Academic Records

Dickinson Student in dorm

Cumberland Pathways offers you the opportunity to learn about and explore an often overlooked source of information on our ancestors: Academic Archives. Records maintained by an academic institution can give a unique and sometimes more personal view of our ancestors than many other types of records. They can open a window into our ancestor’s world. The conference will highlight potential treasures in academic records that might surprise even the experienced searcher.

Dickinson College archivist, Jim Gerencser, and his staff will help conference participants understand the potential of such records for family historians. The Dickinson Archives are uniquely positioned to showcase the use of academic records for family historians. The school has been educating young people since 1783 when Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was instrumental in establishing the first new college in America after the Revolution. Dickinson would grow to become one of America’s prominent liberal arts colleges. Since its inception, it has created records related to its student body and these records are stored in its archives.

Buried in admission and registration files may be home addresses of the students. Graduation records provide class rank and academic achievements. Yearbooks not only contain posed photos but their depictions of extracurricular activities capture the social fabric of the times. Alumni records often include bios, addresses, and post-graduation achievements and family life. The conference will highlight these and other potential treasures in academic records that can offer clues to our ancestor’s life.

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