Upcoming Events:2013 GSNJ Spring Program
Saturday, June 1, 2013
Location: Wilbur Watts Intermediate School in Burlington, NJ
The Genealogical Society of New Jersey and The Burlington County Historical Society are proud to present a 2013 Spring Genealogy Program.Topics & Speakers:
The Genealogical Society of New Jersey (GSNJ) was founded in 1921 by a group of genealogical scholars dedicated to the preservation of New Jersey family history. A common interest among GSNJ's founders was the transcription of ancient tombstone information. Styling themselves "tombstones hounds," they began the practice of organizing get-togethers or "tombstone hunts" at burying grounds around the state. In 1924 the Society was incorporated, with its mission to discover, procure, preserve and publish information pertaining to families and individuals associated with New Jersey.
GSNJ's institutional history can be seen as a rich tapestry of truly remarkable contributions made by scores of committed volunteers. In many cases, these men and women have given decades of service to promote the Society's mission and attain its far-reaching objectives. Many of the founders were still active on the board of trustees into the 1940s-50s, more than twenty or thirty years after establishing the organization. Such long affiliations with the Society are still common among the trustees.
In 1925, the Society commenced publication of its journal, The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey. Now in its eightieth volume, GMNJ was originally issued quarterly but evolved into three (larger) numbers issued annually. It is, today, respected as a national leader among genealogical journals and is recognized as the preeminent resource for transcribed primary source material from New Jersey. GMNJ's success can be attributed to a tradition of commitment to the journal-personally by its editors and organizationally by the board of trustees. Despite the fact that the editors have never been compensated, in the journal's eighty year history there have been only six editorships or co-editorships. Founding editor Russell Bruce Rankin served from 1925 to 1949. He was succeeded by Donald A. Sinclair, who served as editor for twenty years and as a trustee from 1939 until his death in 2004. The late Kenn Stryker-Rodda, for several decades a trustee of the Society and associate editor of the Magazine, was recently nominated to the National Genealogy Hall of Fame. Such dedication continues today as thousands of hours are freely given each year by GSNJ's board members and volunteers.
As times and research methodology have changed, the Society has evolved as an organization and has risen to face the challenges of an electronic age. Since its founding, GSNJ has collected manuscripts and research papers. Its extensive archives are a key resource for New Jersey genealogy, complementing the holdings of public and academic research institutions. In 1960, GSNJ's manuscript collections were placed on deposit at Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University, New Brunswick. Forty-five years later, this arrangement still serves both organizations and the researching public quite well.
In 1976, GSNJ began its Newsletter as a forum for reviews of published works, queries and other genealogical news. This publication has itself evolved over the decades, adding features to educate genealogists and promote scholarship. In the early 1990s, GSNJ began automating its indexes and finding aids, and a few years later established its website. Our Internet presence is now, of course, a major focus for the Society, as is the creation of electronic resources.
Throughout GSNJ's history, we have also issued many reference works
and sponsored countless educational programs. The latter are frequently
co-presented with other historical or genealogical groups in-state and
out-of-state. GSNJ regularly joins with other statewide organizations
to promote New Jersey history and genealogy, ever broadening our
audience and range of publishing and collecting. Yet the basic mission
of the Society remains constant, and our tradition of service through
volunteering and the ideals of accuracy and scholarship in genealogical
research will continue to guide us in our future endeavors.