Middlesex County


Place Record Title
Middlesex County
Place Type
County or Parish
Middlesex County was one of the original counties created in New Jersey in the 17th century. It is located at the mouth of the Raritan River across from Staten Island, New York. Many communities in the county were originally established by Dutch settlers. The City of New Brunswick is the county seat and the location of Rutgers University's historic campus (established in 1766 as Queen's College). Another important city in Middlesex is Perth Amboy, which served as New Jersey's main slave trading port since the 1680s.

Middlesex County slavery records for the early 19th century (birth, manumission, and removal certificates) are housed at Special Collections and University Archives at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. These records have been digitized and indexed by the Scarlet and Black research team and have been integrated into the New Jersey Slavery Records database. For details about these records, see our Middlesex County Slavery Records research guide, linked under Related Resources.

Note that, prior to 1850, Albany Street in New Brunswick served as the county boundary between Middlesex and Somerset, and thus the City of New Brunswick was actually split in half. A portion of the city (most of today's downtown) was located in Middlesex County and another portion (including all of the Rutgers College Avenue Campus) was officially in Somerset County. This situation was remedied in 1850 when the county boundary was redrawn to move all of New Brunswick into Middlesex County. But due to this history, researchers looking for slavery era records linked to Rutgers University's historic campus on College Avenue are encouraged to consult Somerset County records, which will contain many documents related to Rutgers affiliates.

Additionally, Middlesex County borders shifted in 1838 when a portion of the county around West Windsor and Princeton was annexed to form the new Mercer County. Middlesex County records contain many documents related to the West Windsor and Princeton area.

County demographics from the 1800 U.S. census, when slavery in New Jersey reached its peak:

In 1800, Middlesex County had 1,827 Black residents, making it the 4th in the state by Black population. The number of enslaved persons in the county was 1,564, with 85.6% of the Black residents living in slavery. In terms of population percentages, Middlesex County figures closely resembled Monmouth: 10.2% of Middlesex residents were Black, and 8.7% of Middlesex residents were enslaved. Middlesex had 263 free Black residents (14.4% of the Black population or 1.5% of the total population of the county). The total population of the county was 17,890, ranking 6th among New Jersey's 13 counties by population.
County (Modern)
Middlesex County
State or Province
New Jersey
United States of America
Record Contributor
Jesse Bayker

Linked resources

Items with "Location Created: Middlesex County"
Title Class
Middlesex County Births of Enslaved Children Book, 1804-1844 Bibliographic Resource
Middlesex County Manumissions and Removals Book, 1800-1825 Bibliographic Resource
Receipt issued to Jacob Van Dike related to Harry, a Black man carried away by followers of the British army Bibliographic Resource
Items with "Places Located Here: Middlesex County"
Title Class
New Jersey Location
Items with "Location of Event: Middlesex County"
Title Class
1794-12-15 Sale: David Event
1805-02-10 Birth: Silas Event
1805-02-15 Birth: Johannah Event
1807-05-31 Birth: Hannah Event
1809-09-05 Birth: Sarah Event
1813-04-03 Removal: Jude Event
1814-09-14 Manumission: Jack Event
1815-04-15 Birth: Joseph Jennings Event
1817-03-02 Birth: Nancy Event
1817-09-23 Removal: Ben Event
1818-03-21 Removal: Aaron Event
1818-06 Sale: Salley Event
1818-06-01 Removal: Salley Event
1818-10-06 Removal: Cain Event
1818-10-06 Removal: Frank Event
1818-10-06 Removal: George Event
1818-10-15 Removal: Elijah Event
1818-10-15 Removal: Jack Event
1818-10-15 Removal: Lewis Event
1818-10-15 Removal: Mary Event
1818-10-15 Removal: Phebe Event