CUMBERLAND - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES
This web page contains information about the location and use of Archives
for Cumberland-related family history research.
Generally speaking, Archives
(more commonly known as
) are repositories for original source material,
such as Wills or Parish Registers, whereas the Local Studies Sections of
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
provide a Research Service
A similiar facility is offered by the Cumbria Library Services - check their
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:-
Kendal Record Office is mainly for the former county of
Westmorland, but if you are not able to travel to Carlisle, you can have a
happy Cumberland research experience in Kendal instead, searching
microfilm of Census and Probate Records (Deaneries of Kendal and
Furness, and Carlisle Consistory Court 1536-1860), and printed
material such as Trade Directories and printed copies of Parish Registers.
Cumbria Archives also provide a 4th Record Office in Barrow-in-Furness,
but this will be of lesser interest to Cumberland researchers, as it covers
portions of Cumbria which were formerly in Lancashire and Yorkshire.
See also the
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
[The above information was transferred from the main GENUKI/Cumberland index page on 15 Apr 2005]
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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: