If you haven’t been to microforms at Alexander library, Rutgers University in a while you will be pleasantly surprised. Last semester the University (and the New Jersey taxpayers) installed new microfilm scanners, and they are wonderful. I had been dreading using the old machines, I never could find one that worked properly. It took me a few minutes (ok maybe more) to get acquainted with the new devices. I was fortunate to sit next to a fellow genealogist; Joan Betancourt and she helped me get going. If you aren’t so lucky, there are work-study students in the room and they seemed to be able to assist people get over the initial shock.
I had the pleasure of viewing some very old tax records and well even the new equipment can only do so much; particularly when the reading part of your progressive lens probably could use an update. The wonderful thing however is that I could easily email the images, or save them to a thumb drive. I now have the entire 1812 Newark Township New Jersey Tax Ratables on my PC.
Why do I need the entire list you ask? It seems a published list had this fellow listed however he was not where he should be on the microfilm. I did notice the list on film was “semi alphabetical.” I need to go through the entire town to see if my man was really there in 1812. Well at least I can do it at home in my fuzzy slippers, instead of the poorly lit basement.
Never take a printed source as fact, and always do an exhaustive search….