Revealing the story of who we are and where we come from.
Getting to know the events that happened in the past gives people a better understanding of how society and the political system became the way they are now. That is why about 20 years ago, Tim Stollery, a three-time Emmy-winning videographer/video editor, decided to work at the State Archives in New Jersey. He is very interested in going through historical documents and records and also getting deep with the history that reveals certain aspects of the State.
So if you are like him who is also fond of researching and putting up pieces of history, this might be for you!
What is the State Archives?
State Archives is a place where researchers are present and collective memories of the past are preserved, may it be documents or even past records. “Think of the final scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, where they're taking the Ark and they're putting it into that room where there are massive shelves of stuff.”, Tim explained.
In this feature, He also showed pictures of what their storage of archives looks like. You would see tall shelves that are full of documents and past records that you can scan through which in fact will give you a bigger picture of why things are the way they are now in the state. He also mentioned his good friend, Joe who is the executive director in the States Archives, who brought him to the vault where the top-secret files are placed. If you would like to get a glimpse of their archive, you can visit them or go to their website where you can set up an appointment and scan through an amazing amount of items that have reasonable prices available for you!
What are the documents and records in archives available for viewing?
Tim mentioned that when you go visit their archives, you will see the state records, wills, inventories, surrogate court, and the prerogative court that were from the government as well as the state. There are also available military records, photographs, and documents from the building that were funded by the government, state, and county.
Here are the specific documents available for viewing in State Archives:
- Birth records from 1848 to 1921 and colonial marriage bonds in the year 1666.
- New Jersey's copy of the bill of rights from 1789
- The 13 amendments of the bill of rights
- New Jersey’s Declaration of Independence
- Tim mentioned the story of how it was put together. As seen on the rough drafts shown in the video, there were a lot of cross-outs because they were in a hurry to finish it so that all of the attendees of the constitution could sign immediately and declare the state’s independence. It was done on the 2nd day of July 1776.
- United States Constitutions
- New Jersey’s ratification, Bill of Rights, and Constitutional Amendments are available for viewing
- Additionally, the minutes of the convention during the ratification of the United States constitution are also available. You would see how the government agreed to the same rules and stipulations as Massachusetts and Virginia.
- Proprietors & Adventurers
- This collection consists of the History of New Jersey. It was purchased by the State Archives during the auction at Christine’s on the 21st of June 2006.
- This is one of the main books. Maps during Christie’s period are also included in the collection.
- This book shows the value of New Jersey as it talks about the land, farming, and natural resources.
- It also has all of the names of the proprietors.
- Extracts of Letters Relating to George Carteret and John Berkeley
- This shows the letter from the battle of Staten Island that occurred.
- New Jersey at 350 - A Short History of NJ Land Records by Michelle D. Novak
- This article talks about how the State of New Jersey was born.
- June 24th, 1664: James the Duke of York and Charles the brother of the English king granted the land between the Hudson and the Delaware River to George Carteret and John Berkeley.
- The Second Congress
- President George Washington enacted a bill to decree that every cent, every penny shall contain 208 grains of copper.
- Trenton County Records
- Court of Oyer and Terminer
- Map of East Jersey and West Jersey
- Province line road: The split between East and West Jersey
- Historical Marker Database
- Markers that are available all over the U.S. and New Jersey can be seen on the database.
Q&A with Tim
Dennis: Can you take pictures at the archives? If you were to take pictures of those things, are you allowed to use those as long as you reference them back to the archive, or are those copyrighted materials that you're not allowed?
Tim: No, it's not. It's a public domain. I paid them back in the day when I first started researching there and I worked for New Jersey public TV so they reimbursed me. But now if you come across a document, you get your iPhone as long as you hold it steady and you tap the focus button, they'll bring out these documents for you and they'll offer to do a camera copy, which they charge around $8.
Being knowledgeable about the history of your state can give you a better understanding of yourself and the world around you!
ABOUT TIM STOLLERY
Tim Stollery is an Emmy Award-Winning videographer who aims to tell every client's story in a unique and passionate way. He has been in the industry for 30 years, therefore, he is very professional at what he does and he always shows good quality in his work. He is also knowledgeable when it comes to the history of New Jersey so if you would like to learn more about it,
Get to know Tim more!
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