Illegitimate Children (Bastardy), 1734-1897

RECORD GROUP: County Clerk
SERIES: Illegitimate Children (Bastardy)
DATES: 1734-1897
VOLUME: 5 cubic feet

Case of Jane E. Cunningham, 1897
Case of Jane E. Cunningham, 1897

A searchable online index of Illegitimate Children files is available at Archives Searchable Databases webpage.

The procedure for filing a claim in the Quarter Sessions and Justice of the Peace courts consisted of the woman filing a suit against the supposed father that she was with child or that the child had been delivered. At that point, the Court would issue a warrant for the arrest of the individual named as the father.

The Illegitimate (Bastardy) record series contains 213 records, stored in one manuscript box. The series was compiled from three sources - cases heard in the Quarter Sessions Court, cases heard in the Common Pleas Court and cases heard by local Justices of the Peace.

In some cases but not all, the case includes the supposed father’s appearance in court and the verdict reached by the court. The file may include how much the accused father was to pay for the maintenance of the bastard child.

The child’s name is NEVER given but the date of birth and sometimes the sex is noted.

The Illegitimate (Bastardy) record series is available on microfilm and is arranged by year and then alphabetically by mother’s name.

Two indexes, the first sorted by mother’s name and the other by father’s name, are available in the Archives research room. The indexes contain the following information: Name of Mother
Residence of Mother
Name of Father
Date of Complaint
Child (sometimes refers to male or female)
Birth Date
Location of Document

This series is open to researchers.

The Illegitimate Children record series is available on microfilm in the Archives reading room.

The Illegitimate Children records are arranged by year and then alphabetically by the mother’s surname.

These records were transferred to the Archives by Monmouth County Clerk Jane G. Clayton before 1999.

A finding aid was created September 22, 2006; updated May 2016 by George Joynson. An Access database created July 14, 1999. The original records have not been microfilmed but were scanned October 16, 2012.

Monmouth County Archives
125 Symmes Drive
Manalapan NJ 07726
Tel. (732)308-3771

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