The Great Map Search

I was in search of a map! Having so many ancestors from Sussex County, I thought a map that delineated the townships would be helpful to understand exactly how close families were living in relationship to each other. Sometimes, when researching it seems like people move sooo faarrrr away when really it’s a hop to the new place of residence.

I drive by a map store everyday on the way to work but they were never open early enough for me to stop. On a weekday that I had off, I decided to make a special trip to the store just to get a Sussex County or New Jersey map. The store was well-stocked with world maps, country maps, road maps, and atlases. This was the place to be! A clerk asked if he could help and I told him I was looking for a map of Sussex County NJ the showed townships.

“Oh, you want something that shows township, range and section?” he asked.

“Umm…well, no. New Jersey doesn’t have range and sections. It’s a metes and bounds system on the East coast,” I replied.

That seemed to stump the clerk. We went to the back of the store where there was a big workspace. He pulled out some maps that showed the use of the cadastral system and said he could get that for New Jersey. Not really what I was looking for. He went to get some New Jersey atlases but they seemed to have everything but New Jersey. Hmph….

“Let me get the owner,” he said. “He might have an idea of what you need.”

The owner came over and the clerk tried to explain he was trying to get me set up with something that had ranges and sections.

“Oh, no,” the owner said.  “They use metes and bounds with the original eastern states.”  The clerk kind of looked at me, slightly surprised that I knew what I was looking for and knew the survey system used in New Jersey.

After checking the same places the clerk did, the owner came up empty too. He apologized for being out of New Jersey atlases and I took my leave. Bummer, no township map. What now?

A couple of months pass and I found out that my Aunt Sadie and Uncle Jimmy are going to be moving into assisted living. They’re cleaning out their house and my sister got a phone call that there might be some things that the Strait girls would want. She drove up to Newton from Randolph and there were a couple of “goody” boxes set aside for her.

My sister put a few of the things in a mailer to me and I got the package a couple of days later. As I’m looking at all the neat stuff in the envelope, I notice something with the words Sussex County on it. What’s this? I’ll be darned, it’s a map of Sussex County from 1952 with all the townships on it. It’s 25 x 25 inches with a light yellow background and it’s just gorgeous, wrinkles, stains, creases and all!