Sussex County Births of Slaves, c. 1801-1835


Source Type
Civil Document
Sussex County Births of Slaves, c. 1801-1835
Sussex County Clerk
Bibliographic Citation
Microfilm: Sussex County, NJ, Births of Slaves, 1801-1835. Available on, Image Group 004541260.
Location Created
Sussex County
Warren County
The Sussex County Births of Slaves is a collection of birth certificates submitted to the Sussex County Clerk's Office. This collection was microfilmed in 1980 at the Sussex County Courthouse in Newton. The microfilm roll has been digitized and made available to the public by as Image Group 004541260 (a free account is required to view the microfilm images). The microfilm roll is also available for review at the New Jersey State Archives in Trenton (Control # CSUCL003).

The items in this collection are individual slips of paper submitted by enslavers to the County Clerk. Beginning on July 4, 1804, enslavers had to report to the County Clerk when an enslaved mother in their household gave birth to a child. These county records were necessary to prove the child's age and eligibility for emancipation at age 21 (for female children) or age 25 (for male children) under the provisions of the 1804 Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery. The name of the mother was often (but not always) listed on the birth certificate. Occasionally, the father's name was also listed.

The New Jersey Slavery Records team has reviewed and indexed all birth certificates that appear on this microfilm roll. All records have been integrated into our database. Whenever possible, our team conducted additional research, verified information about the enslavers, and created household and family group links. Each Sussex County birth record in our database provides a link to the relevant image on

To browse these birth records, go to the EVENTS browsing page and set the following filters:
- Event type: Birth
- County (Historical): Sussex

The Sussex County Births of Slaves microfilm contains many records from the neighboring Warren County. Warren County was established in 1824 from the southern portion of Sussex County. Prior to 1824, enslavers who lived in the communities that are now part of Warren County were submitting birth certificates to the Sussex County Clerk in Newton.

Some enslavers listed their township of residence on the birth certificate, but about a third of the certificates do not list any locality. The certificates that are missing a locality have been linked to the general area of Sussex County in our database, but keep in mind that some of these births likely occurred in present-day Warren County. In some cases, even though the birth certificate did not list a locality, we were able to infer the child's place of birth based on additional research about the enslaver's residence.
Record Contributor
Jesse Bayker
Daniel Dias
Saketh Mandayam

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