Deeds, 1665-1965

RECORD GROUP: County Clerk
DATES: 1665-1965
VOLUME: 1350 volumes, 450 cubic feet

Deed for web
Indian Deed to John Bowne, 1686, Book B, p.33
*** For digital images of more current deeds, see OPRS ***
  • Recorded Grantor & Grantee Deed Books & Indexes:
    • 1665-1955, available on shelves in Deed Room at Market Yard
    • 1665-1976, available on shelves in Deed Room at Market Yard
    • 1973-current, available online at OPRS
    • Miscellaneous B Book
  • Unclaimed Deeds, 1695-1856 (also called unclaimed, undelivered or unreturned), at Archives
  • Colonial Conveyances of the Province of East Jersey, 1664-1794, on microfilm at Archives
A deed is a legal document that records the transfer of ownership of real estate. Most deeds include the names of the grantors and grantees, date, location of the property and the amount paid, although it was a custom to state the value as “$1 dollar and other valuable consideration.” Deeds usually do not specify whether a specific structure such as a dwelling house is on the property but the language usually includes a catchall phrase such as including “all and any structures if attached.”
Deed Books, 1665-1965
Deed books consist of copies of deeds of properties in Monmouth County, New Jersey, recorded in the Office of the County Clerk. Original (loose) deeds (1695-1856) in the Archives were not picked up by property owners after being recorded in the deed books. Separate Index Books for grantors and grantees provide access to deeds by book and page number.

The Archives has a set of 3,450 Deed Books on microfilm and an incomplete set of 1,350 bound volumes. A complete bound set is at the County Clerk’s Office at Market Yard, Freehold. The first deed in Deed Book A, starts with “A Copy of the Charter or Grand Patent Granted Unto the Purchasers and Patentees of Nevasink, Narumsum and Pookapeck…” written in 1665.
Copies of the earliest deeds are also recorded in Book ABC, entitled “Records in General for the towns Middletown and Shrewsbury.” Books A, B & C were scanned and are available:

Book ABC was a bound volume (now loose pages filed individually in folders) containing Deed Books A, B, and C, covering the period 1665 to 1696. The earliest document in the ABC Book is a copy of the Monmouth Patent from 1665. Book ABC also record court cases, jury appointments, marriages, arrest warrants, manumissions and other matters.

Book ABC was disbound and the pages individually treated by the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts in 2007, with funding from a P.A.R.I.S. grant to Monmouth County.

The Archives also holds the Indexes for Deed Books A-Z, as well as Books A2 and S2.

Unclaimed Deeds, 1695-1856
Unclaimed deeds are loose papers, stored in 62 manuscript boxes and two flat boxes for oversized documents. They are filed by year. Copies of most of these deeds are recorded in the deed books, but the actual deed was not picked up or delivered to the new owner. Examples include Quit Claims, Surveys, a deed for a “Negro burying ground,” Orphan Court sale of a sawmill, and others. (2-1 & 2-6)

Grantor (buyer) and Grantee (seller) abbreviations often used:
et al – and others
ux – his wife
hd – her husband
Exr – male Executor of Last Will
Exrx – female Executor of a Last Will
Adm – male Administrator of Estate
Admx – female Administrator of Estate

Deeds also can name the Sheriff as Grantor. Deeds can be transferred by Trustees for deceased, or acting as Guardians for minors, and there are recorded deeds to purchase cemetery plots.

Colonial Conveyances, 1664-1794
Archives has a printed index of Grantors and Grantees of the Colonial Conveyances for Provinces of East Jersey, and the conveyances on 15 rolls of microfilm in the reading room. The original documents are at the New Jersey State Archives.

This collection is open to researchers.
Colonial conveyances, deed books, indexes and loose deeds are available on microfilm in the reading room.
Deeds were recorded in Book A, B, C…Z, then book A1, B1, C1…Z1, then book A2, B2, C2…Z2, through A6…Z6. The next book started with number 145. Deeds were recorded chronologically based on the record date. The unclaimed deeds are filed by year and are recorded in deed books. The Colonial Conveyances are arranged chronologically.
Monmouth County Archives
2125 Symmes Drive
Manalapan NJ 07726
Tel. 732-308-3771
The Deed Books, indexes and unclaimed deeds were transferred to the Archives by Jane G. Clayton, Monmouth County Clerk before 1999. The printed index and microfilmed copies of the Colonial Conveyances for the Provinces of East Jersey were donated by Gerald Ceres on March 27, 2000.
The Deed Books were microfilmed February 6, 1996. A finding aid was created by Gary D. Saretzky on September 5, 1996, and updated April 2016 by George Joynson. An Access database of Unclaimed Deeds 1695-1870, containing 2,482 records was created March 8, 1999. An Access database of Recorded Grantee Deeds Index, 1920-1929, currently containing more than 90,000 records, was begun on June 5, 2013, and is an ongoing project. The 1920-1929 deeds index shows date of record, name of grantee and grantor, deed book and page number.