Tracing your family

If you want to trace your family tree the following guide will help you, also find out more by looking at books on family history research or use either the online guides; National Archives  http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/familyhistory or GENUKI's guide http://www.genuki.org.uk/gs. There is a book available called Cumbrian Ancestors on how to trace your Cumbrian family tree, with full details of the archives that you can use in our Record Offices.

Be realistic! Family history can be time-consuming and it may be that you won't be able to find all the information you would like to find. We will do our best to help you!

Where do I begin?

Gather as much about your family as you can from home. Start with yourself and work backwards, trying to compile details of dates and places of birth, marriage and death of relatives known to you and other members of your family. You may find that old certificates of birth, marriage and death help or that older family members recollect some details. Many of the sources that you will consult are church records so it is helpful if you can find out what denomination your ancestors belonged to, and in which parish or parishes they lived.

How far do the Register Office's records go back?

The four Cumbria Record Offices each hold church registers, from a wide number of Church of England and nonconformist churches, relating to their part of Cumbria. These are one of the main sources that family historians use as, in many cases, they predate the keeping of civil certificates of birth, marriage and death and the nineteenth century census returns. You may find that you can find out information relating to successive generations of one family by working back through these registers If you don't know which parish your family lived in you can look at the International Genealogical Index (IGI), available for the locality in each Cumbria Record Office. This indexes many of Cumbria's church registers of baptisms and marriages by name for the period before about 1875. Alternatively, you can search it on-line on the web site of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

What information do I need to obtain an old birth, marriage or death certificate?

You will need to know the year and the parish, and any other information you may have. If you don't know which parish your family lived in you can look at the International Genealogical Index (IGI), available for the locality in each Cumbria Record Office. This indexes many of Cumbria's church registers of baptisms and marriages by name for the period before about 1875.

Cumbrian Census

Census returns were taken every ten years from 1841 but the detailed schedules are closed for 100 years after their compilation. The censuses of 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901 should record all people living in the country on census night in that particular year. They are very useful as you will see entire households living together, with information on their ages, places of birth and occupations.
Census returns are arranged by historic county and you can see those for Cumberland 1841-1901 at the Carlisle and Whitehaven offices, South Cumberland and Lancashire North of the Sands 1841-1891 at Barrow and Whitehaven and Westmorland 1841-1901 at Kendal Library, and the Kendal and Whitehaven offices. You can find census records for the whole country at the Family Records Centre in London and on-line for 1901 at www.1901census.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Cumbria Archive Service

You can commission one Cumbria Archive Service's experienced researchers to use the variety of resources available in the Cumbria Record Offices to research your family tree for you, follow the link http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/archives/research/default.asp

How can I trace a long lost relative or friend?

We do not keep updated records of a persons whereabouts. You could try contacting the electoral register in the district covering the persons last known address, or telephone directory, the Salvation Army or the local newspaper. There is also a service offered by the General Register Office, which for a fee may be able to assist in your attempt to find your relative.

Good Luck with your search


Carlisle City Council logo   Cumbria County Council

Copeland District Council logo   Eden District Council logo

Gov.UK

Contact us

 01900 702702
 01900 702507

Allerdale Borough Council
Allerdale House, Workington, Cumbria,
CA14 3YJ