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Revised 27 December 2010

NEW JERSEY

New Jersey was known to French explorers as early as 1524.  Henry Hudson sailed up the Hudson River in 1609 while in the service of Holland.  Within nine years, the Dutch had settlers in the area opposite New York City.  New York City was actually founded by the Dutch in 1660 and became its first permanent white settlement.  Sweden also had a representative colony in the Delaware Valley by commission of the King of Sweden. 

England was represented in this area by 1664 when Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret convinced the Duke of York to grant them the area between the Hudson and the Delaware rivers.  At that time, the English took possession of New Jersey from the Netherlands.    The colony of New Jersey was named after the English Channel home of Carteret.    Migration brought an even greater ethnic diversity to the area.  Puritans came from Connecticut and established Newark.  Scotch-Irish Presbyterians migrated into the eastern counties.  English Quakers moved into the rich farming areas of the Delaware River.

Although there were many different religious views in the colony, the settlers were united in their views against the tax and monetary dealings of the Crown and its proprietors.  When financial gain did not meet expectations, the proprietors sold their interests to William Penn and his Quaker friends.

In the early part of the eighteenth century, New Jersey and New York had the same royal governor.  In 1738, this combine ended and New Jersey achieved a government body and legislature of its own.  In 1758, the government established the first Indian Reservation in America in what is now Burlington.  New Jersey entered into the Revolutionary war with her sister states and George Washington and his American soldiers executed a great strategic move by retreating into Pennsylvania in 1776, then re-crossing the Delaware in a surprise attack on the Hessians, defeating the British forces in a major battle in Trenton in 1776.  New Jersey was nicknamed "Cockpit of the Revolution" after its citizens likened its many battles fought within its borders to a series of cockfights.

New Jersey became the third state to ratify the constitution in 1778 and officially became a state on 18 December 1787.  According to the first U.S. Census.   New jersey was primarily home to the English from the Old World and New England, the Dutch and Swedes, the French and Scotch.

Name Date formed Parent County County Seat
Atlantic 1837 Gloucester Mays Landing
Bergen 1675 Province of East Jersey Hackensack
Burlington 1681 Original County Mt. Holly
Camden 1844 Gloucester Camden
Cape May 1692 Cumberland (area was settled as early as 1682) Cape May C. H.
Cumberland 1748 Salem Bridgeton
Essex 1675 Province of East Jersey Newark
Gloucester 1686 Original county Woodbury
Hudson 1840 Bergen Jersey City
Hunterdon 1714 Burlington Flemington
Mercer 1838 Somerset, Middlesex, Hunterdon, Burlington Trenton
Middlesex 1675 Province of East Jersey New Brunswick
Monmouth 1675 Province of East Jersey Freehold
Morris 1739 Hunterdon Morristown
Ocean 1850 Monmouth Toms River
Passaic 1837 Bergen, Essex Paterson
Salem 1681 Original County Salem
Somerset 1688 Middlesex Somerville
Sussex 1753 Morris Newton
Union 1867 Essex Elizabeth
Warren 1824 Sussex Belvidere

NEW JERSEY RESEARCH LINKS

NEW JERSEY GENWEB PROJECT NEW JERSEY GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY
NEW JERSEY HISTORICAL SOCIETY NEW JERSEY VITAL STATISTICS