Hon. Rosemarie D. Peters, County Surrogate, wins award

LINCROFT, NJ – Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon is pleased to announce that the Honorable Rosemarie D. Peters, Monmouth County Surrogate, is the winner of the 2021 M. Claire French Award for Leadership in Historic Preservation. The award will be presented at the County Clerk’s 26th Annual Archives and History Day on Saturday, Oct. 2 at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft.

“The M. Claire French Award Committee is excited to announce that Surrogate Rosemarie Peters is the winner of this year’s award,” said Clerk Hanlon. “She truly demonstrates the qualifications for the award through her focus on preserving important historical records of the Surrogate’s Office for generations to come. It is my honor to present the award to such a deserving county leader, who will be retiring at the end of this year.”

Surrogate Peters’ dedication to historic preservation dates back to her service in Middletown Township, prior to being elected County Surrogate. She initiated and chaired the Township’s Open Space Preservation Committee and is the founder, past president, and a current Trustee of the Middletown Township Cultural and Arts Council.

In her role as County Surrogate, she undertook the massive project of digitizing the Surrogate’s records which contain estates and guardianships dating back to the late 1700’s. The major steps in the digitization project involved the Russell Index which lists Surrogate’s Court matters dating from the late 1700s to 1991 and the indexing of estates dating from 1991 to the present. Surrogate Peters also digitized 770 Will Books contained on 230 reels of microfilm, along with 67 Proceeding Books contained on 15 reels of microfilm. This digitization has made the records available through on line searching.

Mrs. Peters is currently serving in her fifteenth year as Monmouth County Surrogate. She was appointed by the New Jersey Supreme Court to serve on its Judiciary-Surrogate Liaison Committee and its Advisory Committee on Public Access to Court Records. She has served as President of the Constitutional Officers Association of New Jersey and is currently a member of their Board of Trustees. She is also a member of the New Jersey and Monmouth Bar Associations.

Prior to being elected Surrogate, Mrs. Peters was a member of the Middletown Township Committee for 18 years, four of them as Mayor and three as Deputy Mayor. She is also a former member of the Middletown Township Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Adjustment. She is a graduate of Rutgers School of Law-Newark, Thomas A. Edison State College, and Brookdale Community College.

The M. Claire French Award for Leadership in Historic Preservation recognizes outstanding achievements of an elected official, government employee, public servant or civic organization in supporting historic preservation in Monmouth County through education, development, planning, rehabilitation, advocacy, community leadership or other means. Created in 2015, the award is named after M. Claire French, Hanlon’s predecessor, who was County Clerk from 1997 until her retirement in 2015.

The 2021 M. Claire French Award Committee members are Clerk Hanlon, former Clerk M. Claire French, Hon. Robert D. Clifton, Hon. Susan M. Kiley, and historian Rick Geffken.

For more information about the County Clerk’s Archives and History Day, visit the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office website at, or contact the Monmouth County Archives Division by phone at 732-308-3771 or email to

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