New Jersey – 1768

Claudius and family are very well documented in New York, where he lived with his wife, Marie, and several of his children were born in the New Rochelle area; The family is next in the Warwick, Orange county, New York, area where Claudius is documented first 1765 and next in 1775. Of interest here is that Claudius’ son James, born about 1768, is on the 1850 census in Butler county, Ohio, the first census to document birth location. i James seems to declares his birth location as New Jersey. While there could be some dispute about the notation for New Jersey, discussed below, one begins to question:

“Did the Boatman family move from Warwick to New Jersey, then back again?” as well as “Where in New Jersey would the family have been?”

It would make most sense to look for the family in the area of New Jersey near Warwick, and perhaps along what would be a sensible “migration” path from New Rochelle to Warwick New York.  A little research brought some interesting facts to light:

Revolutionary Map - Province of New York, New Jersey with a section of Pennsylvania

Revolutionary Map – Province of New York, New Jersey with a section of Pennsylvania

From Lands of New York “Its boundaries at that time included present-day Rockland County, which split from Orange County in 1798 following the American Revolutionary War. Due to its small population, the original Orange County was not fully independent and shared government functions with other counties. The first public buildings were erected in Orangetown in 1703, and the first court was established in 1801. Due to a boundary dispute between New York and New Jersey, the extent of many of the southern towns of the county was not established until the 19th century.”

Perhaps James was born in New Jersey, in the area under dispute. It’s possible the family technically lived in what was New Jersey at that particular time, and used a town or towns in Orange County as their home base. Rather than actual moves, the borders under dispute may have driven where particular records were generated.

James Boatman has a curious notation under his location in the 1850 census: an N and then what looks like a “j” with a vertical dash with a dot, a bit larger than normal riding above it. It looks something like a semi colon. It’s possible these entries are N Yo, a notation that is sometimes used in script, although some disagree. James’ wife, Anna Mills, has been documented as being from New Jersey, and her location is simple a “ditto” under James’.

James Boatman 1850 Census Butler Ohio

James Boatman 1850 Census Butler Ohio

A careful scanning of both the 1850 and 1860 census shows several individuals listed as being from New Jersey in 1850 census were shown as being from New York in 1860 census. The transcriber, in 1850, used two different scripts, although it appears to have been the same individual entering the records. One is a very rounded cursive, easily readable, the other a more Spencerian cursive.

The sampling of individuals was very small, but the ones who showed a change of birth in New Jersey to birth in New York were primarily those who, in 1850, had the N and then what looked like a “j” with a semicolon as their birth location.  James passed away prior to 1860, so the 1850 census is the only available record that showed his birth location. Another curiosity is that on the 1850 census, there were several instances, right on the same page as Jane and Anna, where the “J” looked exactly like a “J”, not a “j” with a semicolon mark, for instance “j” in James, and a few lines below, Mary J. Longfellow.

Perhaps more records will come to light in the future, clarifying if the Boatman family was in New Jersey or not, and if so, exactly where.

I’ve had a lot of fun researching Claudius, and am pleased to share everything I’ve learned, much of it due to other researchers before me – please feel free to use anything on this site – I do ask you to source it, though, so others may find it. And please, share what you know in the same spirit this has been shared – I welcome all corrections, comments and discussion. mvkirby – I can be emailed directly at


Sources and Links:

i Original data: Seventh Census of the United States, 1850; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M432, 1009 rolls); Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29; National Archives, Washington, 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Source Citation: Year: 1850; Census Place: St Clair, Butler, Ohio; Roll: M432_663; Page: 147B; Image: 63.

Additional Reading:  New York & New Jersey Border Dispute

8 thoughts on “New Jersey – 1768

  1. Good catch on James 1850 census record re New Jersey!! In looking at your picture (above) I noted the Js in James and Jeremiah very clearly appear above the line while the J or Y (whichever it might be) extends below the line. Too bad there are not more to compare! Re Orange County – I would really need to take some time to study and digest that area but for the moment these are my thoughts. So many times I have found where early settlers lived in differnt towns over the years without ever moving due to state, county and town boundary changes. In view of the boundary dispute between New York and New Jersey, that you mention above, could that be the case here?

    • Hi Dale, it was another cousin who brought James to my attention on this census – My “intuition” has me thinking the family was probably in the same area or place but the designations were different. Of course, I’m speculating.

    • When I paged through the census, the dot with the dash was on a number of different records. I sent it to a specialist on handwriting, but haven’t heard anything back – I may have to find another person who is willing to look at it! I have seen this notation on other records referring to New York, though. By the way, you should just be able to click on most of the records on this site to enlarge!

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