Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Cumbria's Archive Services

Rumour has it that certain souls from Scotland occasionally cross the border to seek advice from 'those who shall not be named' in the southern half of Britain on matters genealogical. In fact, certain souls from the Borders apparently even have 'ancestral links' to this strange and oddly shaped bit of land that occasionally goes by the name of 'Blighty'. What could possess a true Scottish patriot to do make such a move beyond Caledonia's fertile shores? What manner of evil charm hast been cast on our people to make them venture south to...

Yeah, OK, enough of that...! :)

If you have ancestral connections to Cumbria, and Carlisle in particular, some major developments will be of interest. From a press release issued by Cumbria County Council:

The Historical Research Service gift vouchers are an ideal special occasion gift for someone who wants to uncover their origins, but may have run up against a brick wall with their own researches.

'Let our experts help you out' is the message. Cumbria's Archive Service is a treasure trove of material, some of it going back hundreds of years, and the experience of well practiced researchers can save a huge amount of time in identifying the records which give the right clues.

The record offices contain original parish registers, cemetery records and details of manor courts. Catherine Clark, area archivist at the Cumbria Record Office in Whitehaven, said: "Our researchers will do the work for you. They are familiar with the archives and know where to look for information. They can move things on much more quickly and will report back with copies of relevant documents."

It costs £27 per hour to hire the services of an expert, but Catherine said it is money well spent if it shortens the process and gains access to archives that probably would not be found on the internet, which is where many people start their search.

"The researchers have been doing this sort of work for years and can help to bring some of the real stories from the past alive, often coming up with a few surprises. They know exactly where to look and which documents are stored in the record offices.The vouchers can be purchased at the four record offices in the county (Carlisle, Whitehaven, Kendal and Barrow). They are also available to buy online at

Another major development is the buiding of a new archive centre in Carlisle, expected to open in late 2010. The following is an artist's impression of the new design, which has received almost £5 million of Lottery money.

It's going to be well worth a visit when it opens - I'll race you to the front door!

(With thanks to Cumbria County Council)


Professional genealogical problem solving and research

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