One of the newest counties
So The Legal Genealogist is getting ready to head off on another adventure this weekend… and yet will be sleeping in her own bed every night.
I love this time of year when so many of my speaking engagements are local, and the Hudson County (New Jersey) Genealogical & Historical Society is the first stop, tomorrow, for a program on DNA testing. If you’re anywhere near the Secaucus Public Library tomorrow morning, come on out and join us.
Getting ready for this presentation got me thinking about what I know about Hudson County.
As somebody without any New Jersey ancestors at all, that I know of,1 I’d made some of those assumptions we warn ourselves against: it had always seemed to me that Hudson County was one of those old colonial counties with roots that stretched back forever.
It’s actually one of the newest of New Jersey’s 21 counties, with only three having been created later in time.
Here’s the history in a nutshell.
The Colony of New Jersey was originally two proprietorships: East Jersey with its capital at Amboy (now Perth Amboy); and West Jersey with its capital at Burlington.2
The first counties were established in East Jersey: Bergen, Essex, Middlesex and Monmouth were created in 1683.3
Two courts began operating in West Jersey in 1681, in what became Burlington and Salem Counties, but those counties themselves came later, in 1694.4
In 1686, Gloucester County was created in West Jersey.5
In 1688, Somerset County was established in East Jersey.6
In 1692, Cape May County was created in West Jersey.7
In 1694, Burlington and Salem Counties were officially created as counties in West Jersey.8
In 1702, East and West Jersey consolidated, and the first new county in New Jersey was Hunterdon County, created in 1714.9 That was followed by:
• Morris County in 1739;10
• Cumberland County in 1748;11
• Sussex County in 1753;12
• Warren County in 1824;13
• Atlantic and Passaic Counties in 1837;14
• Hudson County in 1840;15
• Camden County in 1844;16
• Ocean County in 1850;17 and
• Union County in 1857.18
True, New Jersey is an old colonial state.
But not all of its counties are old colonial counties.
And Hudson, where I’ll be tomorrow, is one of the babies.
Image: New Jersey State Archives.
- In fact, as far as I’ve been able to prove so far, the first of my ancestors to live north of the Mason-Dixon line were my father and his parents who emigrated to the United States in the 1920s and lived in Chicago. ↩
- Edwin P. Tanner, The Province of New Jersey 1664-1738 (New York : Columbia University Press, 1908); digital images, Google Books (http://books.google.com : accessed 12 Nov 2015). ↩
- “History,” Bergen County, Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders (http://www.co.bergen.nj.us/ : accessed 12 Nov 2015). ↩
- See “New Jersey County Map,” State of New Jersey, Department of State, New Jersey State Archives (http://www.nj.gov/state/archives/ : accessed 12 Nov 2015). ↩
- “County History,” Gloucester County, New Jersey (http://www.gloucestercountynj.gov/ : accessed 12 Nov 2015). ↩
- “Somerset County – 2015,” Somerset County, NJ (http://www.co.somerset.nj.us/ : accessed 12 Nov 2015). ↩
- “History of Cape May County,” Cape May County New Jersey (http://capemaycountynj.gov/ : accessed 12 Nov 2015). ↩
- See “New Jersey County Map.” ↩
- “The First 300 Years of Hunterdon County, 1714-2014,” Hunterdon County New Jersey (http://www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/ : accessed 12 Nov 2015). ↩
- “History,” Morris County, NJ (http://www.co.morris.nj.us/ : accessed 12 Nov 2015). ↩
- “History,” Cumberland County New Jersey (http://www.co.cumberland.nj.us/ : accessed 12 Nov 2015). ↩
- “Cultural and Historic Resources of Sussex County ,” Sussex County, New Jersey (http://www.sussex.nj.us/ : accessed 12 Nov 2015). ↩
- “About Warren County…Past and Present,” Welcome to Warren County, New Jersey (http://www.co.warren.nj.us/ : accessed 12 Nov 2015). ↩
- For Atlantic, “History of Atlantic County,” Atlantic County, New Jersey, County Government (http://www.aclink.org/ : accessed 12 Nov 2015). For Passaic, “History,” Passaic County, New Jersey (http://www.passaiccountynj.org/ : accessed 12 Nov 2015). ↩
- William H. Shaw, compiler, History of Essex and Hudson Counties, New Jersey (Philadelphia : Everts & Peck, 1884), 943; digital images, Google Books (http://books.google.com : accessed 12 Nov 2015). ↩
- “County History,” Camden County, New Jersey (http://www.camdencounty.com/ : accessed 12 Nov 2015). ↩
- “Ocean County Timeline,” Ocean County Cultural & Heritage Commission (http://www.co.ocean.nj.us/ch/frmHome.aspx/ : accessed 12 Nov 2015). ↩
- “History of Union County,” Union County New Jersey (http://ucnj.org/ : accessed 12 Nov 2015). ↩
Am I reading the Bergen County history correctly? Was the Hackensack area originally part of New Amsterdam / NY?
The area that became Bergen and Hudson Counties was part of New Netherland, yes.
In Old Bridge at the intersection of Route 516 and Cottrell Road, there is a 200 year old farmstead settled by the Cottrell family. Am I remembering correctly that you have Cottrell connections? Maybe to these folks?
Don’t I wish… no, that’s an entirely separately Cottrell line, the Monmouth County NJ group as shown by YDNA testing.
Oh well. Looking forward to your lecture in Bucks next month.
By contrast, almost ALL of my ancestors were from NJ. Burlington and a few other nearby towns. I grew up in Burlington, which is one of the old colonial towns. Legend has it that Ben Franklin stopped at a house on Wood Street where he bought Gingerbread (27 on page linked). http://www.tourburlington.org/SeeSites26-30.html#Revell
I know you’ll knock ’em dead tomorrow! Wish I could be there but I’m in FL now 🙁
Thanks for the kind words, Kim!
Hope your talk went well. My mother was born in Bayonne and I visited for the first time a couple years ago; her birthplace is still there. So you have at least two readers with Hudson County ancestry!
There are a LOT of folks — including my own sister-in-law — with Bayonne ancestry, Michael! The talk went very well — we had fun with DNA today!