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New Jersey Church Records
New Jersey Church Records© Lorine McGinnis Schulze
Northern New Jersey was settled by the Dutch who set up trading posts in the 1620s. Swedish and Finnish settlements followed, with settlement along the Delaware River in the 1630s.
During the colonial era, New Jersey was ruled by England. People moved into and out of New Jersey constantly. Church, court, and land records were kept from the time an area was settled.
The first churches in New Jersey were the Dutch Reformed, Congregational (Puritan), Society of Friends (Quaker), and Lutheran.
By 1775 the largest denominations in New Jersey were the Presbyterian, Society of Friends, Dutch Reformed, Baptist, and Anglican (Episcopal) churches.
In the mid-1800s, the Methodist church was the largest, followed by the Presbyterian, Baptist, Reformed, Friends, and Episcopal churches.
Except for the Dutch Reformed and Lutheran churches in northern New Jersey, few of the earliest church records have survived.
The Olive Tree Genealogy New Jersey Section at http://olivetreegenealogy.com/usa/nj/hack_settlers.shtml provides a list of the early settlers in the upper part of Bergen Co., New Jersey before 1700. This list was compiled from the Church membership, and the Marriage Record, of the Hackensack congregation. Wives' names are inlcuded.
Marriages in Hackensack before 1700 can also be found at http://olivetreegenealogy.com/usa/nj/hack_marr.shtml
The church organization at this time occupied the field between Bergen and Tappan, in an area of about 10 miles around Hackensack. These three congregations are believed to be the only ones existing at that period in the vicinity of New Amsterdam (New York City) on the Jersey side.
Some church records for New Jersey for the period before 1750 are:
This article may be reproduced provided all indentifying names and URLs remain intact.
Selected Baptisms of the Evangelical Lutheran Church Ramapo, Bergen Co., New Jersey 1750-1817 NEW September 2010
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