Bartles Papers

New Access for the Bartles Papers I Long time patrons of the HCHS manuscript collections are undoubtedly familiar with the Bartles Papers. The Bartles Papers, Collection No. 34, are one of the most widely used collections in our archives, as well as being one of our largest collections. The collection …

150 Years Ago: Gettysburg

Today marks the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. Our own, John Kuhl, published a flipbook containing images of NJ Soldiers of the Civil War. Take a look at CIVIL WAR FLIPBOOK. Below are some example images.

Collection 136 New Release!

The Hunterdon County Historical Society is pleased to announce the release of its latest manuscript collection, No. 136: Records of the Hunterdon County Agricultural Extension Service. This collection contains records of the Hunterdon County Agricultural Extension service and some of its employees from 1933 to 1960. Important subjects include the …

Manuscript Collections

Manuscript Collections are original records produced by an individual, family, or a group organization over time. They can be as small as one individual item, or can comprise hundreds of boxes of material. Our collections represent the historical legacy of many Hunterdon County individuals, families, businesses, civic organizations, social groups, …

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Bartles Papers

June 29, 2014 Archives Comments Off

New Access for the Bartles Papers I

Long time patrons of the HCHS manuscript collections are undoubtedly familiar with the Bartles Papers. The Bartles Papers, Collection No. 34, are one of the most widely used collections in our archives, as well as being one of our largest collections. The collection is comprised of 38 boxes of records that have both genealogical and historical significance.

Screen shot 2014-06-29 at 8.32.25 AMThe papers are primarily those of Charles Bartles, a prominent lawyer in Flemington in the Nineteenth Century. They are full of deeds, leases, mortgages, surveys, estate material, papers relating to the Flemington Railroad, the Flemington Copper Company, and several other mining and land ventures. There are also papers relating to his responsibilities during the Civil War, including militia lists and letters to Governors, as well as correspondence and legal work for many Hunterdon families, much of which contains family information. Also included in his papers are Papers of two county lawyers and their practices that he acquired in his career, those of William Maxwell and John Bryan.

Through the efforts of HCHS volunteers, the Papers of Charles Bartles are now more accessible than ever before, hopefully broadening their interest to a new generation of researchers. As followers of the HCHS and its archives already know, we have been engaged in a project that has been slowly digitizing and making available electronic versions of the inventories of our manuscript collections. The Bartles collection is the next collection that has become available! The most exciting thing about this new access tool is that the Bartles papers, in addition to an inventory, also has an index. The index is arranged alphabetically by surname or company name, and gives a numerical page number for each inventory entry where that person or company may be found. Looking up family names is easy; researchers can simply find the name, note the page number in the inventory, and then open up the inventory (please note the fact that the inventory is in 4 files defined by range of page numbers) to that page. The inventory is complete to the folder level, and often describes individual items in the folder.

Of course, once it is determined that a file or folder is of interest, the researcher still has to come to the HCHS during open reference hours to access the material. Because of its frequent use, this collection is filmed and is available for microfilm use in the Deats Memorial Library. Alternatively, those interested in using the collection from a distance may inquire as to our mail reference policies and fees. It is important to note that researchers may also be interested in Collection No. 75, the Bartles Papers II, also available here at the HCHS archives.

No. 128: The Clark-Dunham Family Photographs

June 4, 2014 Spotlight Comments Off

collection_128_imageThe Clark-Dunham Family Photographs collection consists of photographs from the Clark-Dunham and Apgar families. The majority of the images are studio portraits, but unfortunately only a minority are identified. There are pictures of assorted people on a variety of dates, and different occasions. The collection has been arranged according to identified photos, portrait/studio photos followed by groupings according to a theme suggested by similarities of the subject. Of interest are the identifiable photographs of the Clark-Dunham and Apgar families, and two tintypes. One group of photographs appears to have been taken at the Philadelphia Sesquicentennial held in 1925.

There are 83 folders separated into five series. The portrait/studio photographs are filed one per folder with identified pictures (folders 1 through 16) followed by the two tintypes (folder 17). The next series is unidentified or only partially identified images, still mostly studio portraits of single subjects or family groups (folders 17 through 69). Smaller photographs, previously contained in an album are placed in enclosures (envelopes 70 through 82) according to a theme. There is one heavily damaged photograph of the town of Clinton, looking east along Main Street taken from the hill behind the Red Mill [folder 83]. Virtually none of the photographs are dated, but there appear to be images from the late 1880′s through the 1930′s.

These photos were once in possession of, and presumably collected by, Harry Kline Dunham (1879 – 1949) and his wife Blanche Clark. The families were from Bedminister Township, Somerset County and New Germantown, later known as Oldwick. Members also originated from Clinton, Hunterdon County. Marion and Helen Waldron of Oldwick, NJ donated these photos to HCHS. Their aunt, Sarah Craig, married Henry Kline (d. January10, 1927). Sarah was related to Harry (Henry) Kline Dunham. Clark Dunham, the son of Harry K. Dunham, last owned the pictures.

The Society would welcome the assistance of any members or interested researchers familiar with the Clark-Dunham families who could identify some of the subjects in these images.

Changes in Research Policy

May 12, 2014 Archives Comments Off

As a historical society, we collect, organize and preserve collections, manuscripts and genealogy resources and make them available to the public. Many of our holdings consist of collections donated by area individuals, families and businesses. These collections help document the history of Hunterdon County. We also maintain a research library. These holdings consist of self-published family genealogies and biographies, documents donated by other genealogists, bound manuscripts and volumes, church records, early marriage records, county records and much more. We have books about the environment, families, houses and businesses of Hunterdon County. We also support distance queries sent by email or U.S. mail for research on family or other topics.

Our income is solely based on membership dues and general donations. As distance research queries have become more complicated and require more time by our volunteers, we  are following the lead of other historical societies and charging a nominal fee for this service.  These fees also will help fund our facilities’ utility costs as well as the purchase of relevant genealogies, biographies and published family histories.

Family Files and Binder Collection


The Family File and Binder Collection and the Subject Files contain miscellaneous materials relating to specific family names, to the states, towns, and cities of the United States, and to genealogical research in general. Included are drafts of letters written by Local History and Genealogy reference librarians, pamphlets and other materials donated to the Library, magazine and newspaper clippings, genealogical charts and newsletters, and brochures of genealogical interest relating to organizations, societies and libraries throughout Hunterdon County. Currently, additions or corrections submitted by donors to update the genealogical information appearing in books in the Library’s collections are kept in the appropriate Family File. The Files also include family name newsletters and local history/ethnic

Materials in the Vertical File are not yet cataloged. A list of names only will be available soon.

Collection Statement

While it is true that, as a rule, that the Library accepts donations in the areas of genealogy and local history, there are exceptions. The credentials of the publisher, content of the work, amount of original research, scope, intended audience, and overall quality of the production, all play a role in the selection decision. As a Historical Society we are dependent on local families for the donations of their papers, manuscripts and collections. Newsletters from other historical societies are received at the pleasure of the sending society. We retain the current copy only. Unpublished gift materials are reviewed on a case by case basis; materials of an ephemeral nature, brochures and pamphlets, are generally added to the Subject File if appropriate or the Family File if specific to a family.


You may request research in two ways:

  • Download an application, fill it out and mail it with a check for $25 to: Research Query, Hunterdon County Historical Society, 114 Main Street, Flemington, NJ 08822.
  • Online: Pay the $25 fee via paypal. Once the fee is paid you will be forwarded to a form to fill out.

$25 per query: Distance research such as queries emailed or mailed to the Society requesting information is available at $25 per query. This includes two hours of researching our library and archive resources. Please note we do not conduct off-site research such as trips to the Hall of Records, or the Offices of the County Clerk or Surrogate.

Research fees are nonrefundable and apply whether or not any relevant information is found. Results will be emailed or mailed. We may offer suggestions how you may continue researching, provide alternate resources and/or suggest hiring a professional genealogist.

The Library is open to the public for research every Thursday (except Thanksgiving) from 12 – 4pm and the second and fourth Saturday of every month from 10am – 4pm. There is no charge for doing your own research in the library.

- Download a Genealogy Research Request Form Here -
- Download a Research Request Form Here -

OR Sign up online:

New Jersey Vital Records
Please note, we do not have official birth, death, or marriage certificates. For these, we suggest you contact any or all of the following:

Spotlight on Collections: 1901 Manuscript Reveals Origins of the Whitehouse Fire Company

April 21, 2014 Archives Comments Off
HCHS_Whitehouse Fire Cover

CLICK on image for a closer view

Ask just about any archivist that you know (if you know any), and they will tell you that they love their job. Why anyone would love a job that requires painstaking and tedious sorting, cataloging, boxing, and cleaning of old records is hard to understand for people who do not choose this path to make a living. But the fact remains that despite the tedium, archivists do love what they do. For most archivists, the process of creating order out of chaos is rewarding in and of itself. But another part of this love is the occasional diamond in the rough; the thrill of unearthing a historically important document or photograph that turns up unexpectedly and provides a key piece of information for a researcher or genealogist.

I was fortunate to have that thrill of discovery recently while cataloging some manuscripts that had been donated to the Historical Society in 2009. One of the items was an innocuous looking volume, rather thin, with a lot of doodling on the front cover. Rather amusingly, the cover was entitled Whitehouse Fire Company, with a representation of flames penciled in above the name. More historically interesting was the information contained within: a constitution, by-laws, original membership list, and attendance log that were the formative documents of the Fire Company starting in the year 1901.

HCHS_Whitehouse Fire Cover CULater that week, I shared this discovery with one of my volunteers. Dan Leechan is one of my veteran archival volunteers. He has processed several collections for the Society, is always ready to help out in whatever way he can, and he is also just one heck of a nice guy. He also happens to be a member of the Whitehouse Fire Company. When I showed him the manuscript, he was really surprised, and thoroughly interested. He took several images of the manuscript to show the gang back at the Firehouse.

When Dan returned the next week, he asked me if he could copy the manuscript using our digital scanner. As it turns out, Dan’s father, who is a past Chief and an officer of the Fire Company, was astounded by the volume. As far as anyone in the Company knew, their history could only be traced back to 1922. There were some members who thought the Company may have been a little older than that, but no one could prove it beyond their oldest documents from the early 1920’s. Now, the Fire Company can pinpoint not only their year of formation, but also the names and details of their charter members.

These are the kinds of discoveries that may be small in the larger context of history, but are very meaningful on the local level of history. Not only do these finds provide a momentary thrill for the archivist and the volunteers, but they also validate both the work and the mission of the Hunterdon County Historical Society. The mission of our institution is, simply, to collect, preserve, and share. By doing so, we get to reconnect people to their past, just as we did with the Whitehouse Fire Company. And it is also one of the things that can really make an archivist love their job.