A new history of the New Jersey proprietors and their jurisdictions

Today the mail brought me the latest issue of the Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, published by the Genealogical Society of New Jersey. This issue, vol. 89, #4, departed from the usual format by devoting the entire magazine to one article, in celebration of the 350th anniversary of the creation of New Jersey.

The author is Joseph Klett, executive director of the State Archives. The title of the article is “Understanding New Jersey’s Geography in the Proprietary Period.” For those of you familiar with my website, you will recognize that this is the sort of thing I love. I spent some time researching and writing about the early years of the Province of West New Jersey, so, as soon as I saw the new GMNJ, I had to drop everything to read it.

Joe has given us the clearest and most succinct history of the proprietary period yet written, with the best source information anyone could possibly want, coming from the authority on sources. The history is followed by a sort of gazetteer, a “basic guide to the jurisdictional subdivisions” that existed in New Jersey prior to the end of the proprietary period in 1703. For this reason, Hunterdon County is not included, since it was not created until 1714. But a great many early settlers in our county came from these older jurisdictions. For those trying to identify these early families, Joe’s article is an essential reference work that I will be keeping on my desk. If I were handing out stars, I’d give this five.

If you wish to obtain a copy of the magazine with the Klett article, contact the Genealogical Society of NJ at their website, or their online bookstore. And while you’re at it, consider joining the Society as a way to support their excellent work.