Charles R. Hutchinson Collection

RECORD GROUP: Special Collections
SERIES: Charles R. Hutchinson Collection Microfilms
DATES: 1880-1919
VOLUME: Eight microfilm rolls

Charles Hutchinson image

The Charles R. Hutchinson Collection is an invaluable resource for genealogists and historians studying the area of Western Monmouth County, as well as parts of Burlington and Mercer counties. The Monmouth County Archives holds a microfilm copy of part of the collection. The original collection belongs to the New Jersey Historical Society, which also holds the copyright. Hutchinson filled over 28 volumes with detailed family and local histories, including, for one series, several volumes of sources that are often complete transcriptions. Many maps are scattered throughout, as well as four entire books of maps. There are eight rolls of film. The film was created by the Genealogical Society of Salt Lake City for the New Jersey Historical Society in October 1973.
Charles R. Hutchinson, (1838-1927,) was born in Upper Freehold, New Jersey. He was a resident of Allentown and Upper Freehold, where he kept a general store before becoming an insurance agent. It was through the contacts in his businesses that he was able to amass the enormous amounts of information he used to write his books. Hutchinson spent almost three decades compiling volumes on local history and genealogies, not only of Monmouth County, but also of Mercer County and Burlington County.

In 1919, as a final entry in a volume, Hutchinson wrote: “…I commend it to the tender mercies of my posterity, who may or may not value it when I am gone, but to me, at least, it has been a labor of love, a fascinating diversion during a long and busy life, and represents much patient labor and careful research. If at some time it should happen to fall into the hands of some one to whom it is not of enough interest to keep it from destruction I hope it will still be preserved for there surely will always be others to whom it will be of use even if at that time, our own family shall have become entirely extinct.”

At the close of his last book, he wrote, “This is the fourth time I have written up these records, and, while they perhaps still contain some errors, I think they are mainly reliable. Any way, they will have to stand as here written, for I am now in my eighty-second year, and in the natural course of things must soon follow those of past generations whose memory I have endeavored, as far as possible, to reserve from underserved oblivion.”

Charles R. Hutchinson died on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1927, at the age of 89. His work was saved from being lost forever in 1928, when the New Jersey Historical Society in Newark purchased the collection.

Scope & Content
The Hutchinson collection is a remarkable, complex and invaluable body of records and documents that contain attentive notes and personal observations from the man who painstakingly created its volumes. Featured are extensive genealogies on many of the Upper Freehold families including his own Hutchinson lines, Robbins, Stewards, Imlays, Burnetts, Staffords, Middletons and many other families too numerous to list. There are dozens of meticulous maps scattered throughout the collection defining the old homestead properties of the Upper Freehold, Mercer, and Burlington County families. There are also four separate map books.

In addition, Hutchinson wrote many pages on the histories of Allentown, Bordentown, and Imlaystown. He carefully transcribed the first Upper Freehold Town Book and the Upper Freehold Overseers of the Poor Book, as well as the Nottingham Town Book. He recorded many of the inscriptions seen on the headstones in the local burial grounds in Upper Freehold, Hamilton Square, Hightstown, and other towns.

Hutchinson also reproduced, in part or whole, the sources he used to generate the histories of the families and towns. The sources were newspapers, town books, ledgers, meeting minutes, history books by other authors, legal records, personal family papers, marriage licenses, church records, wills, surveys, deeds, and other county records. Many of these sources can be found in Books A-M in Series 4, and are meticulously organized and numbered.

Navigating this collection can be difficult for the new user. These books were written before word processing made it simple to edit past works. Some information is simply re-written along with newer information. This is why some family histories and stories are repeated throughout the collection.

The books are arranged into four numbered series, plus two unnumbered sets of family notebooks and maps. Scrapbook numbers are applied to the numbered series and the family notebooks, while the map books are identified with the letters A-D. It is unclear whether Hutchinson applied the scrapbook numbers, as they do not correspond to the order in which he wrote his books.

Hutchinson did provide a way to find every family mentioned through precise indexes and reference key numbers, though not all of the books have indexes. A database is available at the Archives for locating maps in the family books. The sources found in Series 4, Books A-M are intended to be used with the Family Records in Series 2.

The collection is arranged thus:
Series 1/S.B. 71 – Books 1-6 (Family genealogies and some local history)
Series 2/S.B. 72 – Books 1-2 (Family Records)
Series 3/S.B. 73 – Book A (Final Revision)
Series 4/S.B. 70 – Books A-M (Sources for Series 2 books)
S.B. 79 – Family Notebooks
Map Books A-D

These books can be found on the rolls of film in this order:
Roll 1 – Series 1 Index, Book 1
Roll 2 – Series 1, Books 2 – 6
Roll 3 – Series 2, Book 1
Roll 4 – Series 2, Book 2
Roll 5 – Series 3, Book A (Final Revision)
Roll 6 – Series 4, Books A – F
Roll 7 – Series 4, Books G – M
Roll 8 – Map Books A – D; S.B. 79/Family Notebooks

Users should keep an eye out for the descriptive personal notes Hutchinson leaves with many of the Sources in Series 4, Books A – M. They can be anything from his personal experiences with the people involved, or the occasion of locating the materials, and more. These notes lend a very unique and personal aspect to this collection. It is not just a compilation of facts and figures. For example, in Source Book H, entry #3623, regarding the Imlay Burying Ground, Hutchinson says:

Thursday, April 16, 1885 – This former place of internment of the Imlay Family of Imlaystown is located on the south bank of Doctors Creek, a short distance below the Grist Mill, and within the limits of the farm now owned and occupied by Wilson Miller. It appears to have once contained quite a number of marble gravestones, only a few of which now remain. Several others are broken off at the base, and fragments are plentifully scattered about. A roadway along the fence passes over several graves. The inscription on the stone of Peter Imlay I found on a fragment lying by the fence side.

In addition, Hutchinson also penciled in small notations, which can be found periodically throughout the collection. These can be very faint, so a sharp eye is needed to locate them. They usually mention a source number, a particular map, or even a Deed Book and page.

Also, there are notes for several names scattered throughout the Table of Contents pages for Series 2. These names and locations are listed in the Family Names database.

access restrictions
The Archives does not hold the copyright to this collection, although researchers are welcome to view the film. No images are to be used for publication. Contact the New Jersey Historical Society for further information.
The volumes are contained on eight rolls of microfilm. A User Guide is available in a loose-leaf binder in the Jane Clayton Reading Room at the Archives. The guide describes in detail the arrangement of the collection, the various series, and provides indexes to many of the books. The guide also includes instructions for using the Series 2 Family Books with the Series 4 Source Books. Additionally, there is a map location table for the family books, as well as a list of towns and places highlighted in the collection. It is recommended that the patron peruse this guide before using the film.

Databases for the names, towns, sources, and maps are available at the Archives. Some of the entries in the Source Books A-M have been edited for clarification. For example, in Book E, an entry title “Whitehead’s East Jersey” was retitled “East Jersey under the Proprietary Governments,” by William Whitehead, because that is the actual title of the source. Similarly, some entries have been reformatted to provide consistency, or to match the actual entry, if not the table of contents created by Hutchinson.
The maps are primarily from the Delaware River east to Freehold. Occasionally another location is included. Names in the map database, and in the List of Maps in the User Guide, are whatever forms of identification could be used, as the vast majority of the maps have no titles. Often, the general area or the identifying geographic feature takes the place of a name. If a single name or transaction was listed, that was used as the map title.

The collection is a set of eight rolls of microfilm. For contents of each roll of film, please see the Scope and Content section.
Monmouth County Archives
125 Symmes Drive
Manalapan, NJ 07726
Phone: 732-308-3771
The finding aid was created in January 2011 by Mary Ann Kiernan. The finding aid was revised and updated, and a user guide with accompanying databases created by Mary Hussey in December 2018.

This finding aid and the user guide are the result of a collaboration of several institutions. Monmouth County Archives would like to thank John Fabiano of the Allentown Public Library, James Amemasor and Steve Tettamanti at the New Jersey Historical Society, and Joseph Klett at the New Jersey State Archives for sharing their research and assistance with this collection.

A digital copy of a complete transcription by John Fabiano of Hutchinson’s Allentown, N.J.: Its Rise and Progress, can be found in the Archives Finding Aids under Municipalities.

The New Jersey Historical Society is the owner of the Charles R. Hutchinson Collection. Fifteen boxes hold all of the books listed in this finding aid, as well as numerous volumes not filmed. These unfilmed records are, in the main, scrapbooks created by Hutchinson that include clippings from many books and newspapers regarding not only history and genealogy, but poetry and interesting articles. They were created re-using old ledgers or other already used books. Hutchinson pasted his clippings over the used portions, but some of the original may be seen. There is a box of loose papers that appear to be resources, as well as loose papers and maps found in the inside front pockets of several of the books, and within the pages of the Family Records books. It appears that none of these were filmed, but the loose papers can be seen still tucked into the pockets on the film. There are also two indexes to the genealogical portions of the collection that were not filmed. It would be well worth a researcher’s time to visit the New Jersey Historical Society to see the unfilmed portions of the collection.

The Monmouth County Historical Association also has a collection of Hutchinson’s papers, called Fire Insurance Records, relating to his work as an insurance agent. The three-box collection contains policies issued to homeowners, as well as renewal sketches of various properties. These fire insurance policies contain highly detailed drawings and descriptions of the properties being insured, as well as invaluable genealogical information on the homeowner, listings of the homeowner’s personal possessions, notes about the policy owner, and many times a map of the property.

The Allentown Public Library and the New Jersey State Archives each hold a set of microfilm of the collection, as well.

Please see the film contents in Scope & Content above, and the User Guide in the Reading Room.