersey has been characterized by its ethnic and religious diversity. Immigrants settled within its borders attracted by fertile land, industry, and religious tolerance. Today it is the most densely settled state in the United States. Despite its long history, however, New Jersey is known for several gaps in the records: several courthouses and churches were destroyed by the British during the American Revolution and inconsistent recordkeeping was pervasive in the 19th century. This online course will help fill those gaps, providing a century-by-century look at the records, resources, repositories, and research strategies essential to exploring your New Jersey roots. We will also look at the historical context, settlement patterns, and migrations within the state.

This course includes four 90-minute classes and exclusive access to handouts and recordings of each presentation. These recordings and all course materials will be available for the foreseeable future.

Boardwalk, Atlantic City, N. J. New Jersey United States Atlantic City, ca. 1905. Photograph.

November 29 - Class 1: 17th-Century Research:
Presented by Kyle Hurst 

This first class will explore the history, people and resources for 17th-century New Jersey genealogical research, beginning with an overview of the region’s indigenous population and settlement. We’ll then cover the establishment of New Netherlands in 1614, which attracted Dutch, Swedish, and Finnish settlers, until the British took control of the region 50 years later and renamed it “New Jersey.” We will discuss how this century of tremendous change for New Jersey shaped the colony’s population and the available record sets, as well as strategies to help you in your research.


December 6 - Class 2: 18th-Century Research:
Presented by Kim Mannisto

During the 18th century, more immigrants arrived in New Jersey to seek political and religious freedom, making it one of the most ethnically diverse colonies. This century also brought Revolution, and New Jersey was truly at the epicenter of the Revolutionary War—more battles were fought there than in any other state. In this class, will discuss essential records and strategies for tracing your ancestors in New Jersey during this period, including those who fought in the Revolutionary War.


December 13 - Class 3: 19th-Century Research:
Presented by Kim Mannisto 

By the end of the 19th century, New Jersey had transformed into a prosperous state dominated by industry. Factories were built across the state, and new canals and railroads helped the growing manufacturing industries, including iron, steel, textile, and more. Immigrant populations continued to settle in New Jersey as job opportunities and economic prosperity in the state increased. This class will point you to key genealogical resources for this era of New Jersey research as the state continued to expand and change. We will also discuss the impact of the Civil War and strategies for researching your veteran ancestors.


December 20 - Class 4: 20th-Century Research:
Presented by Kyle Hurst

New Jersey continued to flourish in the 30 years of the 20th-century—industry continued to grow and the population increased dramatically as immigrants sought out new jobs and opportunities in the prosperous state. However, this upward trajectory came to an end with the Great Depression, which had a devastating effect on New Jersey. By the middle of the century, many began to leave the declining urban centers of the state for rural areas as new highways made it easier to travel throughout New Jersey. In this final class, we will discuss key strategies and resources for researching your ancestors during this century of change.

Books and Journals
Kyle Hurst
Kyle holds a B.A. in both History and Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and a Master’s certificate in Museum Studies from Tufts University.
Research and Library Services
Kimberly Mannisto
Midwestern States
Areas of expertise: Early Pennsylvania Settlers, Colonial New Jersey, Quaker records, Midwest (Michigan and Ohio), Finnish, DNA, Descendancy research, Scottish and English hereditary peerage titles, and Scottish genealogy.