The theme for the Cumberland County Fair this year is "Family Heritage." The Archives and Family Heritage Center will be in the exhibition hall to help visitors discover their heritage. They will have computer access to several genealogy websites and experienced genealogists on hand to start them on their quest. Give them a name and they will look for grandparents or parents on the 1940 census.
There will be a slideshow of old Cumberland County scenes and people, some you may recognize. If you do, tell them your stories. Video stories directly from their oral history collection told by the elders who remember the “old days” will take visitors back to a simpler time. If they had ancestors on the 1860 census and can prove their link to that ancestor through other census records and family records, they qualify for the archives' Early Families of Cumberland County program. Upon completing the lineage, they will receive a certificate with their name and their ancestor’s name. As with all the archive programs, there is no cost, and they have experienced researchers to help you complete your research.
During fair week, the archives' reading room will be open for research during its usual business hours: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are located at 95 East First St., Crossville, in the old Baptist church. Look for the brown steeple.
The summer has seemed to fly by. They have had several interesting programs and have seen an increase in patrons. They have received several collections from county offices. In 1905, the earlier public records, except for deeds, were lost to a fire. They have received several collections of early records dating from 1905 to about 1950. The tax records from 1905-1938 are shelved and the indexing project has started. Early court dockets are now on the shelf, but not indexed. If you have a date of an event, they can look for records.
School registers from the small neighborhood elementary schools and a few of the upper schools are in the building. These will need to be cleaned and shelved, but if you know the school name and approximate date of attendance, these can be accessed. Once in a great while, when working in a collection, a single item or book will surface that somehow wasn’t lost, such as a docket book from 1868.
Another wonderful new addition is the collection of microfilm reels of Cumberland County records that extend into the 1990s.
The archives needs volunteers who are interested in preserving history and would like to spend a few hours a week actually doing preservation. You don’t need to be a native of Cumberland County or have any experience in historical preservation to join the congenial band of researchers, preservationists and indexers. They will fit you in where you are comfortable and train you for your position. For more information about researching at the archives or about being a volunteer, call 456-2006 during business hours or come by their booth at the fair.