RECORD GROUP: County Clerk
RECORD SERIES: 1800
SERIES: Slave Births, 1804-1848
VOLUME: 0.5 cubic feet (one manuscript box of loose papers and one book)
Last entry in “Black Birth Book A” for the birth of Charles Hartshorn Johnson,
son of Silpha Beldow, Negro slave owned by Catherine & Ellener Taylor, February 23, 1839
Slave owners were required to send written notification (loose papers) to the County Clerk announcing the birth of the child of the slave. The County Clerk would record the information from the slave owner’s written notifications into a ledger called Black Birth Book A. Birth statistics include date, location, name of child, name of parents, and slave owner. Not all information is included on every birth record. In 1848, the law required all births in the state of New Jersey to be registered; the separate book for Black births was discontinued.
In 1989, Monmouth County Clerk Jane G. Clayton published the Black Birth Book of Monmouth County, New Jersey, 1804-1848, a 67-page volume compiled by Ellen Thorne Morris and edited by George H. Moss, Jr., County Historian (LCCN: 95-797983). This publication is believed to be a complete compilation of the information found in these records, although several other slave births from this time period are known (see Scope and Content below).
Loose documents and Black Birth Book pages were digitized on July 28, 2012. There are 631 digitized images available online on the Open Public Records Search (OPRS) of the Monmouth County website. The images are searchable by child name, parent name, gender, and date of birth. Four computerized indexes are available in the Archives reading room. An explanation of the use of these indexes is included in the County Clerk’s 1989 publication, Black Birth Book.
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Manalapan, NJ 07726