North Jersey History & Genealogy Center

We are now taking appointments for onsite research visits at njhgc@jfpl.org and 973.538.3473. Before contacting us, please visit our online catalog and finding aids to prepare a list of materials you would like to consult so we can prepare for your visit.  

The North Jersey History & Genealogy Center acquires, preserves, and promotes historical material generated by the individuals, organizations, and businesses of our state. The collections are made available to visitors in the Reading Room, and are also utilized in exhibitions, online and print publications, and through questions answered via e-mail, phone, and correspondence. We regularly host speakers on a variety of topics related to local history, in addition to offering programs and workshops ranging from researching family history to preserving records and photographs.

Plan Your Visit

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the North Jersey History & Genealogy Center is open by appointment only; please email njhgc@jfpl.org or call 973.538.3473 to schedule your time slot and submit the list of items you would like to consult during your visit. Our current hours are listed here and you may always find the latest updates on Library operations on our main website.

The Library has enacted social distancing guidelines that limits the number of people in the building, as well as the amount of time they may spend; thus, we ask researchers to limit their visit to two hours or less. Walk in appointments are not allowed.

Upon arriving at the Library,  enter through the Media Wing Entrance and take the stairs or elevator down one level. Remain outside the Reading Room doors until a member of our staff indicates it is safe to enter. All visitors are required to present photo I.D. to complete our researcher registration procedure. Face masks must be properly worn at all times while in the building, and no food, drinks, large bags, or tobacco products are allowed in the History Center.

We have enhanced our cleaning and collections handling procedures for your safety. Notes may be taken with computers, handheld devices, or pencil and paper, and we ask that you limit what you bring into the reading room. In order to maintain social distancing we advise against bringing unaccompanied children and guests. Library restrooms are unavailable at this time. Payments for photocopies and printouts must be made by check; we cannot accept cash.

Call slips must be completed for additional items requested in the reading room, including those previously accessible from open stacks. Please return all items to the provided cart so they may be quarantined for a minimum of 72 hours.

Collection Description

The History and Genealogy Center holds an exceptional collection of material documenting New Jersey and early American history, including publications, maps, historical newspapers, photographs and postcards, original manuscript and archival material, rare books, fine art, and prints. Most manuscript collections have online finding aids that provide detailed descriptions of the records, and our other collections can be searched through the Library’s catalog and indices.

We hold one of the finest collection of genealogical resources in New Jersey, including family histories, church and burial records, published birth and death notices, state and federal census records, oral histories, as well as access to numerous genealogical databases in our Reading Room.

Research materials also consist of over 60,000 books; 10,000 maps of local municipalities, counties, and states; and over 1,000 linear feet of archival and manuscript material comprising family and business papers, property records, and church and charitable association records. Of general interest are a large collection of historical photographs depicting Morristown and Morris Township events and some surrounding municipalities, an extensive collection of Morris County newspapers dating to the late-18th century, New Jersey State Census schedules, rare books dating back to the 15th century, and resources on historic preservation and the conservation of books, manuscripts, and fine arts.

A significant portion of our publications cover New Jersey history and that of the original thirteen colonies. Also included in our holdings is one of the largest collections of original artwork by local artists, such as Thomas Nast, A.B. Frost, Homer Davenport, and Dorothy Kunhardt, as well as landscape architects Brinley & Holbrook, Ethelbert Furlong, and Joan Shapiro Greentree.

Parking and Accommodations

The Morristown and Morris Township Library is located in the center of Morristown’s business and cultural district. In addition to a limited number of free parking spaces in the Library lot, there are metered spots along Miller and South Street that accept both coins and credit cards and have strictly enforced time limits. Long term lots are available across the street in the Vail Parking Deck, and at these garages all within walking distance of the Library.

South Street is home to many of Morristown’s restaurants, coffee shops, and pubs, extending from Elm Street to the east and around the Morristown Green to the west. The Library maintains a list of nearby restaurants for visitors. The three hotels closest to the Library are the Hyatt Regency Morristown, Westin Governor Morris, and Best Western Plus Morristown Inn.

Reading room rules

The reading room is set aside for those using the Library’s special collections and genealogical resources, which do not circulate. All researchers must register at the reference desk and agree to abide by the rules for using the reading room. Call slips are required to request all materials, which must be returned to the designated carts for quarantining.

Researchers may only take notes with pencil and paper or computer, and public WiFi is available. All items must be handled with care and kept in their original order. All material must remain on the table; staff may direct researchers in the proper handling of items, including the use of book cradles and weights.

Microfilm readers and computers are equipped with printers (for a fee of $0.10 per page), and in most cases are able to e-mail or save copies to a flash drive. Please note that for the duration of the pandemic payments are only accepted by check, cash cannot be accepted. Scans, photocopies, and digital photographs can be made under staff supervision. As a courtesy to other users, please refrain from loud conversations and silence all electronic devices. Visitors must leave the reading room to make or receive phone calls.

No bags, folders, or other materials are permitted on the tables. Staff may limit what can be brought into the reading room to protect the collections, and personal property is subject to search prior to leaving. The History and Genealogy Center is open during normal Library hours. Researchers who are unable to visit in person may submit a Research by Mail form, and a staff member will conduct a search of our collections.

Contact Us

Phone: 973-538-3473
Please email us at njhgc@jfpl.org for more information.

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