Sunset at Gowanus Bay

Sunset at Gowanus Bay
Sunset at Gowanus Bay, Henry Gritten, 1851

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Hunterdon County, New Jersey Probate Records

We've recently looked at the land records for Hunterdon County, New Jersey that are available online. It's probably a good time to review the probate records for Hunterdon County as well. Once again we turn to FamilySearch.org and here again we're going to use their catalog search to look up Hunterdon County, New Jersey. There are a couple of categories here that are of interest: Probate Records, with five titles, and Probate Records - Indexes, with one.

Starting with the Probate Records - Indexes, the one title is "Index to files including recognizances, indictments, affidavits, appeals, insolvents and miscellaneous." Scroll down and you'll see a number of films, arranged alphabetically and covering the years 1700-1900. They are available for viewing from home (access through that little camera icon). "Index to files Be-Ca, 1700-1900," will be where we find the BREWERs and BROWERs. This is the first time I've looked at this film. We're discovering what is in this film together, and what I see here is individual index cards with the name of an individual and some numbers which I assume are file numbers. There are 2410 individual images in this film and the first BREWER is at image 1221, Abraham Brewer. The BREWERs continue to image 1260, William P. Brewer. This image is followed by three or four with the name BREWERY, which may be transcription or typo error for BREWER. Fifty index cards to explore here. I find no BROWRs or BROUWERs. There is one card for a BRUERE, that is James Bruere at image 1617.
The film tells us (image 3) that the files indexed here, are at the Hunterdon County Court House Clerks Office. Go back to the main catalog page and look under the Court Records heading (12 items). You'll find the files among these various items. Some films are locked. Others are available at home. After just a quick check of a few index cards, it appears that unless otherwise stated on the index card, the file number refers to a file found in "Miscellaneous Court records, loans, etc., 1713-1816," which has dozens of films arranged numerically. Within each film you will find folders, each of which includes ten files. We'll have to try and explore some of these in the future.

There are five titles in the Probate Records category. "Britton Family Papers," was mentioned in the April 19, 2020 post. The same for "Somerset and Hunterdon Counties, New Jersey, Heirs to Estates," it is mentioned in the April 19th post. The three remaining titles:
  • "Minors estates, 1800-1900." The images are accessible from home. The records are arranged by file number and the first film includes the index. Image five gives a brief description. The index is arranged by only the first letter of the surname, and then follows by order of file number. The first Brewer or Brower I come across is at image 12, file no. 81. Work your way image by image through the Bs to find any other files.
  • "Probate Records, 1785-1919; General Index to Estates, 1804-1970." The films are viewable from home. Here is "General Index to Estates, A-B 1804-1870." The first page for the B surnames begins at image 184. This index, like one that we encountered in the Land Records, is arranged by the first letter of the given name of the individual whose estate is being administered. The pages cover the various and varied documents that were recorded for each individual and the location where they are found. Each image covers one page of the physical book, and each entry is taken up over two pages. So, the individual on line 1 on image 184 carries over to line 1 on image 185, and so on. 
  • Finally, we have "Record of Wills, 1704-1900; 1J-10459J." This series of film is, unfortunately, locked. We can not view them from home. A trip to a Family History Library Center is required, which of course may not be possible for many at the present time. That's too bad, as many of the films here cover the colonial period which is where most of our broken lineages are.
You may have noticed that each of the pages above includes a link, found under the description, to New Jersey Probate Records available online. There is no search capability. The browse through images button takes you to a page with a list of counties. Hunterdon County opens up to this window and we find a long list of various titles. The list of films with the title of "Estates 442..." are the files of Minors Estates (see above).

So, just a quick overview with links. Now, get to work.

BGB 682

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