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The Genealogy Collection

Discover Your Family History

Welcome to the Plainfield Public Library genealogy page. In addition to how-to guides and Reference Department staples on the main floor of the library, the Local History Department, located on the lower level of the library, offers many specialized resources to family historians and genealogists. All are encouraged to consult the Local History staff for assistance. This can be done in person; by phone at 908-757-1111 x136; or by sending an e-mail to genealogy[@] Click here to learn more about visiting the library.


Learn about the Library's

Memoir Writing Club


Genealogy Club

Just Getting Started?
Check out these genealogy tips:

Tips for Adults for helpful advice when starting your family's genealogical research. 

Tips for Kids has some great ideas for getting kids involved in exploring their family’s past.

First Steps in Family History (video)

View Other Recorded Genealogy Programs

Reference Books and Family Histories

Our genealogy collection provides one of the library's wealthiest resources, concentrating on New Jersey county, state and regional families. Frequently used sources include genealogies of single families and collective biographies, as well as biographical indexes. Reference material covers emigrants and Mayflower descendants, published DAR records, and biographies of New Jersey residents. Searches are also possible by category of persons or by ethnic group, such as with Guide to Tracing Your African American Civil War Ancestor.

Also found in the Local History Room are a variety of reference titles such as New Jersey Marriage Records, 1665-1800, Abstracts of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots, and more narrowly-focused family histories (all are accessible through the library catalog).

Genealogical Journals and Periodicals

The Local History department holds an extensive collection of genealogical journals and periodicals, as well as the historical local newspaper collection. The collection includes coverage of New Jersey, New York, and New England as well as parts of Pennsylvania and Maryland.


Local Records Project
The Local History and Genealogy Department has several projects currently underway. Please refer to the Department Main Page and the Genealogy Collections Index for more information and resources.

Records Index & Transcription
The preservation of records from local houses or worship is an important part of the preservation of Plainfield's history. The First Park Baptist Church was first to lend its late 19th century membership lists and deceased parishioner files for our Church Records project. Mount Olive Baptist Church has loaned two minute books with entries of deceased members dating from 1916, and Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church has loaned an 1844 leather-bound volume of church records. Click here to read an article about the project. The transcriptions will be made publicly available as they are completed.

Another exciting project is the indexing and preservation of the records from the A.M. Runyon / Memorial Funeral Home. These records date from 1903 to 1987. File content varies, but will usually contains funeral and burial information, cause of death, next of kin, and often other family details. The files are currently being processed and are not open to the public, but Local History staff are happy to assist patrons with requests; please contact us.

Please see our list of historical & current local cemeteries and funeral homes.

Plainfield Resources

The Plainfield Collection contains city directories dating back to the 1870s, high school yearbooks back to 1906, family histories, personal papers & manuscripts, organization records as well as books that detail the cultural, social and historical aspects of life in Plainfield. We also are creating a Courier News Obituary Index from obituaries that were published in the Courier News between the mid-1920s to the mid-1980s.

Donations Welcome!
The Local History Department welcomes donations of personal papers, photographs, yearbooks, scrapbooks, artifacts, and other items. The resources in our collections were made available for public research through the generosity of our donors. If you would like to loan or donate items to the collection, please contact us at 908-757-1111, ext. 136.

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