A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Researching Slavery in Northern Monmouth County, NJ

If you are interested in researching local African-American genealogy, the Office of the Monmouth County Clerk in Freehold, New Jersey maintains records on black births and manumissions for the county. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the county clerk organized many of these records and published two useful books, which are available to borrow from the Matawan Aberdeen Public Library:
While New Jersey never abolished slavery, the Quakers convinced the NJ legislature to grant special status to black children born after 4 July 1804. An 1803 law established that male blacks were to be freed at age 25 and females at age 21. The Black Birth book records qualifying births in the county for the duration of the law. Keep in mind that slaves born before the arbitrary 1804 date would never be freed under the law and that owners were forbidden to free their slaves before age 21 or after age 35. (Later the law was changed allowing slaves to be kept until age 40 and 45.)

The Black Birth book is sorted chronologically, by parents' names, by children's names, by slave owners' names, by children's surnames, by parents' surnames, and by slave owners' occupations. That makes it easier to do family research. Local points of interest include Middletown (Md), Middletown Point (Mdpt), and Mattawan Neck (Mtnk).

Roughly one in ten Monmouth County residents was a slave in 1790 compared to fewer than one in sixteen statewide. There were only 373 manumission deeds or freedom papers filed in Monmouth County from 1791 to 1844.

The three local slave owners in the book are: Peter Covenhoven (Mtnk 1805, Mdpt 1807, no location 1809, no location 1811) , Delafayette Schanck var Schenck (Md 1806, Md 1808, Md 1809, no location 1812, Mdpt 1817, no location 1821, no location 1828), and Eliza F Vanderhoef (Mdpt 1817). Schenck freed a slave in 1826.

Consider these books:

Plus these:

Black Birth Book of Monmouth County New Jersey 1804-1848

Manumission Book of Monmouth County New Jersey 1791-1844


Post a Comment