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Home | Online Resources: Link to a Topic | Genealogy

The Hugh B. Wheeler Reading Room in Toms River houses the genealogical and historical research collection of the Ocean County Library. The collection is for in house use only. For persons outside of Ocean County we may be able to help you in your research. Please use our e-mail service or call us.


ONLINE DATABASES: CLICK HERE to see all databases about genealogy: (


The Collection:

  Aerial Maps
Aerial maps of Ocean County, done in the past half century, provide documentation of area growth.

Old atlases of New Jersey enable researchers to determine changes in wards, names of municipalities and other civil boundaries. Woolman and Rose's "Historical and Biographical Atlas of the Jersey Shore" and Beers and Comstock's "Atlas of New Jersey" are examples.

  Basic Books
Basic "how-to" manuals for amateur genealogists, such as "Do People Grow On Family Trees?" by Ira Wolfman.

Ethnic search strategy books, such as "Finding Our Fathers" by Rottenberg.

Address books which lead to archives, museums, historical and genealogical societies, such as "Genealogist's Address Book".

  City Directories
Some city directories of the Ocean County area, for this century. Current telephone directories are available at the main library next door.

  Federal & State Censuses of New Jersey

The complete federal censuses of New Jersey from 1830-1930 on microfilm, with Soundex indexes for 1880, 1900 and 1920 and book indexes for 1830-1870 for New Jersey.  All available state censuses of New Jersey done from 1855-1895, on microfilm, and for Ocean County and Monmouth County, the state censuses done in 1905 and 1915.

The 1930 Federal Census of individuals and families has arrived. You can view the microfilm copies of the1930 Federal Census for New Jersey at the Toms River Branch of the Ocean County Library.

Go to Fact Finder for the Latest Census data!

Histories of particular sections of New Jersey, written in the 19th century, which often have family genealogies. "History of the County of Hudson" by Winfield is such a title.

Histories of specific religious/ethnic groups, Hinshaw's "Quaker Genealogy" and Chambers' "Early Germans of New Jersey" for example.

The International Genealogical Index (put out by the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints), 1989 edition, which provides birth, marriage and christening dates for many persons, broken down by state. Many researchers use the IGI as a "stepping off place" to verify dates of these sacraments and others use the batch numbers to obtain copies of original records.

Indexes to passenger lists by name of immigrant and date of arrival, such as "Italians To America" by Glazier.

Indexes to biographical and genealogical information found in various titles about New Jersey, such as Sinclair's "New Jersey Biographical Index". Bishop has many of the original sources cited.

  Newspapers & Newspaper Clipping File
Area newspapers (Toms River, Lakewood, Tuckerton, Seaside Heights, Beach Haven and Manasquan) on microfilm. Years covered range from the 1850s to the 1980s depending on the title. Please call 732-349-6200 or visit our Information Desk at the Toms River Branch for more information.

  Papers of Nathaniel Holmes Bishop III
The complete papers of Nathaniel Holmes Bishop III, including those connected with the cranberry industry, galley sheets of his publications, genealogical materials, diaries of his trips and old photographs have been archived, arranged and made accessible as primary source material.

  Ocean County Cemetery Project
A listing of all known graves, cemeteries and burial grounds in Ocean County by Township, Boro or location.  Data base can be searched by last name only, or first and last name.  The Headstone Directory can be searched by township or by an alphabetic listing of the cemeteries. A Biography and Photograph section is also included.

  Transcriptions of meetings
Transcriptions of meetings of the Bricksburg Fruitgrowers Organization, the Polyhue Yacht Club of Beachwood and Alfred Brown, as well as transcriptions of Anderson and Campbell's (Funeral Home) records for the turn of the 20th century are available to on-site researchers.


Lists of Service men and women
Lists of the men and women who fought in New Jersey units in the Revolutionary War, Civil War and skirmishes in between.

Abstracts of New Jersey wills, from earliest recorded dates to 1814, listing every person mentioned in whatever context. Index to New Jersey wills probated before 1905.

Vital / Marriage Records
We have books of sample forms to help researchers to obtain copies of vital records. We own compilations of marriage records/vital records gathered by local researchers and similarly, copies of family trees done by area researchers. Check online resources below for ways to access vital records.

Obtaining Vital Records
Most births, deaths and marriage records are not online, but when you need a certified copy for your passport or a simple record for your genealogy research, you can logon for instructions about getting one. Included below are web sites for U.S. and foreign vital records, certified and “simple” records.

 Vital Records (USA)
A US Government Web site which shows you how to obtain copies of birth, death and marriage records from the state or city where the event took place. Very timely information gives fees, locations and addresses, as well as dates of available records. Is updated frequently.

 Vital Records 2 (USA)
A Web site which not only leads you to government resources but also offers related links. Because authenticated copies are not required for genealogy research, you may find a more inexpensive way to find those necessary records via a Web link.

 Vital Records Online
A network of Internet, voice and fax setups to help you get a certified copy of a vital record in record time. While the availability varies from state to state, you can often take your credit card in hand and apply online for a record needed for your passport or similar document. Interestingly, the site provides phone numbers and addresses as well as online connections.

Because Foreign Vital Records are different in each locality, your best bet is to go to the place/country involved on Cyndi's List, by alphabet or subject, and look under “Records”.

For example, under “England”, then “Records”, a web site entitled “Free BMD Project” offers links to free data which has been transcribed. Not complete but improving day to day. Down the page a bit is the “Public Records Office”, a government site which tells you how to access many thousands of documents. (Government offices are often most reliable -but slowest).

Another way to access Foreign Vital Records is to find the main government page for the country you are interested in (using your favorite search engine) and look for “Vital Records”. Often, instructions and even forms are available online---although not the records themselves.

On “Rootsweb”, you may search a surname on a mega-site which includes some vital record data bases among its subscribers. California, for example, now allows births and deaths to be searched online for a period of about 75 years. Rootsweb gathers up searchable sites and puts them in one spot. Virtually all sites pertain to the USA.

Lastly, you might want to look for births and marriages on the LDS FamilySearch. The Mormon volunteers have recorded many sacramental records which are useful for family history. Mostly, they deal with happenings over 75 years ago.

Web sites for Genealogical & Historical Research

Genealogy research can be both stimulating and emotionally satisfying. As you solve the puzzles and contradictions of people’s lives, you may learn more about yourself than you do about Grandmom and Grandpop! To find your place in history, to understand your family and country of origin, to make peace with the issues and problems each family has----try "finding your family", or least get started, on the Web. Favorite sites include governmental, religious, volunteer-run, commercially sponsored and huge, mega-sites about all sorts of genealogy topics.

Genealogy Encyclopedia
This site has been acquired by FamilyHistory101.com. It still contains the terminology and descriptions of basic genealogy research including commonly used abbreviations, genealogical terms, forms, old terms for illnesses (jail fever is typhus)plus links to ther sites.

Ellis Island Family History Center
The site of the American Family Immigration History Center. Useful for researching records of passengers and members of ships' crews who came through Ellis Island and the Port of New York between 1892 and 1924. Original ship manifests as well as photographs and histories of passenger ships are also available.

Castle Garden
Free access to a database of information on 10 million immigrants 1830-1892, the years before Ellis Island opened. The site is still under construction and there are plans to add immigrants and make ship manifests available.

The National Archives
A perfect place to start your genealogy research. From the Research Room on their homepage to Quick Links to Genealogy, you can find out which records are available and where to find them. Hints about using the federal censuses and ships passenger lists are given also, with basic how-to suggestions for beginners. Federal censuses are probably the single best source of information about Americans and the NARA Web site can show you how to make the most of their data. The magnified passenger lists related to the Titanic are really amazing.

The LDS (Mormon) Church
The single best place for church records. Drawing upon sacramental data gathered by their own researchers as well as information input by volunteers, the LDS Church has put together an international database of births, deaths and marriages. Name searches bring up brief records, full family trees and Web sites connected to the family involved. You may find a simple record of a birth or marriage or a lengthy family history going back for generations. The very simplicity and clarity of this Web site make it a joy to use---and it’s totally amazing to see where the information comes from!

The Social Security Death Index
Found on Ancestry.com. It allows researchers to examine brief information about deceased persons who were covered by Social Security. You can enter as little as a surname and find date of birth and death. In addition, you can apply to the Freedom of Information office to get a copy of the original social security application, which is full of information about the person’s family. It’s remarkably useful in tracking distant members of your family or friends-or finding out if and when a long lost person has died.

Family Tree Maker
A commercial Web site which offers some free searches and others by subscription. It’s very useful in finding Web sites connected to specific families and can lead you to FTM disks containing census indexes, family trees and out-of-print books. Often, the library or your friends may own the disks, so buying is not required! The free databases change from month to month, so look at this site often.

Cyndi’s List
Cyndi’s List organizes the material by subject, so that you can search by nationality, religion, physical location or historical period. If you need to know about family Bibles or Danish relatives or Civil War ancestors, there is a Web site here for you. Almost anything you might think of is covered here and is easily located. Includes over 260,000 links to family history plus a “new to genealogy section.”
An online bulletin board where you can post questions or messages about your family and read replies from others interested in the name. People from all over the world can enter questions or comments; all that is required is an e-mail account and something genealogical to share. Just browsing may turn up data you may have missed before.

Access Genealogy
This easy to use site includes cemetery records, military records, Native American records, surnames, biographies and genealogical books online.

Rootsweb.com is a joint product of Rootsweb and Ancestry.com. It offers an immense but easily-searched database. Surnames, keywords, World Connect and GenWeb Projects, SSDI, WW I Draft Records, California vital records, Immigrant Transcribers Guild data and the Obituary Daily Times are included in the overall "quick search". Anything from an entry on a passenger list to a birth record found by the mother’s maiden name may show up, along with names and e-mail addresses of contributing researchers. Every week too, a review of new databases and comments will arrive in your e-mail if you subscribe. Set aside a few hours a week just to keep up with this elegant and information-packed genealogy Web site.

Irish Family History Foundation
This site contains genealogical links, maps, newsletters etc for those researching Irish genealogy. The foundation uses extensive sources to supply marriage, death, baptism, census records etc FOR A FEE!

Italian Genealogical Group
An organization dedicated to furthering Italian family history and genealogy BUT so much more. The New York City Death Index and New York City Groom Index can be used by any ethnic group.

This site provides a way of locating towns in Central Europe by using sophisticated mapping techniques combined with a special Soundexing system. You can search for a village in all of Central Europe or in just one country, and the results will provide a map of the area with your place starred in red. Zooming in and out and tweaking the map to the north or south help you to locate adjacent towns. Especially helpful is the European Soundexing, which retrieves similar-sounding names of places which may now be in a different country from the one shown in maps 100 years ago. Not tied to any nationality or religion despite its name. We even found battleground villages from World War II!

 The US GenWeb Project
This site allows you to focus in on one part of the United States and find out what type of genealogical records are found there. Volunteers aid in retrieving and inputting information, so that a person-to-person contact may develop. Each adopted town or county has a full listing of what is available locally, a real treasure when you are working on family far away. Works well to supplement the NARA materials.

Northern New York Historical Newspapers
Indexed access to selected historical newspapers in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego and St. Lawrence counties which have been scanned from microfilm and converted to PDF files.

New Jersey State Archives
The State Archives operates New Jersey's research center for public records of enduring historical value. The website contains a catalog of holdings, image collections, and searchable databases. Historical records include marriage, death, legal name changes, Civil War vouchers, and more.

If in doubt, head for the Google search engine and enter your family name or personal name within quotation marks. Or use a subject such as Italian Nobility. The excellent, well-sorted results will surprise you! And you may see some of the genealogy Web sites we’ve listed above. Very good for highly specific searches.


The Ocean County Library would like to thank the many people and organizations who have donated materials to our local history collection. If you would like to help us add to our collection, we are seeking the following items in good condition:

  • Ocean County area school yearbooks
  • Postcards of Ocean County locations
  • Ocean County area cookbooks (including those from fundraisers)
  • Ocean County telephone books published before 1990; and          
  • Books and pamphlets concerning Ocean County and New Jersey.

Please email question@theoceancountylibrary.org or call 732-349-6200, ex. 5101 if you have items you would like to donate.



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Researched and Compiled by L. Brown

Copyright © 1996-2005 Disclaimer. All rights reserved. Credits.  05.01.15
Ocean County Library, 101 Washington Street, Toms River, NJ 08753 | Tel. 732-349-6200