Morris County Archives

Since 1978, the Heritage Commission has taken a leading role in the preservation of Morris County’s historic records. In that year the Commission created an archival program to insure the accessibility of these documents for the benefit of historians, genealogists, and students.

In 1981-82 The Commission played a key role in creating the Morris County Archives as the County’s official institutional depository for records created by the County of Morris. The Archives is located at the Morris County Library, 30 East Hanover Ave, Whippany, NJ.

What’s in the Archives Vault?

The following is a sample of the many records stored in the county archives and available to researchers by appointment with the Archivist Technician: 

Building Contracts (1853-1972)

  • These are contracts between owner and contractor(s) for construction of a building that were filed with the County Clerk. Buildings for public occupation, such as churches, railroad stations, schools, etc were usually filed with the County Clerk. Private buildings were occasionally filed with the County Clerk. Building Contracts provide information on materials, design and workmanship of structures. In a few instances, plans or drawings are included

Mechanics Lien Claims (1851-1930)

  • These claims briefly describe properties. They also describe the relationship between contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers.
  • Wills, Inventories, Administrator’s Sales of Land, Estate Files, etc. (1793-1962). These records often list real estate holdings and may contain information on family relationships. On rare occasions, inventories of a deceased person’s goods may be listed by room, thus giving information on the number and use of rooms in a structure. Older inventories sometimes list slaves. Researchers are encouraged to use microfilm at the Surrogate’s Office located in the Administration & Records Building first. Microfilm of documents before 1800 is available only at the County Archives.

Road Returns (1741-1915)

  • These documents record the layout of roads. The names of owners of property along the route are often mentioned.

Minutes of the Board of Chosen Freeholders (now County Commissioners) (1786-1943)

  • Includes information relating to the administration of county business, special services, public works and engineering (roads and bridges), human services, and transportation.

Court Records

  • Includes Common Pleas, Circuit Court, Quarter Sessions, Special Sessions, Oyer and Terminer, and New Jersey Supreme Court records filed in the Office of the Morris County Clerk between the mid-eighteenth and mid-twentieth centuries.

Tavern, Hotel and Saloon Licenses (1797-1904)

  • Found in various series; consult the archivist for these documents.

Certificates of Incorporations of Churches

  • Includes information relating to churches, religious societies and schools incorporated between the 18th and mid-twentieth centuries.

Historic Archives Access

Appointments can be made by contacting the Heritage Commission offices at 973.829.8117 or by emailing [email protected]. Research appointments are limited to a 2 hour period, Monday – Wednesday and Friday, either 10:30am to 12:30pm or 2:00pm to 4:00pm. Thursday appointment times are only 2:00pm to 4:00pm.