Whenever I take on a new project either personal or for hire I set time aside to educate myself about the general vicinity of the family. This is not something I would bill anyone for, but for me it’s like doing your homework. Though I am a life-long New Jersey resident, I don’t know the history of every corner of this state, but it’s important that I find it out before I begin investigating the people and their lives.
Every day on the local news there seems to be some discussion on how we have too many fiefdoms, too many counties and too many school districts for a state our size. If you have a family that lived on the border of multiple counties (mine were Somerset/Morris/Union) you will find yourself researching more than one county usually. It can be a bit confusing.
This brings me to Kingston, New Jersey. According to Wikipedia it is located in modern-day Franklin (Somerset), Princeton (Mercer), and South Brunswick (Middlesex) towns. The “King’s Highway”, which was the first route between Manhattan and Pennsylvania, the two major ports on the Mid-Atlantic region, ran right through this area (Lurie, Siegel, Wacker, 2009). Kingston has a long and important place in our state’s history. While most early records will probably be in Middlesex County, the oldest of the three, you could miss entire branches of a family, if they happened to be residing in Somerset County. If you are researching a Dutch family, they could have worshipped at Six Mile Run, another unincorporated area of Franklin Township. English families would have probably ended up at the Kingston Presbyterian Church, or perhaps the Society of Friends Stony Brook, Meeting in what is now Princeton. Still can’t find anything? Then it is time to break out a map and see what other towns are in the vicinity.
Kingston is unique in that it is a “tri-county” village. It has a rich history and has been an important part of what would one day be our nation since the 1600’s, like much of New Jersey. Don’t just search for the people on your tree, learn about where they lived as well.
Kingston, New Jersey. (2012, February 14). Retrieved
Lurie, M. N., Siegel, M., & Wacker, P. O. (2009).
Mapping new jersey, an evolving landscape. New Brunwick: Rutgers University Press.