Genealogy Help and References

Mr Local History and Ancestry.com support

Looking to Research Your Family History in the Somerset Hills? Genealogy is one of the local historical society’s most requested interest areas. While the Society has limited space to store family historical information, we do have the ability to help you get started on your search. However, in partnership with the Bernards Township Library, there is a dedicated group there that might be able to assist with your research requests. There is also a tremendous amount of information at the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church records in Basking Ridge as well…

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“Janice Meredith” – 1924 Silent Film Showcases American Revolution

Janice Meredith a silent film found by Mr Local History

Back in 1924 silent films were all the rage. Bernardsville was just becoming a boro and separating from Bernards Township but there was still only one movie theater, The Liberty . How fortunate was the theater to feature the film “Janice Meredith”, a film about the American Revolution featuring the infamous General Charles Lee. The question is? Will they show the infamous Lee capture at Widow White’s in Basking Ridge? We have the complete film at the end of the story. Film It is 1774, the eve of the American…

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The History of the 1912 Bernards Township Town Hall – The Astor Estate in Basking Ridge

Mr. Local History Archives - Astor Estate

One of the most iconic historic properties in the Somerset Hills is an English Tudor style estate that sits atop a high ridge in the Basking Ridge section of Bernards Township. Built in 1912, this Basking Ridge landmark was the home to four wealthy families; Owen, Lee, Bissell and Astor, before being acquired by Bernards Township in 1968. The property is known by locals as the Astor Estate since the Astor’s were the last private owners. However, the resident that had the most impact on the town belonged to George…

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Somerset Hills Historic Village Collection Welcomes #4 – the 1871 Washington House.

Mr. Local History Archives - #catsmeowvillage

Inaugural Run is Available Now (Online ONLY) Amazing that it’s been two years since we launched the Historic Somerset Hills Village collection in partnership with the Cat’s Meow Village Company. Mr. Local History is proud to announce that the village is going to grow again with at least two new additions for 2019. The first release for 2019 is the historic 1871 Washington House in the Basking Ridge Village of Bernards Township. If you’d like to participate and be part of the inaugural first production run you can pre-order yours…

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The Great Historic Tavern Pub Crawl & Tours

We like touring Morris and Somerset County since this is the “cockpit of the revolution” and most of the old taverns were meeting places of the resistance. Want to grab a pint where  General Washington drank (and maybe slept)? How about a cold one where Ben Franklin gathered his thoughts? Here’s where history meets the road….literally. In addition to churches, pubs and taverns served as the meeting places of the revolution. How fun now would it be to create a trip, learn some great stories, and maybe even sit and…

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Somerset Hills Most Famous Residents

The New Jersey towns that make up the Somerset Hills include Bernards Twp (Basking Ridge), Bernardsville, Bedminster, Far Hills, Peapack/Gladstone). Starting back in the late 1800’s many of the richest and most famous people lived in the Somerset Hills. Remembering who they are is one thing.Remembering what they did is another.Remembering where they live(d) is tougher still. The Somerset Hills in New Jersey is one of the most affluent areas in the history of the United States. From the Bernardsville Mountain in the Gilded Age, to the Bedminster fox country,…

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Best Crumb Cake in New Jersey – Discuss Now

Maybe we’re taking this way to seriously, but I’ve been searching for bakeries that serve New Jersey’s best crumb cake. If you’re NOT a fan of the cake, you might want to leave now because we’re really going to get into the discussion. Now for those of you who ARE fans, read on. New Jersey fans of crumb cake have been treated for years with the delectable breakfast offering. As we’ve found, this treat is not available all over the country. While companies such as Entenmanns have tried to fill the…

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Taking Jacobs Ladder to the Devils Tomb (Grave)

Mr. Local History Archives - Jacobs Ladder

Devils Tomb & Jacobs Ladder – Look what happened when Weird NJ Issue #12 came out. A place that sits quietly in obscurity for hundreds of years comes to an abrupt end when overzealous devil seekers search to find the devil himself. Thanks to Weird NJ issue 12, I’ve always found it interesting how gore and ghosts have always lured people into learning history. The problem when you link history to ghosts, the history sometimes gets stretched, or even down right exploited. For fun, since the article is now out…

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Titanic Survivor Astor and Basking Ridge

Noted High Society Playboy and Titanic Survivor Brings Notoriety to  Bernards Township. It’s a fun story, but you’ve gotta hang in there. First we need a little background about John’s father, the one who didn’t survive the Titanic disaster. In 1909 John Jacob Astor IV divorced his wife Ava and, two years later, married his eighteen-year-old mistress Madeleine Talmadge Force, which scandalized New York society . Mr and Mrs Astor travelled to Egypt and Paris and, in the spring of 1912, decided to return to America as First Class passengers…

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