JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen New Death Record Microfilms at New Jersey State Archives #general

Ada Green

For many years, at least for as long as I have been doing genealogy, the New Jersey
State Archives in Trenton has held microfilms of death records only up through
1940. Yesterday I went down there to work with them when I discovered to my very
great and wonderful surprise that within the past year their microfilm holdings of
death records has been expanded up through 1955. If only I had known in advance, I
would have brought further names with me to research. Indeed on the spot, with the
particular kind of excitement known only to those us genealogists, I temporarily
interrupted the specific research I had gone down there to do so that I could go
online into to get the names of the individual New Jersey cemetery
burials that I have added over the years. I then looked up the death record for
all my New Jersey findagrave entries who passed away between 1941 and 1955 whose
death did not occur in New York City. Only then did I go back and complete my
originally intended research involving pre-1941 deaths.

New Jersey death records >from 1904 through 1948 are arranged in more or less
alphabetical order on the microfilms and can be searched directly, which is quite
easy. For years prior to 1904 and after 1948 it is a two-step process: one first
has to look up the name in a separate microfilm index that is arranged
alphabetically within each year to get the death certificate number and then one
looks up the actual record on separate microfilms, where the death records are
arranged in chronological order by certificate number. Anyone who is familiar
with looking up death records at the New York City Municipal Archives prior to the
onset of the online New York City death index on ItalianGen will be quite at home
with the two-step process at the New Jersey State Archives.

The microfilms are in drawers arranged in chronlogical order by microfilm number
and access is self-service. I had a very productive day yesterday. It's
reassuring to know that in an age when the ever-increasing trend is for states and
municipalities to restrict access to vital records, that New Jersey has just made
15 new years of death records accessible to the general public. Microfilms for the
years 1941-1946 were added last January and the remaining years (up through 1955)
were added over the summer.

Note that microfilm holdings for New Jersy birth and marriage records have not
been expanded.

Further information about the New Jersey State Archives can be found at

Ada Green
New York, NY

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