North Jersey History & Genealogy Center

Guides for Research-Pathfinders

Pathfinders are guides to help you get started doing research on a particular topic.

Exploring Black History & Genealogy

Children outside Union Baptist Church, 1925

Books from our Collection:

General Material:

Black Genesis: A Resource Book for African-American Genealogy. Rose, James M.
H929.016 Ros

A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering your African-American Ancestors: How to Find and Record your Unique Heritage. Smith, Franklin Carter.
H929.016 Smi

Finding your African American Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide. Thackery, David
H929.016 Tha

A student’s Guide to African American Genealogy. Johnson, Anne E.
H929.01 Joh

New Jersey

Union County Black Americans. Washington, Ethel M.
H3U1 Wash

New Jersey’s Underground Railroad Heritage
H2 New Und

Slavery and Freedom in the Rural North: African Americans in Monmouth County, New Jersey, 1665-1865.
H3Mo1 Hod

The Quest for Equality: Trenton’s Black Community, 1890-1965. Washington, Jack.
H3M5 Tren Was

Class picture at playground, 1925

Afro-Americans in New Jersey: A Short History. Wright, Giles R.
H2 Wrig Afr

Blacks in the Revolutionary Era. Pingeon, Frances D.
H2 NJRE 14

Black Firsts in New Jersey. Cahalan, Gertrude.
H2 Cah

The Negro in New Jersey. New Jersey Conference of Social Work. (1932).
H1 325.26 Soc

Morris County and Morristown:

Slave Records of Morris County, New Jersey: 1756-1841
HM Heri Mit

Index to Photographs Documenting the African-American Experience in Morris County
HM512 Wal

Survey of the Negro Population of Morristown, New Jersey. McGhee, Ethel. (1925) HM6 McGhee

Setting Up Our Own City, by Cheryl Turkington

Setting up our own city.
By Cheryl Turkington
HM6 Tur 
Published in 1992, this history of Morristown’s African-American community is now online.

Other Research Collections:

The History Center’s collection of City Directories, newspapers on microfilm, and Sanborn Insurance Maps Online are also valuable tools for researching local African-American history and genealogy.

Vertical Files:

These files contain newspaper clippings and other information on topical subjects. There are also files on specific family names.
Search for these topics using the subject headings:

  • Morristown-Blacks
  • Morristown-Churches
  • Morristown-Schools


Two of our most popular online sources are Ancestry Library Edition and HeritageQuest . They have an abundance of resources including census records, the Social Security Death Index, newspaper & periodical collections, deeds & court records and city directories. Additionally, these databases contain several unique resources documenting African-American history:

Slave Narratives:

Compiled from 20,000 pages of narrative history taken from former slaves over a ten year period. (Ancestry Library Edition)

Freedman’s Bank (1865-1874): Founded by an act of Congress as a bank to serve African-Americans, these records contain information on thousands of depositors at 33 branches and include family, occupation, birthplace and residence information. (HeritageQuest)

On the Web:
To learn more about African-American history, we recommend you search the
following web sites:

Library of Congress Afro-American Genealogical Research
National Archives African-American Research
Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture

Matt Washington and his taxi, 1925

Photograph Collection:

Thousands of photographs documenting Morristown and Morris County’s past are held in the History Center. Photograph boxes are organized by locality and street (for Morristown) as well as by specific subject. See: Blacks, Churches, Neighborhood House, Playgrounds, Schools, Streets, Theaters, Urban Renewal