Searching for Benjamin Crum's Ancestors 

Other than his date of marriage (5 May 1810, Dutch Reformed Church, Neshanic, Somerset, NJ) and his listing on the death certificates of three of his children (Eliza, Henry and Sarah), nothing is known about Benjamin Crum: not his birth year, parents, date of death, or place of burial. 

Benjamin Crum could have been born as late at 1791 if he was about nineteen when he married in 1810. It is possible he could have been born much earlier if this was a second marriage for him. Since government records for births and deaths were not kept in New Jersey until May 1848, other sources must be reviewed to provide the information about births and deaths. Two commonly used sources are the US Federal Census and church records. The Federal Censuses for New Jersey for 1790 through 1820, which contained the name of the head of household and an age span for all household members, were destroyed. Consequently, church records become even more important. 

Since I reside 2000 miles from New Jersey, I have only searched church records which have been microfilmed by the Latter Day Saints (13 churches in Hunterdon and 14 churches in Somerset). No mention of Benjamin's baptism was found. It may be possible that a record exists from a church whose records have not been filmed. (Anyone interested in continuing this research can contact me to find out which churches I have researched.) Another research avenue was to check church records where Benjamin's children were baptized or married; perhaps Benjamin was baptized and/or was buried in the same church. Baptismal records for the five children have not been found. Eliza Crum, the eldest known child of Benjamin, was married at the First English Presbyterian Church of Amwell. This church was closed around 2007; the church records were sent to the New Brunswick Presbytery in Trenton. The secretary at the Presbytery could not find any baptismal, marriage or death records for this church. The Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia has yet to respond to my request to check the records for this church for any Crums. 

Another church with which some Crum ancestors were associated was the Amwell Church of the Brethren. Henry was married to Catherine Moore by the minister of this church. Several members of the Crum family are buried there including Sarah, Benjamin's widow, his son, Henry, daugher-in-law, Catherine, and grandson, James P. Crum. I have spoken to the church historian for this church and was told that the church (which was founded in 1733) has never kept written records; even in 2011 they do not keep records of baptisms, marriages and deaths. The church does not have a record of who is buried in their cemetery. The only record of burials was created by transcribing information from legible tombstones. If Benjamin was buried at this churchyard without a tombstone, or with a tombstone no longer in existence, then other sources will need to be used to derive his date of death and birth. 

Deeds and wills are another source for finding family relationship. I have checked grantor deeds based on the filmed indices for Burlington, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Warren, East Jersey and West Jersey Proprietors. Estates for Bergen, Burlington, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Warren counties and estates at the Secretary of State's office were reviewed. No reference has been found to this elusive ancestor. It is possible that the members of Benjamin Crum's family were common laborers owning no property and consequently there were no deeds or wills. It is also possible that there were deeds which were never recorded; recording of a deed was required only when there was a mortgage or the land needed to be divided. If the land was owned free and clear, the head of household could pass the land and deed on to his heir without the necessity of reporting the transaction to the county recorder's office. Wills were often read at a funeral where those attending learned the wishes of the deceased. This community would be able to enforce the bequests without the necessity of proving the will in court. 

I have focused most heavily on sources for Hunterdon and Somerset Counties since the earliest known record for this couple is from Neshanic, a community on the border between these two counties.

Early mention of Crum/Crom/Krom/Krum in Hunterdon

William Crumb of Readington, Hunterdon was on the 1738 voters list.

William Crumb was a freeholder, Reading Township, 1741. 

William Crom left land to his four sons by will: Guisbert, second name listed is illegible, Abraham, and Isaac. Deed dated 1743; will of William not found. 

Isaac Crum made an inventory for the Estate of Thomas Von Boskerck of Reading in 1747-8. 

Land formerly belonging to Abraham Krum mentioned in Will of William Rose dated 1755. 

Isaac Krom of “Ridington” in his will mentions wife, Mary, and daughter, Mary, 1758. 

Henry Crum was on the 1784 rateables list of Lebanon Township, Hunterdon. 

The Hunterdon County Militia List of 1792 does not contain any Crum,Crom, Krom, Krum. Where did they go?? 

Early Mention of Crum/Crom/Krom/Krum in Somerset County  

Guisbert Krom of Amwell Township, Hunterdon bought land from Daniel Purcell in Somerset County, 13 Apr 1728. 

Guisbert Crom was a bondsman for John TenBroek, 3 Apr 1753. 

Guisbert Crum was a Freeholder of Bridgewater Township, 17 Jul 1753. 

Docket of Guisbert Sutphin, J.P., 13 Feb 1773, shows claim against Thomas Crom. 

Could Benjamin Crum, husband of Sarah Lanning, be a descendant of one of the above people of Hunterdon and Somerset? 

Other Leads to Pursue  

More information may be gleaned about Benjamin Crum by pursing the family of Sarah Lanning of which I have only scratched the surface. 

Benjamin Crum named his two known sons Henry and Leonard. In 1833 Henry Leonard Crum of New York received a pension as a result of his service during the Revolutionary War. Henry Leonard Crum was born in Tappan, Rockland County, NY, 1762. He enlisted in Bergen County, NJ, while a resident of Paramus. After the Revolutionary War, he resided in NYC until 1813. He moved to Islip, Long Island. There were no references to wife or children, but he did have a brother John Crum who resided in Tappan, Rockland, NY. Could there be a connection between this man and Benjamin Crum? I have checked the estates in both Rockland and Suffolk (Long Island) Counties but found no reference to Benjamin Crum. 

Could the Benjamin Crum who married Martha Matthews in Cape May County in 1780 be the same man as the one who married Sarah Lanning in 1810? 

I have not been to the Historical Society of New Jersey. Perhaps they may have some relevant information? 

Shall We Collaborate?  

In order to avoid duplicating our efforts, contact me to let me know if you are pursuing any of the leads mentioned above and, please, share the results. I will be happy to let you know which sources I have used so you do not needlessly duplicate my work. I have every hope that sooner or later we will track down the ancestors of Benjamin Crum and Sarah Lanning.