Note: As of 2017, most New Jersey State Censuses have been digitized and are available online at FamilySearch (account required, free). Michelle Tucker Chubenko and the Genealogical Society of New Jersey has published an online guides with links through to the online collections at http://www.gsnj.org/new-jersey-state-censuses/
Locating Pre-1894 Places
Also note that villages, boroughs, towns, and cities prior to the mid-1890s had very different boundaries. To trace the history of the municipality and county boundaries, see The Story of New Jersey’s Civil Boundaries, 1606–1968, by John F. Snyder, available as a free PDF download from the State of New Jersey and the New Jersey State Library.
See also, Bergen County's towns and townships, which includes a "family tree," to determine which town or borough existed when. This article was prepared by Arnold Lang of the Genealogical Society of Bergen County.
Members of the GSBC have indexed several New Jersey State Census for Bergen County. Please read through this article to find out how to get the most out of this index.
- 1885 covers Ridgewood Township, Franklin Township, Hohokus Township
- 1895 covers Village of Ridgewood, Midland Park Borough, Glen Rock Borough, Orvil Township: Hohokus and Waldwick, Orvil Township: Allendale, Saddle River Borough
- 1905 covers Village of Ridgewood, Franklin Township, Midland Park Borough, Glen Rock Borough, Orvil Borough, Orvil Township: Waldwick, Allendale Borough, Saddle River Borough
- 1915 covers Village of Ridgewood, Midland Park Borough, Glen Rock Borough, Ho-Ho-Kus Borough, Orvil Township (later became Waldwick), Allendale Borough, Saddle River Borough
All heads of household and people in the household with different surnames are indexed. We encountered the usual problems which make indexing difficult—the enumerators’ handwriting, the enumerators’ spelling, and the quality of the microfilm. Always check alternate spellings, especially phonetic ones. Sometimes a duplicate entry was made for the same person. These entries, in italics, are alternate spellings or known corrections. This was not done for every questionable entry, but when the words would not alphabetize closely together. Question marks have been used for unreadable letters and to indicate that an interpretation is questionable.
Searching and Viewing with Adobe Acrobat Reader:
The index for each year is an Adobe Acrobat (pdf) file. You can download the free Reader here. Using the find function, enter the name in the search box (“last name” “first name” -- for example, naugle martha). It is also advisable to browse the pages. Use the scroll bar to move quickly to the desired part of the alphabet.
Race and Nationality Codes:
1885 & 1895: W=White, C=Colored, For.=Foreign Born
1905 & 1915: W=White, C or B=Black, Ch or Chin=Chinese, Jap or Jp=Japanese
Information in each census:
1885 and 1895: Name of every person, Sex, Race, whether Native or Foreign-Born (German, Irish, or Other), Age Category
1905 and 1915: Name of every person, race, sex, month and year of birth, age, marital status, birthplace (state or country) of individual and parents, number of years in U.S., citizenship status, occupation, whether literate or fluent in English and whether home is owned or rented. Sometimes streets and house numbers are recorded.
Townships on the Censuses
Townships and boroughs are arranged on the microfilm in alphabetic order by the name of the town (ignoring “Borough of” etc.) It is important to note the following cases of finding towns where you would not expect them:
- Midland Park Borough (found under Franklin Township, Borough of Midland Park)
- Glen Rock Borough (found under Ridgewood Township, Borough of Glen Rock)
- Saddle River Borough (found after Orvil Twsp, Borough of Allendale)
- Allendale (found under Orvil Twsp., Borough of Allendale)
- 1905—Orvil Borough found under Orvil Township, Orvil Borough
- 1915—Orvil Township and Village of Ridgewood (film is in reverse alphabetic order)
Funding for this index has been made possible in part through grant funds administered by the Bergen County Department of Parks, Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs through a General Operating Support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a Division of Cultural Affairs in the Department of State.
Additional funds were provided by the Ridgewood Public Library. Volunteers from the Genealogical Society of Bergen County also made significant contributions to the project.