Recording Pioneers

William Henry NAFEY  1864 - 1931 arrowarrow PIONEER    PARENTS    LIFE    NOTES    LABELS    PHOTOS    THANK YOU


William Henry NAFEY  1864 - 1931

aka William H. Nafey, W. H. Nafey, William Nafey, W. Nafey
birth 16 June 1864, Belleville, Essex, New Jersey (or Brooklyn, NY, but less likely)
death after 1931, ...........
marriage married on 25 Jan 1888 to:

b. 22 June 1866, Brooklyn, NY
d. after 1931, .........

  • Henry B. (Harry)

    b. 14 Jan 1888, Belleville or Newark, Essex, NJ
    d. 1889, prob. Belleville, Essex, NJ


father Garret(t) Theodore NAFEY

b. 31 Oct 1818, Hoboken, Hudson, New Jersey
d. 11 Aug 1888, Hoboken, Hudson, NJ

mother (1) Ellen Curtis

b. 4 April 1823
d. before 1860

marriage they got married in <1841>, .........., NJ
  • John William

    b. 1843 - died young

  • Theodore Garett

    b. 1847

  • Cordelia Jane

    b. 1855

mother (2) Alicia DUNN

b. 27 Feb 1839, Hoboken, Hudson, NJ
d. 9 Apr 1890, Belleville, Essex, NJ

marriage they got married on 10 Apr 1860, ......., NJ
  • William Henry

    b. 16 June 1864, Belleville, Essex, New Jersey (or Brooklyn, NY, but less likely)
    d. ..... (after 1931), ........


1850 CENSUS: Camden
Garret (sic) NAFEY

Also in the AGBI (American Genealogiocal Biographical Index as Garret NAFEY, NJ)

1880 CENSUS ( )
Garrett NAFEY as Theodore NAFEY?
residence: East Orange, Essex, NJ

Residence in 1889-1890 (Orange, NJ Directory 1889-1890):
as: William N. Nafey
138 Lakeside Avenue, Orange (East & West) NJ

1900 CENSUS (Camden City, Camden, NJ, )
William H. NAFEY (35y)
Louisa (sic) F. NAFEY (33y)
Annie E. FERGUSON (b. .. Oct 1835, ......., ENGLAND - d. ...................) (64y: widowed)
1860 immigration year

1910 CENSUS (21 April 1910, Haddonfield, Camden, NJ):
Wm H. NAFEY (44y; b. NJ) record maker Talking Machine Co.
Louise F. NAFEY (42y; b. NY)
(22 years married = <1888>)

1920 CENSUS (5 Jan 1920, Haddonfield, Camden, NJ):
William H. NAFEY (55y; b. NJ) record maker Victor Talking Machines
Louise F. NAFEY (53y; b. NY)

1930 CENSUS ( 1930, Haddonfield, Camden, NJ):
William H. NAFEY (65y; b. NJ) manager Recording Laboratory Radio Corporation [RCA]
Louise F. NAFEY (63y; b. NY)
residence: 401 Kings Highway, Haddonfield, Camden, NJ

1898 Eldridge Johnson (H. O. SOOY’s memoirs, p 6 (of 10))
In charge of recording lab VICTOR
In January of 1898, Mr. Johnson employed William H. Nafey to concentrate on the development of the recording process up to the point of manufacture. Mr. Nafey worked under lock and key in a room rented from the Collings Carriage Company (Fig. 7). The process was developed by September 1898 and put on an operating basis early in 1899.

Sooy’s Memoirs p. 6, 8-9 (of 10)

Also during this year, 1905, Messrs. Nafey and Rous [or Rouse?] made the second recording trip, recording repertoire in Mexico, the destination being Mexico City.
(H. O. Sooy’s Memoirs, II: p. 11 (of 16))

September 7, 1907, Nafey sailed for Buenos Aires [Argentina], South America, on a recording trip, this being the first time South American territory had been touched by the Victor Company
(H. O. Sooy’s Memoirs, II: p. 13 (of 16))

In July, this year [1908], Mr. Nafey sailed with Mrs. Nafey for China on a recording trip, another territory the Victor Company was about to supply with their native tongue records
(H. O. Sooy’s Memoirs, II: p. 15 (of 16))

On passenger lists 1923/1924/1928/1929/1930 (New York) & 1931 (Philadelphia)


  • Memoir of my Career at the Victor Talking Machine Company, 1898-1925 by Harry O. Sooy (online David Sarnoff Library)