Road Return Survey Maps, 1803-1973

RECORD GROUP: County Clerk
SERIES: Road Return Survey Maps
DATES: 1803-1973
VOLUME: 707 maps

Image - Road Return Map
Portion of road survey in Raritan Township
by Alfred Walling, 1853


The Road Returns Survey Maps contains 707 maps prepared by surveyors as supplements to their road surveys, 1737-1979. Maps are from 1803-1973. The maps are part of the Road Returns record series which also contains textual documents in loose papers and books.


A “road return” is a report filed with the county by a surveyor after a road was laid out, altered or vacated. Returns originated when a freeholder or property owner petitioned the court to open a new road or vacate part, or all, of an existing road. The court would appoint six surveyors of the highways. These six surveyors would then notify the court via their “return” of their decision on whether the change was necessary. The county retained many of the surveyors’ returns. If the survey was for a new road, the return would set the official date when the road would be opened to the public.


Maps in the Road Return record series can be for old roads, vacated roads and new roads, for all or portions of roads. There can be maps for private roads, county takeovers, dedications of new roads or reopening of new roads, road extensions, improvements, widenings, straightenings, and name changes. Of the 2,157 files in Road Returns, 707 have maps. The maps can contain property owner names, landmarks, and other appurtenances or land formations such as a fence, barn, orchard, ditch, brook, bridge, improved land, woodland, etc. Some very large oversized maps are stored separately.


This collection is open to researchers.


The series is available for use on fifteen rolls of microfilm. Original documents will be retrieved under exceptional circumstances. The maps are located in the Road Return files.


Records in the Access database indicate whether a map is included. The database includes the applicant’s name, survey date, location, and where possible, brief descriptions of the road. If the road connected two towns or extended to another county, the index provides the destination. The returns are organized by town, then by year.

Monmouth County Archives
125 Symmes Drive
Manalapan, NJ 07726
Phone: 732-308-3771


The Road Returns were transferred to Monmouth County Clerk Jane G. Clayton before 1999.


An Access database of 2,157 Road Returns was created July 30, 1997. Road Returns and maps were microfilmed and scanned. A finding aid for the maps was created in December 2015 by George Joynson.


A finding aid for the Road Returns is online at Road Returns, 1737-1979.