RECORD GROUP: Clerk of the Court Records
RECORD SERIES #: 2400
SERIES: Common Pleas
VOLUME: 327 manuscript boxes, 194 record cartons, 102 books, & 218 rolls of microfilm labeled Pleas Court.
- Loose Papers, 1723-1900 – 37,949 records in 324 manuscript boxes + 7 oversized boxes
- Loose Papers, 1901-1948 – 36,168 case files in 194 record cartons, plus 508 records in 3 manuscript boxes.
- Minute Books, 1721-1947 – 64 books
- Scratch Minute Books, 1911-1936 – 5 books
- General Index to Judgments Books, 1869-1909 – 2 books
- Judgments Books, 1799-1949 – 29 books
- Appeals & Notices Book, 1869-1893 – 1 book
- Widow Pensions Book, 1931-1936 – 484 records in 1 book
Hierarchically, Common Pleas was above the Court of Small Causes, heard by Justices of the Peace involving the smallest amounts of money, and below Circuit Court which was staffed by visiting Supreme Court justices. Appeals from Common Pleas were usually heard by Circuit Court.
The 1878 Revision to the Statutes of New Jersey provided that Common Pleas would be administered by two lay judges in counties having a law judge and of three in all other counties, provided that the Act did not apply to counties with more than 50,000 population.
In 1947, the new New Jersey State Constitution eliminated the Common Pleas court and replaced it, along with the criminal courts of Oyer & Terminer and General Quarter Sessions, with the Superior Court of New Jersey.
The Monmouth County Archives has discrete record series pertaining to Building Contracts, Illegitimate Children, Marriages, Mechanic Liens Name Changes, Tavern Applications, and others. Where references to such topics are found in the Common Pleas records, the databases for these record series have been updated with cross references.
Common Pleas Minute Books, 1721-1947
There are 64 Common Pleas Minute Books covering the years 1721-1947, where the cases are entered chronologically. These books have been microfilmed. Some books have an alphabetical index in the front of the book. The Common Pleas books were microfilmed on 47 reels.
Series # 2400.20
Common Pleas Loose Papers, 1723-1900
Common Pleas loose papers from 1723-1900 are contained in 324 manuscript boxes and are arranged by year starting with the year 1723 in manuscript Box 1, to year 1900 in Box 324. Within each year cases are arranged alphabetically by defendant. If the case involved action that continued over a year, the record will be found in the year that the case started. These 37,000 records have been processed, microfilmed, and indexed in an Access database available in the Archives. The Access database includes: year, defendant, plaintiff, town, notes and box #. Digitizing is complete through 1865 and is continuing. Some have been posted online on the Open Public Records Search System (OPRS).
Common Pleas Loose Papers 1901-1949
Common Pleas Loose Papers from 1901-1949 are arranged by docket number 1-36,168 and contained in 194 record cartons. These were microfilmed as “Pleas Court” on 218 reels of microfilm.
Series # 2400.30
Common Pleas Judgment Books, 1799-1949
There are 29 Common Pleas Judgment Books, spanning 1799-1949. Judgments were entered chronologically. Some books have two alphabetical indexes, one for plaintiffs and one for defendants. Some records include docket numbers. These books have been microfilmed.
Series # 2400.40
Common Pleas General Index to Judgment Books, 1869-1909
There is one book labeled General Index to Judgments 1877- that is unusable and needs to be restored. 1-1-9. Another book covers 1869-1909 and is arranged chronologically.
Series # 2400.50
Common Pleas Widow Pensions, 1931-1936
Common Pleas Widow Pensions are contained in one book of 484 records entered chronologically and numbered consecutively, with an alphabetical index by widow’s surname. Records include the date the pension was filed, and remarks such as: granted, modified, revised, revoked, dismissed, denied, increased, or reduced. These have been microfilmed but are not in the Common Pleas Access database as of December 2, 2014.
Series # 2400.60
Common Pleas Scratch Minutes Books, 1911-1936
Common Pleas Scratch Minute books are hand written records of events as they occurred and later used to create the official Minute Books. These 5 books have been microfilmed.
Series # 2400.70
Common Pleas Lunacy Orders, 17 Books
Contact the Archives for additional information about this subseries.
125 Symmes Drive
Manalapan, NJ 07726