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What’s New in New Brunswick, New Jersey?

That is a lot of ‘new’ for anyone. However, that is what is happening online with the New Brunswick Public Library by placing all types of historical and genealogical collections online.  You wouldn’t necessarily need to have an ancestor from New Brunswick, or the county of Middlesex, it could be anywhere in New Jersey or even nearby New York that these collections might be of assistance in your family research.

Several items are of limited use through ProQuest or through the actual library. There several other collections however online that can be accessed by anyone, anytime.

A good start is with the New Brunswick newspapers.  There is the New Brunswick Daily Times which runs from 1871 to 1916 and the New Brunswick Home News printed between 1887 and 1906. Not only can a keyword or surname can be placed in the search box, but also an event such as the sinking of the Titanic in April 1912. A reminder that the New Brunswick newspapers cover stories from all over, not just New Jersey.

A very unusual example is when I placed the surname of ‘Kershaw’ and came up with the Sept. 1900 article about Henry Kershaw and the title of the article was ‘Dead Man Alive’.  It was about a gentleman named Henry Kershaw of Fisberville, Massachusetts, who had been buried upon his ‘death’ in the Grafton Cemetery. The next day he was walking the town streets and going to the local mill asking for his weekly pay. As it turned out the body buried earlier was not actually Henry.  Rather a body had recently been pulled from the river in town and the clothing was identified as belonging to Kershaw.  A mistake had been made and the actual Henry was alive and well.

Another great collection available is the postcards of New Brunswick and surrounding areas. There are some 160 postcard images of every description and time period.  The unusual and variety is amazing.  There are hospitals, street scenes, libraries, homes, the railroad, classes of students, factories, lodge halls, churches, hotels, and so many more.  There is a brief description with each postcard. By clicking on one at a time the image enlarges for easier viewing.

Another collection has general photographs of the area and especially the Scott family and their garage, most taken in the early 1900s.

A great resource for any area is to use the Sanborn Maps.  Here are the ones for New Brunswick going from 1886, 1892, 1897, 1904, 1912, 1919 and 1922.  A wonderful array of the homes and businesses for the town covering nearly 40 years.  The site also offers other counties in New Jersey.

With this material don’t you wish your ancestors had lived in New Brunswick?

Postcard:  McCormick Hotel  1860

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