Millions of Americans trace their family story to the Cumberland Valley of Pennsylvania. Our ancestors left clues to their life experiences here. At Cumberland Pathways, experts will help you uncover these clues.
As early as the 1730s, this Valley became the home to many Scots Irish and German settlers. The original Cumberland County was formed in 1750 and Carlisle became the governmental center the next year. The valley was the pathway for those seeking new land and opportunities in the expanding American colonies. From here, many of the settlers migrated south into the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Others moved westward as Indian purchases opened up new land for settlements. By 1770 Cumberland included ten present day Pennsylvania counties: Bedford, Blair, part of Centre, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Mifflin, and Perry. People continued moving westward eventually crossing the Ohio River, onto the plains of the American heartland and beyond, and south via the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.
The Cumberland County Historical Society is charged with preserving the history of these people. Its collection dates to decades before any settler thought of breaking away from Great Britain. CCHS maintains files on thousands of families who once called the Cumberland Valley home. Even if a family stayed for a short time, clues to their life experiences can often be found here. Land records including deeds, maps, and surveys show where families lived and tax records document their assets. The index to church and cemetery records makes it possible to find their baptismal, marriage records, and burial sites. And CCHS’ collection of cultural artifacts sheds a light on how they lived.