The Cumberland County Historical Society’s Archives and Library is the perfect place to spend the day for the genealogist, local historian, scholar, or student. One goal of CCHS is to make the history of Cumberland County accessible to all patrons. The library is a closed stack, archival library and contains an extensive collection of original documents and manuscripts as well as over 40,000 published volumes. The library is located in CCHS’ main building on 21 N. Pitt Street.
Visitors search the manuscript and photo collections by using our PastPerfect computer catalog. No appointment is necessary and staff and volunteers are available at all times during open hours. In addition, other finding aids and inventories are available to help patrons with their research. Significant components of the collection include: genealogy files, family histories, Cumberland County histories, manuscripts, business records, church and cemetery records, newspapers, and Carlisle Indian Industrial School materials.
Students (with ID) and CCHS members can use the resources at no cost. Non-CCHS members pay a $5 nominal fee per day. Furthermore, in 2015 CCHS and the Cumberland County Library System created a partnership in which county library card holders can visit and use the CCHS resources offered at no charge. To take advantage of this program, patrons must check out the special CCHS/CCLS pass at any library branch of the Cumberland County Library System and show it to our visitor services desk at the Society’s entrance.
If you live outside of the area, or cannot make it to CCHS for a visit, we can process research requests for a fee. Please fill out the appropriate form below for the research you’re interested in.
General Research Request Form
Our staff strives to keep current with research inquiries and at the same time serve the patrons who visit the library. Our trained volunteers and staff at the Hamilton Library are available to answer specific historical questions. Upon receipt of payment and completed form, we will begin your research.
These questions may relate to any of the following topics:
Deeds and property research
Wills and estates
Records of births, deaths, marriages
Local history topics as reported in newspapers
Other sources regarding local history
If you prefer to print out and mail in the general research request form you can do so here.
Genealogy Research Request Form
To help researchers who are unable to visit the library, a genealogical research service is available. The service is intended to provide the researcher with basic information found in the collections of the Cumberland County Historical Society regarding a specific family. Upon receipt of payment and completed form, we will search the following:
The surname card catalog index to obituaries and marriages (from early Cumberland County newspapers, 1785-1870)
Card catalog index to genealogies and manuscripts
The Cumberland County histories and biographical annals
Census indexes, 1790-1860
Index to wills, 1750-1937
Will abstracts, 1750-1825
Tax records, 1750-1930
Church and cemetery records
Index to estate inventories
All other sources which may be appropriate
In general, we will not attempt to trace the history of a property or search the federal census. We will provide the names of professional researchers upon request. Please complete the form to make our search easier. Please provide all names, dates and places regarding your request. Inquiries are handled in the order they are received. Please note that due to limited staff and volunteer researchers, there may be a delay of several weeks before your inquiry is started.
If you prefer to print out and mail in the genealogy research request form you can do so here.
Carlisle Indian Industrial School Research Request Form
It is believed that 10,000 to 12,000 students once attended the first off-reservation boarding school, which was located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The Cumberland County Historical Society has an extensive collection of original documents, photographs, and objects left from the school. For a fee, trained volunteers will search through items preserved in the collections of the Hamilton Library. These items include the 1900 and 1910 Census Records, over forty years of publications produced by the students, hundreds of photographs, the papers of the Society of American Indians, access to the student rosters held at the National Archives and a photo summary from the Smithsonian Institute. Researches also are able to use a variety of secondary sources, which have been published after the school closed in 1918. Upon receipt of payment and completed form, we will search the following:
Name and Tribe index
Indian School photographs
Indian School newspapers
Other records (i.e. school catalogs, publications, articles, census data).
If you prefer to print out and mail in the Carlisle Indian Industrial School research request form you can do so here.
Photo Research Request Form
CCHS will search our photograph collection for specific subjects and provide up to 20 photocopies. All indexes and in-house databases will be searched, and photographs matching your request will be photocopied and mailed to your address for a fee of $12.50. (If you decide to order a digital photo reprint or reproduction, please refer to our Photo Order Information and use our Photo Order Form to place your order.) If you prefer to print out and mail in the photo research request form you can do so here.
Photo Order Form
If you already know the photo ID numbers and would like to order prints or scans for personal non-commercial use this form.
Please note that due to limited staff and volunteer researchers, there may be a delay of several weeks before your inquiry is started. If you prefer to print out and mail in the photo order form you can do so here.