Historic Archives Access
Much of the historic archives overseen by the Morris County Heritage Commission have been moved to the third floor of the county-owned Morris View Healthcare Center in Morris Township as part of a strategic plan to maximize the logistical and economic use of county space. Interim safety and security issues currently mandate accessibility only by Morris County Heritage Commission staff. Please address requests for information to Archivist Peg Shultz at Heritage@co.morris.nj.us, who will accommodate your research needs to the fullest extent that staff research time allows.
Local history microfilm and photographs continue to be housed at the Cultural Center at 300 Mendham Road and can be viewed by appointment on the fourth Thursday of the month. Current staffing permits research time of up to two hours per individual researcher. Please contact the County Archivist Peg Shultz at 973-829-8117 or by email at Heritage@co.morris.nj.us to make your appointment.
Additional research hours will be made available as soon as staffing, safety and security requirements are in place.
Since 1978, the Heritage Commission has taken a leading role in
the preservation of Morris County's historic records. In that
year the Commission created an archival program to insure the
accessibility of these documents for the benefit of historians,
genealogists, and students.
In 1981-82 The Commission played a key role in creating the Morris
County Archives as the County's official depository. The Archives
is located at the Morris County Cultural Center, 300 Mendham Road,
The following is a sample of the many records stored in the county archives and available to researchers by appointment with the archivist:
- Building Contracts (1853-1972).
These are contracts between owner and contractor(s) for construction
of a building that were filed with the County Clerk. Buildings
for public occupation, such as churches, railroad stations,
schools, etc were usually filed with the County Clerk. Private
buildings were occasionally filed with the County Clerk. Building
Contracts provide information on materials, design and workmanship
of structures. In a few instances, plans or drawings are included
- Mechanics Lien Claims (1851-1930).
These claims briefly describe properties. They also describe
the relationship between contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers.
- Records of the Surrogate. Wills, Inventories,
Administrator's Sales of Land, Estate Files, etc. (1793-1962).
These records often list real estate holdings and may contain
information on family relationships. On rare occasions, inventories
of a deceased person's goods may be listed by room, thus giving
information on the number and use of rooms in a structure. Older
inventories sometimes list slaves. Researchers are encouraged
to use microfilm at the Surrogate's Office located in the Hall
of Records first. Microfilm of documents before 1800
is available only at the County Archives.
- Road Returns (1741-1915). These
documents record the layout of roads. The names of owners of
property along the route are often mentioned. The earliest road
returns, Morris County, NJ Road Returns Book A and Book B, are
available on microfilm at the Joint Free Public Library of Morristown
and Morris Township.
- Minutes of the Board of Chosen Freeholders
(1786-1943). Includes information relating to the administration
of county business, special services, public works and engineering
(roads and bridges), human services, and transportation.
- Court Records. Includes Common
Pleas, Circuit Court, Quarter Sessions, Special Sessions, Oyer
and Terminer, and New Jersey Supreme Court records filed in
the Office of the Morris County Clerk between the mid-eighteenth
and mid-twentieth centuries.
- Widows Relief Petitions (1913-1936).
Provides information for the study of social history and women's
history during the early twentieth century.
- Certificates of Incorporations of Churches
includes information relating to churches, religious societies
and schools incorporated between the 18th and mid-twentieth
- Tavern, Hotel and Saloon Licenses
are found in various series; consult the archivist for these