CUMBERLAND - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES
This web page contains information about the location and use of Archives and Libraries
for Cumberland-related family history research. Generally speaking, Archives
(more commonly known as Record Offices
) are repositories for original source material, such as Wills or Parish Registers, whereas the Local Studies Sections of Libraries
are where you'd expect to find the Census, and printed local source material, such as Trade Directories. If you're looking for assistance by post or email in Cumberland, the Cumbria Archives
provide a Research Service
. A similiar facility is offered by the Cumbria Library Services - check their Local Studies
page, selecting the 'Local Studies Resources' menu item, for details. If nothing less than a personal visit will suffice, more detailed information, and some useful comments based on our own experiences, are offered below.
Those embarking on research in Cumberland may be forgiven for being confused - the Cumbria Archive Services offer the choice of no less than four Record Offices! Most counties are covered by just the one! However the Carlisle Record Office (CRO) may be the first, and most productive stop for many researchers.
Here you will find original source material for 'the part of the historic county of Cumberland which is north of the River Derwent'. Carlisle, Keswick, Penrith and Maryport are places contained in this area. For the rest of the former county of Cumberland, see the Whitehaven Record Office below. The CRO is located within the walls of Carlisle Castle, and you may be fortunate enough to see the changing of the guard when you visit! There is a car park just to the west of the Castle and it is not necessary to pay the visitor's admission to the Castle if your business is at the CRO. The usual Record Office security precautions are however in place - you will be required to leave outer clothing and briefcases, etc., in the provided lockers before entering the search room. The originals of the Church of England parish registers, various Court Records, Probate indexes and copies of most Wills as well as a wide range of other records will be found here, as well as microfilm of the 1841 and 1851 census. Other census years may be found at County Local Studies Libraries. A Reader's Ticket is required but may be applied for on the first visit. They also offer a postal research service - check their Research Service web page for the most up-to-date information. They're nice people at the CRO and it is always a pleasant visit. The remainder of Cumberland is covered by the Whitehaven Office:-
The Whitehaven Archive and Local Studies Centre provides access to records relating to 'the area of West Cumbria bounded by the River Derwent in the North and the River Duddon in the South'. Typically, this covers the area around Workington, Cockermouth, and Whitehaven. Typical contents are similar to the Carlisle Record Office. Microfilmed and printed copies of Cumberland material may also be found at the Kendal Record Office:-
- ARCHON (Archives On-Line) Information service for locations of other Record Offices throughout the country. Added 15 Jun 2005 for compatibility with DBY/GLS/HEF. Specific contents of Cumbria Record Office Catalogues are searchable independently using the Access to Archives Database. This is a valuable resource - whilst the original records are not available online, some of the catalogue entries may be a revelation in their own right.
For other sources of archival material in Cumberland, the Tullie House Museum may prove of interest:-
The Tullie House is a museum and art gallery with an emphasis on the area's Roman and turbulent border history. If your family was involved with the reivers, it's worth a visit. It is immediately across from the Castle and they also have a postal research service which seems to specialize in researching reivers and outlaws.
[The above information was transferred from the main GENUKI/Cumberland index page on 15 Apr 2005] Return to top of page
The Carlisle Library is located within the Lanes, a pedestrian shopping area about half a mile from the Castle. It's a modern, well equipped facility with good general holdings. They have microfilm census returns for most of the available years, and they are adding additional film readers. Most of the interesting material is not on open shelves but can be asked for at the 2nd floor desk across from the microfilm readers. On my [Ed: Don's] visits, the staff have been helpful and knowledgeable. Cumbria County Council also provide Cumbria Libraries : Location Details for Libraries elsewhere in the county.
- The following libraries also have material of relevance to Cumberland research: