Saturday, January 8, 2011

'The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries'

Book reviews aren't something I've done before on this blog but I recently came across an extremely useful source that I want to remember and as such put a few notes down.

Trying to keep track of the evolution of places, place names, and their various boundaries is one of the more frustrating parts of genealogical research for me. My genealogical software of choice doesn't have any terrific features to assist me with this -- particularly in making notes associated with a particular location's boundary or name changes.

I've been working on my Cadwalader line of late, with an eye toward some day completing an application for the DAR. Back in November I was doing some research correspondence with a woman from the New Jersey State Archives (extremely helpful, BTW), and asked after any sources she could recommend to help me understand the changing county boundaries around Trenton. She recommended The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries, 1606-1968, by John P. Snyder (Trenton, NJ : Bureau of Geology and Topography, 1969).

The book goes into much more detail than I need at this point. But there are detailed timelines for each county in New Jersey, with additional notes the townships contained within a given county. There are plenty of state and county-level maps illustrating boundary changes over time.

My personal confusion lies in Hunterdon County, Burlington County, and Mercer County. My ancestors had property in the Trenton area, and I was consistently goofing up which county they and their estate was in at nay given time. Looking at a map of New Jersey's county boundaries from 1714-1775, I see that Trenton was then in Hunterdon County, though right on the Burlington County border, which appears to be the Assunpink Creek. I need to double-check my notes, as Hunterdon County comes up often in my research, my ancestors may actually have been in Burlington County.

Mercer county wasn't established until 1838 (16 years after the death of Lambert Cadwalader, my 4th great grandfather). Mercer was formed from a number of townships from Hunterdon, Burlington, Middlesex, and Somerset counties.

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