From the Preface: Anyone who has attempted genealogical research in New Jersey is aware of the fact that the federal census returns for the state for the years 1790, 1800, 1810 and 1820 are not extant. Moreover, only a few fragments of colonial censuses exist, and many records of the colonial period - public, private, and ecclesiastical - were destroyed, or taken away by Loyalists during the Revolutionary War.
The only records that are state-wide are the tax rateables. Of at least 50,000 such lists compiled between 1773 and 1822, some 1,845 have been preserved. For the Revolutionary period there is at least one list for each of the townships into which the thirteen counties of the colony/state were divided. Lists for Salem, Sussex, Cape May, and Cumberland counties for the years 1773-1774 are complete; for Burlington County, only Chesterfield Township is missing; and for Gloucester County there are lists for four of the seven townships. For the years 1778-1780 there are similar lists for all but three of the remaining townships of the state - and for them the first existing records are of 1784 or 1785. To keep sharp focus, the lists for the three periods have been separately indexed.