The Bolger Heritage Center and GSBC Collection

The Bolger Heritage Center for Local History and Genealogy at the Ridgewood Public Library (RPL) is an exciting resource for those interested in Bergen County history and genealogy.

The Bolger contains thousands of publications on local history, microfilmed and original local newspapers, copies of vital records, databases, family history files, periodicals, city directories, maps, church histories, and published family histories, among many other treasures.

GSBC Collections at the Bolger Heritage Center

The GSBC’s own collection of books, materials, family files, maps, photographs, and ephemera is now part of the Bolger Heritage Center's resources. In addition, GSBC members are active partners at the Heritage Center and contribute in many ways, including: acting as volunteer assistants; assisting with asset management, archival preservation, and documentation; transcribing and indexing materials; and assisting where and when additional help is needed. Our members work tirelessly to support this important local research facility and help the collection grow and thrive—and a portion of your membership dollars also supports these resources.

In addition to the print and microfilm collections, the Bolger Heritage Center also offers indexes and assets compiled on CD-ROM, access to online subscription genealogical databases, and a state-of-the-art digital scanner to help you organize your family ephemera and photos for future generations.

Click the banner to download an addendum to the May 2015 issue to The Archivist — which features a repository tour of the Bolger Heritage Center.

Bolger Heritage Center Resources and GSBC Collections At-a-Glance

GSBC Research Collections

The GSBC’s collection augments the Ridgewood Public Library's own impressive collection of local history and genealogy books, maps, pamphlets, images, and ephemera in the Bolger Heritage Center for Local History and Genealogy—and many of these materials are found nowhere else. The Bolger also offers guides for conducting genealogy research in other parts of the world; copies of scholarly genealogical journals for New Jersey, New York, and New England; and magazines and newsletters. The Bolger also maintains an archive of original historic books, maps, and manuscripts (appointment only).

The GSBC's collections includes books and magazines as well as GSBC Member-contributed Family Files (below), original transcriptions of vital records and cemetery inventories, copies of microfilmed records, images, and books and manuscript materials. The Society also accepts donations of organized research materials from Members and their families, in paper and electronic format, as well as original manuscripts, maps, and documents.

More information on the Bolger Heritage Center and the GSBC's Collections >

Newspaper Collections, Online Access, and Microfilm

The Ridgewood Public Library owns an extensive microfilm collection of historic newspapers covering the Bergen County and northern New Jersey area. Over the decades, GSBC volunteers have been steadily indexing information from these newspapers including birth, marriage, and death announcements to serve those searching for Bergen County ancestors.

More information and the ever-growing list of newspaper titles and GSBC’s exclusive indexes >

These resources can be used in-person at the RPL (microfilm) or copies ordered through GSBC's Lookup Services >

Vital Records

Vital records are the records of key life events including births, marriages, and deaths. The Society has a large collection of vital records at the Library, transcribed from original sources. Please note that in most all cases, these are not the same records you will find at a State Archives, many of which are official government forms, but recordings of events in ledger books at the respective church or cemetery.

Bergen County, New JerseyListing of record transcriptions at the Bolger Heritage Center

– Other New Jersey CountiesListing of record transcriptions at the Bolger Heritage Center

New York StateListing of record transcriptions at the Bolger Heritage Center

Genealogical Databases

The GSBC helps offset the annual subscription costs for Ancestry (Library Edition), NewspaperArchives, and rotating roster of newspaper databases (currently, The New York Times Historical Newspaper Database), so that everyone who visits the Ridgewood Public library can start searching for their family! These can be used on-site at the library during normal business hours.

Image and Slide Scanning

The Bolger Heritage Center maintains an excellent Epson scanner for patrons' use. This scanner can scan flat images as well as negatives and slides. Bring your own USB flash drive to save images onto. If you have never used a scanner before, contact Local History Librarian Sarah Kiefer at or 201-670-5600 x2135.

Get Help > GSBC Genealogy Consultants, Lookups, and Queries

The GSBC Genealogy Consultants program offers free one-on-one help to those researching their families. Appointments are limited to a half and hour can be requested through the website.

GSBC’s volunteers help those who cannot get to the collections or who are stumped with a line of research by conducting lookups among the vast materials in our collections. There is a small fee per lookup for non-Members and GSBC Members receive four free lookups per year.

See more information about the GSBC Genealogy Consultants and Lookup Services >

Visiting the Bolger Heritage Center at the Ridgewood Public Library

The Bolger Heritage Center is located in the Ridgewood Public Library, 125 N. Maple Ave, Ridgewood, NJ 07450. The Heritage Center and computer access is open during normal library hours. Archives are open only by appointment. Please see the Ridgewood Public Library website for hours, contact information, and directions.

If you require help with your research or have specific questions, please contact the Local History Librarian Sarah Kiefer at or 201-670-5600 x2135 before visiting.