Just Getting Started?
Check out these genealogy tips:
Tips for Adults for helpful advice when starting your family's genealogical research.
Tips for Kids has some great ideas for getting kids involved in exploring their family’s past.
Reference Books and Family Histories
Our genealogy collection provides one of the library's wealthiest resources, concentrating on New Jersey county, state and regional families. Frequently used sources include genealogies of single families and collective biographies, as well
as biographical indexes. Reference material covers emigrants and Mayflower descendants, published DAR records, and biographies of New Jersey residents. Searches are also possible by category of persons or by ethnic group, such as with Guide to Tracing Your African American Civil War Ancestor.
Also found in the Local History Room are a variety of reference titles such as New Jersey Marriage Records, 1665-1800, Abstracts of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots, and more narrowly-focused family histories (all are accessible through the library catalog).
Genealogical Journals and Periodicals
The Local History department holds an extensive collection of genealogical journals and periodicals, as well as the historical local newspaper collection. The collection includes coverage of New Jersey, New York, and New England as well as parts of Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Local Records Project
The Local History and Genealogy Department has several projects currently underway. Please refer to the Department Main Page and the Genealogy Collections Index for more information and resources.
Records Index & Transcription
The preservation of local records is an important part of the preservation of Plainfield's history. The First Park Baptist Church was first to lend its late 19th century membership lists and deceased parishioner files for our Church Records project. Mount Olive Baptist Church has loaned two minute books with entries of deceased members dating from 1916, and Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church has loaned an 1844 leather-bound volume of church records. Click here to read a recent article about the project. The transcriptions will be made publicly available as they are completed.
The Plainfield Collection contains city directories dating back to the 1870s, high school yearbooks back to 1906, family histories, personal papers & manuscripts, organization records as well as books that detail the cultural, social and historical aspects of life in Plainfield. We also are creating a Courier News Obituary Index from obituaries that were published in the Courier News between the mid-1920s to the mid-1980s.
The Local History Department welcomes donations of personal papers, photographs, yearbooks, scrapbooks, artifacts, and other items. The resources in our collections were made available for public research through the generosity of our donors. If you would like to loan or donate items to the collection, please contact us at 908-757-1111, ext. 136.