How to Use the Archives Lookup

What records you’ll find on these web pages: non-active, permanent records of the various Cumberland County Offices and Departments that are primarily pre-1930.  For scanned images online, see No. 4 below.

What records you won’t find on these web pages: active and non-active, permanent and non-permanent records from 1750 to the present in volume or loose paper format still maintained by the various Offices and Departments. 

1. For a brief history of Cumberland County and the various offices and departments
Click the “History” link on the left side of this page.  Last update was 2008.

2. For a brief history of Cumberland County office holders,
Click the "Office Holders of Cumberland County from 1750" link on the left side of this page.  This is an on-going project with refinements as verification found.  Last update was 2008.

3. For records actively maintained by a individual county office or department:
Click the “Public Record Access” link on the left side for links to County Offices with public records online.  Many offices maintain records dating from the county's origin that may be available online through their offices (Recorder of Deeds maintains Deed Books, the Prothonotary's office maintains Naturalization Records, etc.).

4. For records transferred to the Cumberland County Archives:
Click on the “Archival Holdings” link on the left side of this page.

Archival holdings are arranged by office and department on the Records Groups Page. By clicking on an office or department, a list of titles (Record Series) archived for that office or department that have been transferred to the Archives will result. Series in volume form are listed in the top section with series containing loose papers listed below.  Titles for either volume or papaer series are listed alphabetically.  Record Series are primarily pre-1930s.

Information for a Record Series includes:

  • Title
  • Date span
  • Quantity
  • Location
    CA = County Archives
    CCHS = Cumberland County Historical Society
    PSA = Pennsylvania State Archives
    Prothonotary = stored in the Prothonotary's Office
    Register of Wills = stored in the Register of Wills' Office
  • A description link for a general description of a record series
  • A holdings link (Volumes Only) for dates of individual volumes of a series, content different from the general description, and location of each volume.
  • An inventory link (Papers only) for a listing of individual papers.  Most inventories are arranged chronologically from the earliest date.  To sort by a field heading (name, etc.), click on the field heading title.  All sorts are alphabetical or numerical in ascending or descending order.
  • Scanned images:
    For online images of Papers, click the "inventory" link and then the camera icon.
    For online images of Volumes, click the "holding" link and then the "images" link for that volume.
Additional Record Series for volumes and papers will be added as prepared.

5. For a list of microfilm:
Click the “Microfilm” link on the left side of the page.

The microfilm listing is divided by Office and Department. Titles are arranged alphabetically under each office and department. Information includes:
  • Title
  • Date span
  • Number of reels (RL)
  • Location (see location abbreviations in the Archival Holdings explanation on this page)
  • A description link summarizing reel contents and notes.
Additional microfilm titles will be added as prepared.
6. For a list of Law Books dating to 1735, click the “Law Book” link on the left side of on this page.

7. Cumberland County Historical Society (CCHS) Partnership
Many county records have been transferred to the Cumberland County Historical Society’s facility at 21 North Pitt St, Carlisle for storage, preservation, and easier access by the public.  County records located at CCHS are indicated in the location descriptor with “CCHS.”  Clicking on the “CCHS” link on the Archives Home Page will provide a link to the Society’s web site with information regarding their hours, location, etc.  As public records, there is not a fee for viewing county records when visiting the Society.

Helpful Explanations
    Various abbreviations that appear include:
  • "Ass’t" for assistant
  • "Boro" for borough
  • "c" for cubic feet
  • "Info #" in the inventory of a paper's series for an informational sheet (not a document).
    Example: Artificial name index for papers in the series Board of Relief, Civil War (Commissioners).
  • "Jan" for January, "Feb" for February, etc.
  • "NA" for not applicable
  • "ND" for no date
  • "NR" for not recorded
  • "No." for number or North
  • "pg" for page
  • "T" for court term
  • "Twp" for township
  • "Vol(s)." for volumes
    Other Explanations or information
  • Dates with a hyphen (-) between them (1750-1782) means all years present
  • Dates with an ellipse (…) between them (1750…1782) means there are year gaps
  • "[ ]" for information not actually in a document but based on research
  • Various spellings exist for the various townships. A list of these variations can be in Appendix A on the History pages.
  • Various spellings exist for names. Example: Kauffman, Cauffman. Consider possible spelling variations when referring to a name field.
  • "Alphabetical groupings" as a description of an index means that under a letter, surnames all begin with that letter, but are not in alphabetical order, but as entered in the volume. Thus Dudley would be before Dickinson because Dudley would appear first in actual volume, usually in a chronological order.
  • Municipalities represent townships, boroughs, and towns.
  • A list of selected office holders can be found in Appendix B on the History pages.  Additions and refinements will often be made to this list.
  • "0 vols" indicates that a volume is either part of another volume or is missing.