NJ Room Receives NARA Files!
JERSEY CITY, NJ December 29, 2011 – Instead of traipsing over to New York City to research the buried files of one’s ancestry, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has agreed to house its microfilm files on all Hudson County immigrants to the Jersey City Free Public Library, storing the files within the New Jersey Room, where all genealogy searches are conducted, on the Third Floor of the Main Library, which is located at 472 Jersey Avenue in Jersey City, NJ.
Cynthia Harris, manager of the New Jersey Room, worked with Kathie Pontus of the Hudson County Genealogical and Historical Society in creating the opportunity for the files transfer. Ms. Pontus dealt with the New York NARA office to acquire microfilms they were “giving” to responsible groups that would continue to make the films available for “public” use.
The microfilms are considered “on loan” to the Jersey City Free Public Library from the Hudson County Genealogical and Historical Society.
Approximately 1,800 films were obtained for public use, to be held in a special cabinet donated from the Church of Latter-Day Saints, which has been known for its genealogical research archives, whose office is in Emerson, NJ. Some microfilms are still in boxes, waiting for another storage cabinet to be secured. The Jersey City Free Public Library picked up the donated cabinet, and Bob Murgittroyd and Jane Mackesy of the Hudson County Genealogical and Historical Society picked up the first group of approximately 1,200 films from the NY NARA office.
The National Archives and Records Administration was more than cooperative to the Jersey City Free Public Library, in that, NY NARA shipped, free to the library, the balance of the microfilms for New Jersey, after the original agreement. The very accommodating and pleasant people from NY NARA who assisted in this endeavor were Diane LeBlanc, Sara Pasquerello and Carol Savo.
The films cover a variety of subjects, including, but not limited to, arrivals of immigrants (mostly to New York), various Federal census years from the 1830s to the 1920s for New Jersey.
Intense research of the film information was done by Kathie Pontus and Deirdre Berry, who placed labels on each film box and put the films in the cabinet or in boxes, noting on each drawer and box what was contained therein. This painstaking labeling was done voluntarily, breaking down what each film contained, including its beginning and ending entries, and starting and ending “letter” or “year” or “location” covered. Ms. Berry did the “time-intensive, intricate typing of these many labels obtained in an unbelievably short period of time,” according to Ms. Pontus.
“The addition of this microfilm expands exponentially our ability to locate residents and ancestors across the entire state of New Jersey,” said Cynthia Harris, manager of the New Jersey Room.
The New Jersey Room is a collection of materials about New Jersey with an emphasis upon Jersey City and Hudson County. The collection includes both current and historical information and numbers about 20,000 volumes. While the New Jersey Room is the main resource of information on the history of Jersey City, many of its patrons come in search of information on local real estate, development, business information, and genealogy research.
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