County Historical Records

Manuscripts and Rare Books

PA Records

Federal Records



Carlisle Indian School


Cumberland County Historical Records  

A variety of resources are available to enhance research regarding the history of the county, including the following:

19th century histories of Cumberland County 
Recent histories of the local area including townships, municipalities, and the county 
19th and 20th century City Directories for many locales in the county 
Hundreds of maps, atlases, and floor plans
Historic Architecture Resource Survey records (compiled in 1988) used for the book Cumberland County: An Architectural Survey 
Council Minutes for various boroughs and townships 

        Click here to download the First Families Index  
        Click here to download the First Family booklist

Click here to download the key to map abbreviations in pdf form




Manuscripts & Rare Books 

The manuscript collection includes an extensive array of original documents for the serious researcher. These documents include family records, business records, diaries, church records, school records, personal papers.  The historical society has a large collection of county imprints or books published locally in both English and German texts.  The county imprints are just a part of our collection of rare books published in the 18th and 19th century. 


Pennsylvania Records  

The following Pennsylvania records are among those available to patrons pursuing research questions regarding Pennsylvania history:

"The Pennsylvania Archives" (the Colonial Records, first through ninth series with indexes)

 "History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers 1861-1865", by Samuel Bates, 1869 vols. 1-5 

  Index to "History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers 1861-1865", Broadfoot Publishing Company, 1994 vols. 1-4 




 Federal Records  

The following federal records are available to patrons: 

Federal Census Records for Cumberland County and neighboring counties 1790-1930 (microfilm) 

Federal Census Indexes for the state of Pennsylvania 1790-1880 

1798 Direct Tax (Glass Tax) 

Septennial Tax lists for Cumberland County for the years: 1793, 1800, 1807, 1821, 1828, 1835, 1842, 1849, 1856, 1863, 1870 


Newspapers and Periodicals 

The holdings of the Cumberland County Historical Society include many newspapers and periodicals. A small sampling follows: 

        Cumberland County History      1984 to the present 
        The Genealogical Helper            March 1965-present  
        Pennsylvania Magazine             1877-present          

        Pennsylvania Gazette                 1749-1787
        The Carlisle Gazette                   1785-1817, 1823-1824  
        Shippensburg News Chronicle    1852-1935, 1976-1980  
        (Carlisle) Evening Sentinel         1874-present 




Hundreds of genealogists utilize the holdings of the Hamilton Library annually. The holdings used most often by family researchers include: 

The thousands of genealogy surname files

Hundreds of published and unpublished family histories in book form 

Database index to over 900 church and cemetery records located at the Cumberland County Historical Society 



Carlisle Indian Industrial School 

Researchers frequently come to the Cumberland County Historical Society to learn more about the first U.S. Government off-reservation boarding school for American Indian children. The school, established in 1879, provided an educational setting for more than 10,000 Native American students until the school closed in 1918. Items available include: 

A large manuscript collection that contains student class work, art work, school correspondence, ephemera, and research for the book The Fabulous Redman by John S. Steckbeck
1900 and 1910 census reports 

Secondary sources regarding the school 

Oral histories from school alumni, relatives of former students and local townspeople recorded in the 1980s 

Over 5,000 photographs (also see Photo Archives information

Newspapers and magazines which were published at the Carlisle Indian Industrial school by students as part of the printing program 

See also Carlisle Indian Industrial School Resource Center 






Genealogy records filed by family name