Belvidere Apollo Obituary Index Introduction

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The Belvidere Apollo was a weekly newspaper from Belvidere, New Jersey.  It was published from 1826 to 1953.  As with many small town papers, it provided quite a bit of local news, and it usually included either death notices or, in some cases, longer obituaries from people in this part of New Jersey.

Since our papers are not indexed, they tend to be hard to use for genealogical purposes unless the researcher has a date.  Fortunately for our library, we have a volunteer, Mr. Robert Evans from Great Meadows, New Jersey who is meticulously reading through every page of every available issue of the Apollo to find any relevant death notices, obituaries, or news accounts mentioning a death.  He has completed 6 volumes covering the period 1826 - 1914 and is now working on volume 7. 

The following introduction explains how we listed the various names, how we handled names with titles, how we listed people when their first names were not given, etc.

The index gives simply the name of the person, the date his/her obituary or death notice was in the paper, and the page upon which it can be found.  The actual newspaper itself is not online.

Obituaries include:

  1. All of the names listed in the “DIED” column of the paper.
  2. Names of people mentioned throughout the rest of the paper who have obvious ties to the Warren County area regardless of where they died.
  3. People who died in New Jersey.


Why we chose to include the above obituaries:

  1. We do not know what criteria the Apollo used when deciding which obituaries to include in the paper.
  2. In many cases we have no idea whether the person is local or not.
  3. We wanted to make sure to index the names of all the local people.
  4. We felt it would be better to risk including names of people who may not have had ties to the area rather than leaving out someone with local ties.  So this is why we chose to include all New Jersey names.


Note on correctness:

We tried as hard as we could to copy the names correctly.  However, some of the papers, especially those on microfilm, were not in good condition and were very difficult to read.  So it is possible that in some cases we misinterpreted the spelling of a name.  It is also possible that in typing the names, we made some typographical errors, even though we made an effort to find and correct any such errors.


How we entered the information we found:

At first we decided to enter a person’s name exactly as it was in the paper.  This, however, quickly presented us with problems with alphabetization. For example, some names had titles such as Mr., Mrs., Col., Rev., etc, others had no first name listed, and still others were listed as “unnamed son,” “female,” “young man,” “infant child,” “unnamed murderer,” and other such things. So we had to make some arbitrary decisions as to how we would enter these and other bits of information.


How we entered names with titles:

Mr. – If the newspaper listed a man’s name as Mr. John Smith, for example, and his first name was one that we could clearly recognize as a male name, we dropped the Mr. and listed the name as  Smith, John.

If a last name and the initial of the first name was provided, we entered the last name, first initial, and the Mr. designation in parentheses.  So the entry would appear as Smith, E.  (Mr.)

If no first name was given, we retained the Mr. in the entry.  Thus the name would be listed as Smith, Mr.  This would at least let the researcher know that this person was a male.

Mrs. – If the newspaper listed a woman’s name as Mrs. Margaret Adelis, for example, and her first name was one we could clearly recognize as a female name, we dropped the Mrs. and listed the woman as Adelis, Margaret.

If a last name and the initial of the first name was provided, we entered the last name, first initial, and the Mrs. designation in parentheses.  So the entry would appear, Adelis, M.  (Mrs.)

If no first name was given, we retained the Mrs. in the entry.  Thus she would be listed as Adelis, Mrs.

In many cases the wife’s first name is not given and she is referred to by her husband’s name, such as Mrs. John Hagerty.  We handled these as we would a woman whose first name is not know – we retained the use of the Mrs.  So this entry would be listed as Hagerty, Mrs. John.

In some cases we did not know if the first name was a male name or a female name such as Mrs. Sidney Park.  Is Sidney the husband’s first name or the wife’s.  In a situation like this we retained the title “Mrs.” in front of the name.  So our entry would look like this:  Park, Mrs. Sidney.

Rev., Dr., Col., Capt., etc. – In those cases where a person’s title is given, we have entered it in parentheses after the first name if the first name is given.  So Dr. Israel Clawson would be listed as Clawson, Israel  (Dr.).

In some cases, no first name is given, only a title and last name such as Capt. Jones.  He would be listed as Jones  (Capt.).

In a number of cases, a person was listed as Judge Smith.  We realized that “Judge” could either be the person’s title or his first name.  So we arbitrarily decided to list it as if it were a title.  So Mr. Smith would be Smith  (Judge).

In another case we had a man listed as Father Sealey.  We did not know if he was a priest and that was his title or if they were just referring to him as the father of his family.  We entered him as Sealey  (Father).

If a person was a “junior” or a “senior,” we entered the name as Smith, John R., Jr. or Smith, John R., Sr.

In a few entries, it was specifically noted that the person was “Colored.”  In this case our entry would read Smith, John  (Colored).


How we entered names with initials and/or abbreviations:

In some cases a last name was given along with only the first initial of the first name, e.g. H. Alexander.  So this entry would read  Alexander, H.

In other instances, a person’s first name was abbreviated, e.g. Wm. T. Anderson.  We did not want to guess what their first name might be even if it seemed obvious, since one can never really be sure when dealing with names.  So Mr. Anderson would be entered as written in the paper - Anderson, Wm. T.


Explanations for other entries:

  1. In some cases, a last name is given but there is no first name, initial, title, or any other designation provided.  So we entered that person as  Smith  [none].
  2. In many other cases, a last name is given with no first name, but there are designations such as “infant son,” “young daughter,” “male,” “daughter,” “unnamed child,” “murderer,” etc.  For these, we entered the last name and then the designation as it was given in the paper.  So an entry may read:  Jones, Young son.
  3. If more than one person has died in a family or in a particular incident, we have listed them as:  Smith, 2 children of John or Unnamed, 2 Irish workers, etc.
  4. Finally, there are some rare instances in which a death is reported but no name is given at all.  So we may have an entry that says: Unnamed infant child  along with the date of the obituary.  If the paper said, for example, “an Irish girl,”  we added the term “unnamed” and thus wrote the entry as Unnamed Irish girl so that the unknowns would all be together alphabetically.


Comments on some oddities or other things of interest:

  1. At times you will see the same name listed twice but with different dates.  Remember, the dates indicate when the person’s obituary was actually in the paper, not the date the person died.  In some cases, a persons death notice was listed one week and then at a later time a more lengthy obituary was given, especially in those instances in which the person was rather prominent.  Others are listed twice with different page numbers.  Usually in these cases you will find a short death notice on one page and a more lengthy article on the other page.  Finally, some people are mentioned twice on the same date and page.  So once you find the name of the person, take the time to scan the rest of the page just in case the person is mentioned again.
  2. The library purchased all available rolls of microfilm for the Belvidere Apollo/Intelligencer/Apollo-Journal, but many issues of this paper were never found and so were never microfilmed.  Also, in some cases, single pages from an issue were either missing or damaged.  So if you do not find the person you are looking for, do not assume that they did not die in Warren County.
  3. Some of our names were taken from the actual hardbound copies of the newspapers which are housed in the Warren County court house since they were usually easier to read than the microfilmed copies.  There may occasionally be cases in which an issue of the paper was available at the court house but was never microfilmed.  In that case, the court house would be the only place to see these issues.  The library does not have November 1864 to December 31, 1870 on microfilm, but the hard copies of these are located in the Warren County Clerk’s office.
  4.  In some cases there is no issue for a particular date either on microfilm or in the bound volumes at the court house.  We do not know if this is because those issues were not published or if no one could locate them when the paper was bound and/or microfilmed.
  5. Occasionally the newspaper made a mistake with the date of the paper.  At times, the date on the front page is wrong but the dates on the inner pages are correct.  We chose to use the correct date for the edition of the paper, regardless of the mistake on the front page.


At times the newspaper would make mistakes in spelling.  So check alternate spellings of names.