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Repository Tour


Bergen County Historical Society Library

By Lucille Bertram
This series highlights local repositories and underutilized resources that may be of interest to Bergen County genealogists. If you have a repository or library you would like to see included in this series, please send your suggestions to Michelle D. Novak, GSBCArchivist@iCloud.com


In November 2014, after several years in storage, the Bergen County Historical Society (BCHS) Library re-opened at its new location in Room 124 at Bergen Community College in Hackensack. The library is a must see for anyone with an interest in genealogy and is a great source for information about local history — a topic that goes hand-in-hand with your family’s history.

Bergen-Hist-Society3

A document in the BCHS collection — a 1790 letter from Bergen County slave owner, James Jay, to a slave named Claus which promises continued good treatment or to be sold into another household. [http://www.bergencountyhistory.org/Pages/Claus_JayDoc.html]

The mission of the BCHS is to collect and preserve data, papers and documents of genealogical, biographical, and topographical information having historical significance to the civil, political, military, and general history of Bergen County and its adjoining areas.

The BCHS began building their library collection more than 100 years ago. Once housed in the Hackensack Public Library, and later in Felician College, the BCHS Library has grown to be one of the most important collections of Bergen County materials, anywhere.


What are the Must-see Resources for Genealogists?

  • Bergen-Hist-Society2

    The BCHS Library publications collection in its new home

    Local Published Histories — The BCHS Library holds more than 2,500 volumes, including many rare and unusual titles.

  • Bergen Family Genealogies — The BCHS collection includes more than 200 individual family genealogies — some of which are not easily available anywhere else.
  • Family History Manuscripts — The library also has in its vertical file a number of manuscripts of family histories.
  • Bergen Town Monographs — A large collection of local town monographs which often mention the families who lived in and contributed to the history of their communities.
  • Revolutionary War Resources — The book collection contains an extensive set of materials relating to the American Revolution including a number of volumes on those who remained loyal to England.
  • Bergen-Hist-Society4

    BCHS volunteers assembling the library's casework

    Manuscript Files — There are more than 650 file envelopes in the manuscript files containing original deeds, letters, tax lists, receipts, mortgages, and road petitions. Most of the items have been indexed for easy access. Among the manuscripts are handwritten lists of early 19th century Bergen County officials.

  • Bergen County Photographic Collection — A large collection of photos of Bergen County homes, businesses, townscapes, and other items of interest to the genealogist and historian are housed in the collection. The images are housed in a set of 38 binders and are indexed.
  • Bergen County Church and Cemetery Records — The library boasts an extensive and unique collection of Bergen County church and cemetery records compiled by local DAR Chapters, other groups, and dedicated individuals. Some examples: Vital Records of Edgewater, NJ; School Records of Fort Lee; Funeral Records of the Heus Funeral Home in Fort Lee; The English Neighborhood Reformed Church of Ridgefield Cemetery Burial Records.
  • Bergen County Bible Records and Diaries
  • Bergen County Maps Collection — The BCHS Library may be the only repository in Bergen County to house the entire Sanborn Insurance map collection for the area. The Library’s extensive collection of maps is fully indexed and the collection contains a number of unique atlases covering Bergen County, including the Franklin Survey Atlas and the Bromley Atlas.
  • Newspaper Clippings and Scrapbooks — News clippings about local communities compiled by persons interested in Bergen County history and scrapbooks about various organizations in the County.

What are the hours, fees, and other information?

  • The BCHS Library is located at:
    Bergen Community College
    Philip Ciarco, Jr. Learning Center, Room 124
    355 Main Street, Hackensack NJ
  • Use of the BCHS Library is free and open to all.
  • The Library is currently open two days a week, Wednesdays 12–5pm and Thursdays 10am–3pm. (Additional hours may be added in the near future.) The BCHS Library’s collection is also available by appointment to researchers by contacting thebchslibrary@gmail.com.
  • The staff of the BCHS Library will provide help to all who visit.
  • Email and letter queries from members of the BCHS are answered for free. We charge $10 per e-mail or letter query from non-members.
  • There is a small charge for photocopies.
  • The building and the BCHS Library are handicapped accessible. Handicapped parking is available in the large lot behind the Philip A. Ciarco building.
  • Metered parking is available on the street.
  • There is a food area with tables and chairs in the lobby of the Ciarco building with vending machines for snacks and drinks. No food or drinks are allowed in the BCHS Library.

How can someone contact a research specialist?

Bergen-Hist-Society1

The exterior of the Philip Ciarco, Jr. Learning Center at Bergen Community College

For any additional questions or research queries (see possible BCHS non-member applicable research fees, above) send an e-mail to:

thebchslibrary@gmail.com

View more information about the collection, and membership, at:

www.bergencountyhistory.org/Pages/librarycollections.html

GSBC, RPL, and Other Events of Note

Aug
18
Thu
12:00 pm Introduction to New Jersey Genea...
Introduction to New Jersey Genea...
Aug 18 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Note: This is a webinar by the New Jersey State Library. Please follow the link below to register and contact the NJSL with any questions or technical problems.  Introduction to New Jersey Genealogy Presented by[...]
Aug
22
Mon
7:00 pm Annual Genealogy Q&A + Ask the E... @ Ridgewood Public Library Auditorium
Annual Genealogy Q&A + Ask the E... @ Ridgewood Public Library Auditorium
Aug 22 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Annual Genealogy Q&A + Ask the Experts! (In-person) @ Ridgewood Public Library Auditorium
Annual Genealogy Q&A + Ask the Experts! Ridgewood Public Library Auditorium, 125 N Maple Avenue, Ridgewood, NJ 07450 Monday, 22 August @ 7:00 pm In-Person Event  No registration required. Masks are not required, but encouraged. Join[...]
Sep
10
Sat
5:00 pm 19th Annual RPL–GSBC Genealogy L... @ Ridgewood Public Library
19th Annual RPL–GSBC Genealogy L... @ Ridgewood Public Library
Sep 10 @ 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
19th Annual RPL–GSBC Genealogy Lock-In @ Ridgewood Public Library
19th Annual RPL–GSBC Genealogy Lock-In Ridgewood Public Library, 125 N Maple Ave, Ridgewood, NJ 07450 Saturday, 10 September 2022 5:00 pm–10:00 pm; Please arrive by 4:30pm to check-in—doors lock at 5pm! A light supper will be[...]
Sep
12
Mon
2:00 pm The Why, Where, When, What, and ...
The Why, Where, When, What, and ...
Sep 12 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
The Why, Where, When, What, and How of Lineage & Hereditary Societies (Online)
GSBC Extra! (Online) The Why, Where, When, What, and How of Lineage & Hereditary Societies Presentation by Christine Cohen Monday, 12 September 2022 @ 2pm Eastern, Online Online and open to all, but space is[...]
Sep
26
Mon
7:00 pm Discovering Your UK/Irish Roots ... @ Ridgewood Public Library
Discovering Your UK/Irish Roots ... @ Ridgewood Public Library
Sep 26 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Discovering Your UK/Irish Roots Online: Websites and Resources for English, Welsh, Irish, and Scottish Ancestry (Hybrid—online and in-person) @ Ridgewood Public Library
GSBC General Meeting (Hybrid—online and in-person) Discovering Your UK/Irish Roots Online: Websites and Resources for English, Welsh, Irish, and Scottish Ancestry Presentation by Debra Dudek Monday, 26 September 2022 @ 7pm Eastern Online and open[...]
Oct
10
Mon
2:00 pm Four Unfamiliar Bergen County Re...
Four Unfamiliar Bergen County Re...
Oct 10 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Four Unfamiliar Bergen County Resources (Online)
GSBC Extra! (Online) Four Unfamiliar Bergen County Resources Presentation by Peggy W. Norris, MS, MLIS, Monday, 10 October 2022 @ 2pm Eastern Online and open to all, but space is limited! Registration required. Registration link:[...]
Oct
24
Mon
7:00 pm New Milford, “The Birthplace” of... @ Ridgewood Public Library Auditorium
New Milford, “The Birthplace” of... @ Ridgewood Public Library Auditorium
Oct 24 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
New Milford, “The Birthplace” of Bergen County (Hybrid—online and in-person) @ Ridgewood Public Library Auditorium
GSBC General Meeting (Hybrid—online and in-person) New Milford, “The Birthplace” of Bergen County Presentation by Nancy Varettoni Monday, 24 October 2022 @ 7pm Eastern Online and open to all, but space is limited! Registration required[...]

GSBC Genealogy Consultants

The GSBC is continuing to offer free consultant slots, via online conference call, to those looking for help with their family research.

Please email gsbc.queries@gmail.com for more information about available time slots.