Author Archives: Regina Fitzpatrick

About Regina Fitzpatrick

I'm the Genealogy Librarian here at the State Library. I love researching New Jersey Family History, and am always happy to help researchers delve further into their ancestries. Please feel free to stop by and say hello!

Volunteering: A Doorway to Employment

Thanks to those who attended last week’s presentation of Volunteering: A Doorway to Employment!  During the presentation, we discussed how volunteering might be a valuable addition to standard job searching activities.

Volunteering gives you the opportunity to:

  • Expand your social circles and create more networking opportunities
  • Learn new skills, get more experience, or try a type of job
  • Gain mentors or those who are willing to act as a reference on job applications
  • Add more work experience to your resume
  • Possibly find paid work through the organization where you volunteer

Are you interested in finding a volunteer position and are not sure where to start?  The Governor’s Office on Volunteerism can link you to volunteer agencies who are looking to recruit.  In addition the New Jersey Career Connections website has a listing of volunteer organization websites or search engines designed to help connect you with a great volunteer position.  If you need additional assistance locating a great volunteer position, please contact the New Jersey State Library Reference Department at 609-278-2640 x103.

Genealogy Research Stories: Women of New Jersey Class Blog

Thank you all so much for attending yesterday’s Genealogy Research Stories:  Women of New Jersey class.  As promised here are some of the resources mentioned during the presentation:

-The Case Files for Susanna (Susanna vs. William Bloodgood, 1761) and Patience Rutter (Patience Rutter vs. William Bloodgood, 1767) are available at the New Jersey State Archives.

Middlesex County Court of Common Pleas Minute Books are available on microfilm at the New Jersey State Archives.  Rutgers University owns the originals.

-John Tatham’s Probate Documents (Unrecorded Wills Book 4 p.157) are available at the New Jersey State Archives.

Captain Kidd in New York Harbor by J.L.G. Ferris

You may order this item remotely via the State Archives’ website.

-Elizabeth Tatham’s Probate Documents (Unrecorded Wills Book 1 p.117-134) are also available at the State Archives and can be ordered remotely.  Remember, it’s in her inventory that notes she has property at Dorothy Hickman’s house.

-The Burlington Court Book is available at the New Jersey State Library and the State Archives.  It is also published online.  The Judgement against Elizabeth Bassnet for allowing Dorothy Tatham to marry Robert Hickman in her tavern is on p. 229.

The Burlington County Court of Common Pleas Minute Book is available at the New Jersey State Archives.

-Pirate’s Nests and the Rise of the British Empire is available via Google Books.  Information on Robert Hickman can be found on p.279

-Robert Hickman is also mentioned in William Penn’s Papers on p.596 and in Notes, which are available online, and also in published form at the State Library.

-Finally, here’s the article I mentioned about John Tatham, which details his exploits in England and also recounts the story of Dorothy’s marriage to Robert Hickman.

I’d love to help you uncover some of the phenomenal women in your family tree.  If you have any questions about genealogical research, please contact me!

Genealogy Research Stories Recap

Thank you all for coming to Genealogy Research Stories yesterday!  I hope you had a great time hearing some neat stories about my research.  Thank you to the audience members who shared their own interesting research stories as well!  I just wanted to quickly provide you with some citations for my research materials for the stories, in case any of you would like to see any of the original materials.

James Harris, Jr.

The Rapalje Children by John Durand

Find A Grave entries for James, James Sr., Ann, and David

Will of James Harris Sr.  Calendar of New Jersey Wills…V.8 p. 166 (abstract) 8443-8448 L Middlesex County (Full Text, available to order online or view on microfilm at NJ State Archives)

Will of James Harris Jr. Calendar of New Jersey Wills…v.12 p. 168 (abstract) 10405L Middlesex County (Full Text, same ordering or viewing options above)

Extracts from Colonial Newspapers article, plus one additional

Colonial Marriage Bond for James Harris Sr. and Anne VanBuskirk 21 June 1748 BK H (part 1) p.77 (available for online ordering or on microfilm at the NJ State Archives)

Supreme Court Case File King vs. Howell, Buskirk, and Harris Middlesex County 1770 #20872* (available for online ordering, also viewable at the NJ State Archives)

Supreme Court Case File King vs. Howell Middlesex County 1770 #20872** (for assault of John Giles, also on January 9th, 1770)

Frederick Dennelsbeck

Detail from Romeo and Juliet by Frank Dicksee

Will abstract of Frederick Dennelsbeck, Sr.  Full Text available via NJ State Archives Book 12 p.308 (recorded copy)

Colonial Marriage Bond for Frederick Dendlesbeck and Barbary Elwell 9th Dec 1766 BK D p.226

Family Search death record for Frederick and Barbara Dennelsbeck

Find A Grave records for Frederick and Barbara

Clara Madden

Women Holding Umbrellas to Provide Shade from the Sun

1870, 1880, 1900, 1905 (Emma Rayner), 1910 (Emma Rayner), 1915 (Clara), 1920 (Emma and daughter Alice Itson), and 1930 (Alice Randall and husband Charles) Censuses

Clara’s death record was found by searching the 1916 death records under her last name “Madden”.  (Remember, New Jersey Death Certificates from 1904-1948 are organized in alphabetical order by last name within the calendar year.)

Here’s a Find a Grave page for Alice Randall, her husband Charles, and Emma Rayner, who died in 1929.  Ada Crist may be Alice Randall’s aunt and Emma’s sister, as one of Clara’s daughters was named Ada.


We will be having additional lectures to celebrate National Family History Month on Wednesday October 18th, Tuesday October 24th, and Tuesday October 31st, 2017.  I hope you’ll join us for these upcoming programs.  Please also feel free to contact me for assistance with your research questions, and check out the Genealogy Research Guide.  I’d love to help you uncover some cool Genealogy stories of your own!


Top-Notch Resumes I: The Basics Class Recap

Thank you to everyone who attended our Lunchtime Learning class today Top Notch Resumes: The Basics.  In our class today, we learned how to create an effective resume, craft a cover letter, and navigate the New Jersey Civil Service website.

A reminder that we are offering 1:1 or small group sessions on building a resume.  This session will be based on what we learned in class and will give you time and space to construct your resume with assistance.  Please contact me at 609-278-2640 x162 or to set up an appointment.

Here are some of the online resources we reviewed in class:

Career Connections-remember Resume writing resources are grouped under the “Prepare” section.

Career One Stop-this is a Federal site which hosts Occupational Profiles, useful for mining keywords to use in your resume.

Job and Career Accelerator-this database can either be accessed remotely through the New Jersey State Library by State Employees and TESU community members with a State Library Card.   New Jersey residents may access via Jersey Clicks with a local public library card.  You may also use J&CA on the public access computers at the State Library.

Get Help: Employment Research Guide-has links to resume templates, cover letter advice, job hunting sites and more.

New Jersey State Library Test Book collection-the Library is pleased to offer study guides produced by the National Learning Corporation for those taking a Civil Service Exam.  Test Books can be searched in the Library catalog.  For best results, use the advanced search and restrict the NJSL Collection field to “Test Books”.

In addition, please see below for the two worksheets that were distributed.  If you have questions or need assistance with any of the resources described above, please contact the Reference Department at 609-278-2640 x103 or

Our next class in the Career Connection series will be LinkedIn 101 on September 27th, 2017.

Resume Prep Worksheet – SLIC developed

Navigating the Civil Service Website to view and apply for jobs

Useful New Jersey Genealogy Electronic Resources at the New Jersey State Library

Thank you all who were able to attend yesterday’s Useful New Jersey Genealogy Electronic Resources class!  I had a great time showing you how to find resources on the State Library website and highlighting some research strategies in Ancestry and Family Search.  Remember, most of the resources we looked at are completely accessible to you from home or your office.  In our discussion, we reviewed:

  1. How to access and search the State Library’s catalog.
  2. How to access and search the City Directory catalog (pdf file, use CTRL+F to search the document)
  3. How to find the State Library’s Genealogy Databases
  4. Using the “New Collections” function in Ancestry to sharpen your search results. (The State Library’s Ancestry subscription is only available for in-house use.)
  5. Using the “Catalog” function on Family Search to sharpen your search results
  6. Reviewing the Newspapers Research Guide, where the State Library’s complete newspaper holdings are listed.
  7. Reviewing the Genealogy Research Guide, which includes overviews of the State Library’s collections, the State Archives’ collections, and County Offices’ holdings, plus guides and handouts.

I’ve posted the handout distributed during class on the Genealogy Research Guide for anyone interested.  Look for additional Genealogy classes as part of the Lunchtime Learning series starting this autumn. Have a wonderful summer, everyone!

Introduction to New Jersey Genealogy Webinar

Thank you all so much for attending the webinar yesterday introducing you to resources and collections available at the State Archives, the State Library, and various New Jersey County Offices.  It was the first webinar I’ve conducted here at the Library, and I hope you found the information provided useful!  I’m happy to answer any follow-up questions you may have. You may e-mail me or call at 609-278-2640 x162 (my contact info is also on the Genealogy Research Guide).

We discussed Basics of Genealogy, How to plan a Repository visit, and resources available at the State Library, the State Archives, and County Offices.  The slide deck and the other handouts made available during the webinar are also on the Guides and Handouts page of the Genealogy Research Guide, along with additional handouts and items you may find useful. Staff members at the State Archives and the State Library are always available to answer questions and steer you in the right direction as you are researching.

Please note that the State Library and State Archives are two separate entities with their own collections, equipment, rules, and copy fees.  I’m happy to answer any general questions about State Archives collections and availability, but if you have any detailed reference questions about an Archives resource or wish to order copies of collection items, please contact them at 609-292-6260.

Thank you again for attending, and I look forward to helping you research your New Jersey ancestors!


Researching Your Pre-May 1848 New Jersey Ancestors

Family histories at the New Jersey State Library

Thank you all so much for coming to the January 18th Researching Your Pre-May 1848 New Jersey Ancestors!  I hope the information provided will help you further your family research.

In the class, we discussed:

Useful resources and how to find them on the New Jersey State Library Website.

Colonial Deed – Quit Claim by Benne (Cowaken) to Benjamin Hull 1701 Book AAA p.29

1. The importance of the May 1848 milestone: This was when the State of New Jersey began to collect Birth, Marriage, and Death data for all residents.  These records provide personal information (including birthdate, age, parents’ names) and are highly authoritative because the informant was likely the person themselves or a close relative.

2. The goals of Genealogy: to find a birth, marriage and death record for each individual in a line, working from death to birth, backwards through the generations, starting with yourself.

3. Primary Documents (items produced within a person’s general lifetime) versus Secondary Resources (published items produced long after a person’s death) and how each of these can be useful in researching Pre-May 1848.

Colonial Marriage Bond – Edward Pierce and Katherine Talbot Colonial Marriage Bonds Book 1727-1734 p.131

4. Strategies for researching in pre-May 1848, especially where to start. (If they married or died after May 1848, New Jersey State Vital Records.  If not, Secretary of State’s Estate Papers.)

5. Resources available at the State Library, State Archives, and County Offices particularly useful to researching Pre-May 1848 ancestors. Examples include: Early Land Records, County Marriages and Colonial Marriage Bonds, Family Histories, and Newspaper Extracts.

6. Jeremiah Basse family research example, in which we saw the importance of resources such as Deeds, Wills, and Newspaper Extracts in leaping back a generation.

Don’t forget that the slide deck for the class and a flow chart for Pre-May 1848 research strategies are up on the Genealogy Research Guide’s Guides and Handouts page.  I am happy to answer any further questions you might have!

All featured images taken by Regina Fitzpatrick.



Introduction to New Jersey Genealogy

photo__6_Thank you to everyone who attending the Introduction to New Jersey Genealogy class held Monday October 24th! I enjoyed meeting you and reviewing how to get started researching your New Jersey ancestors. As I stated at the end of our meeting, please feel free to contact me with any feedback on both the presentation or the Genealogy Research Guide.

A couple of updates/corrections (these will be reflected in the Genealogy Guide and handouts offered in the presentation):

  1. The New Jersey State Archives has additional Marriage Records available for in-person use! Both the marriage certificates and the Brides’ Index now contain records through December 1946.
  2. The New Jersey Archives Series Calendar of New Jersey Wills abstracts estate documents through 1817. This is a great resource for Colonial or early 19th Century Probate Records, which can help you identify a record of interest, or help you to understand to content of faded or damaged documents.
  3. The Index to New Jersey Wills call number is being corrected and updated in the State Library catalog. The volumes will still be shelved in the same location!

NJSA Microfilm CabinetsPlease visit the Genealogy Research Guide to get additional copies of the handouts from the presentation, plus additional information sheets on creating a laundry list, visiting repositories, and detailed descriptions of important primary documents collections in the State. Pages dedicated to Genealogical Resources at the State Library, the State Archives, and County Offices are also available.

Again, thank you so much for attending, and I look forward to helping you research your New Jersey ancestors!

The Big Book of New Jersey Ghost Stories by Patricia A. Martinelli and Charles A. Stansfield, Jr.

Big Book of New Jersey Ghost Stories
The Big Book of New Jersey Ghost Stories

Of course, since it’s October, I wanted to review a book of ghost stories.  I love Halloween, and when the days get shorter and the air is crisp, I’m always in the mood for some spooky tales.  The Big Book of New Jersey Ghost Stories recounts hauntings and other strange happenings all over the Garden State.  The reader is sure to learn some interesting historical facts or even find a new creepy place to visit after settling in to enjoy this book.

The book is helpfully divided into four sections:  North Jersey, Central Jersey, South Jersey, and the Shore Region so that readers may quickly locate places or stories of interest.  Some of New Jersey’s most famous legends are covered:  Gravity Hill, the Jersey Devil, Blackbeard’s Treasure, and Molly Pitcher, among others.  However, the stories cover a wide range of topics and occurrences, some more obscure than others.   Some delve into historic sites or famous places, others simply involve one-time paranormal experiences of a resident.  Still others aren’t even really ghost stories: alien invasions, serial killers, yeti sightings, and Orson Welles’ performance of World of the Worlds are all included in the book.

“Vintage Halloween costume snapshot” (CC BY 2.0) by simpleinsomnia

Some of the stories I really enjoyed.  My favorite was the series of stories relating to Greenwich, Cumberland County.  The descriptions of Ye Greate Way and historic buildings caused me to immediately look up the township website and find the buildings discussed.  The book contains stories of varying lengths and some are extremely short, maybe a paragraph in length.  I did not enjoy these as much, as there really wasn’t enough substance to connect to the story.

For readers wishing to learn more about New Jersey or to revisit an old urban legend about their hometown, this is a fun resource.  The ground treaded is really nothing new or innovative, but the range of collected stories should appeal to a wide audience.

More spooky.
“Two women pose with their skeleton friend” (CC BY 2.0) by simpleinsomnia

If you are looking for pre-Halloween Stephen King-esque thrills, look elsewhere.  I’ve read deeply creepy works about the Duck Island Killer and the Jersey Devil that have kept me awake at night.  I read this book before bed several nights without losing any sleep.  But, for some mildly spooky fun that I think is pretty safe for the whole family, I would recommend this book.

Happy Reading and Happy Halloween!

The Big Book of New Jersey Ghost Stories, by Martinelli, Patricia A. and Stansfield, Jr., Charles A.
Call # J133.1 M385 Jerseyana-ask Librarian


1454549160-1454549160_goodreads_miscJoin the New Jersey State Library on Goodreads! You can find us here; join in the discussion in our Online Book Cafe here!

Genealogy Reference Guide is now Available!

Some of our indexes in the Genealogy Section
Some of our indexes in the Genealogy Section

My name is Regina, and I’m the new Genealogy Librarian at the New Jersey State Library.  I spent six years at the New Jersey State Archives helping patrons to trace their New Jersey family history.  My work at the Archives has left me with a real love of genealogical research.  I’m always thrilled to help anyone trying to find their ancestors.

One of the most common things I’ve seen is the look of hopeless confusion on the faces of those just starting out (or even just starting out on New Jersey records).  Family History can be a bit overwhelming at first, so I’ve created the Genealogy Research Guide to help get you started.  This online resource focuses on New Jersey records collections and reference materials held at the State Library, the State Archives, and New Jersey County offices.

I hope you find this new tool useful, and I would love to hear suggestions for additions or improvements, particularly on the Guides and Handouts page.  Please feel free to contact me by e-mail or at 609-278-2640 x162.  I look forward to helping you find your New Jersey ancestors in the future!