The MCHA Research Library & Archives is a significant resource for historians, genealogists, scholars, and anyone with an interest in the storied history of Monmouth County, one of New Jersey’s earliest permanent settlements. The Association houses one of the largest collections of local published and unpublished materials in the state, including more than 1,000 manuscript collections. The breadth and depth of these collections offer regional insights into the broad themes of United States history, while documenting more than three centuries of daily life in Monmouth County.

To perform a name or keyword search of our Research Library & Archives collections, please consult our Online Search Catalog.

Electronic finding aids are available for many of our manuscript collections. To access these, click here.

Some of the notable holdings from our archival collections include:

– Colonial mercantile and shipping records such as those of father and son merchant navigators Thomas and Josiah Holmes, spanning ca. 1720-1795

– Account books of some of Monmouth County’s prominent early craftsmen, including the ledgers of Middletown carpenter William Lawrence, 1756 to 1794; Freehold cabinet and coffin maker Alexander Low, 1793 to 1821; and Freehold silversmith Teunis D. DuBois, 1797 to 1818

– The account book (ca. 1683-1699) of George Keith, itinerant Quaker preacher and Surveyor General to the Proprietors of the Province of East New Jersey

– Revolutionary War documents consisting of muster rolls, personal and military accounts, printed material, and correspondence pertaining to the Battle of Monmouth

– Thousands of images depicting people, places, and events connected to Monmouth County, including cased photographs, tintypes, prints, and other examples of early to modern photographic technologies

– Paper records, photographs, and printed material from the mid-19th century North American Phalanx utopian community

– A collection of over 5,000 original late 19th and early 20th century glass plate negatives from the Long Branch and Lakewood photo studios of the Pach brothers, Gustavus W. and Gotthel, and their eventual successor George A. Morris

– The Hartshorne Family Papers, 1670-2014, an extensive documentation of regional and national history through the lens of eight generations of a distinguished Monmouth County family

– Personal items that provide a unique glimpse into the diverse lives that have shaped Monmouth’s past, including letters, diaries, memoirs, estate inventories, business and agriculture records, and student ciphering books

– More than 80 newspaper titles available in microfilm or hard copy. For a complete list of our newspaper holdings, click here.

Other holdings from our Research Library & Archives include contemporary and rare books, regional and state maps, slavery and manumission documents, Civil War papers, 18th and 19th century broadsides, township records, and ephemera.

Genealogy Research

The MCHA Research Library and Archives is a valuable repository for Monmouth County genealogical research. Some of the resources we offer to genealogists include:

Bible Records

– 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th century Bible records, indexed by family surname

Vital Records

– Freehold Township vital records, 1844-1866: births, marriages, deaths, bastard cases, guardianship cases
– Ocean Township vital records, 1855-1930: births, marriages, deaths, communicable diseases
– Marriage records of various circuit preachers 

Church Records

– Original, microfilm copies, and transcriptions of baptismal, marriage, and death/funeral records

Wills

– Monmouth County Wills / Estates, 1693-1800 (microfilm)
– Unrecorded New Jersey Wills (microfilm)
– Abstracts of Wills, 1670-1817

Cemetery Records

– Cemetery gravestone transcriptions for most Monmouth County cemeteries

Newspaper Obituary Abstracts

– Indexes for newspaper obituaries:
Monmouth Inquirer, July 1830-1888
Monmouth Democrat, July 1830-Dec 1884
Freehold Transcript, September 1888-1919
Red Bank Register, June 1878-June 1884, 1913-1985

Directories and Censuses

– County and City Directories
– Town Tax Ratables, 1778-1820
– Federal and New Jersey State Censuses

Other Genealogical Resources

– Family Genealogy Book Collection
– Genealogist Research Files for thousands of family surnames
– Michael Adelberg’s Database to the American Revolution in Monmouth County, and Biographical File of the People of Revolutionary Era Monmouth County
– Fire Insurance Records for Western Monmouth County, 1885-1928
– Shrewsbury Overseer of the Poor Records, 1743-1802
– Abstracts of Colonial Conveyances of East & West New Jersey, 1664-1794
– Access to Ancestry.com, Fold3.com military records, and the Asbury Park Press digital newspaper archive

Services & Contact

Visitors to MCHA’s Headquarters in Freehold, NJ are welcome to make use of our resources during our regular hours, Wednesday – Saturday, 10am-4pm, with no appointment necessary.

Unable to visit us in person? Let our research staff help. For a small fee, we will conduct “in-house” searches of our record holdings and manuscript collections. A specific search within a small batch of records (e.g. newspaper obituary, Church or Bible record, basic research lookup) is a $10 fee, which includes up to 5 digital or printed records. Broader research questions and genealogy inquiries are $25 per hour (notice will be given up front for expected research times of more than one hour). These include a thorough search of all relevant sources, collaboration with an experienced genealogist as necessary, photocopies, and postage. To access our inquiry submission form, click here.

Please contact the Research Library & Archives staff with any questions related to your inquiry prior to submitting the form.

Email us: library@monmouthhistory.org                Call us: 732-462-1466, ext. 16

Rights and Reproduction

The Monmouth County Historical Association is happy to extend image reproduction rights for various uses. Please contact us at library@monmouthhistory.org or 732-462-1466, ext. 16 for details and fee structure (if applicable).