Frequently asked questions

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions.

Why should I volunteer?

Volunteering for VCH Cumbria allows you to contribute to a programme of focused, serious study with an end-result which will last for decades as a work of reference. You will also gain the satisfaction of working as part of a common endeavour and have the opportunity to enhance your research skills and experience.

How do I become a volunteer for VCH Cumbria?

Volunteers should ideally also be members of CCHT, and should indicate their interest in volunteering on the form when joining. For further information about membership or volunteering, or to express interest, please contact James Bowen, the Volunteer Co-ordinator. James Bowen Tel: 01524 593141 Email: Further details can also be found on the ‘Be a Member’ page of the website. Please do not embark on research without first discussing your involvement in the project with the Volunteer Co-ordinator

Do I need any particular skills / experience to volunteer?

A background in local and regional history, or experience of researching family history will be useful but is not essential for VCH volunteers.

What is expected of me as a volunteer?

We ask that volunteers undertake a particular research task by agreement with the organisers and that in doing this work, volunteers meet the standards set by the VCH and follow any guidelines we provide. In addition, we ask is that you inform us of any change in your commitment to the project.

What training and support will I get as a volunteer?

All volunteers will receive clear guidance on what to do, why and when. This will be given in the form of written guidance notes and at regular meetings. Training tailored to volunteers’ needs will be provided by CCHT.

How much time will I have to commit to this project as a volunteer?

As a volunteer, how much time you spend on this project is up to you. But having agreed to undertake a task, we expect you to fulfil your commitment. If there are any deadlines for particular tasks, we will let you know well in advance.

How will I know how to approach the task I have agreed to undertake?

The VCH provide guidance on writing township or parish histories on their website: In addition, the VCH Cumbria project is also producing a set of guidelines tailored specifically to writing Cumbrian parish/township histories. These can be found under the “Resources”section of the CCHT website and should be read in conjunction with the national guidelines. Most importantly, the Volunteer Co-ordinator will hold meetings with volunteers to guide you in your work for the project.

Will a list of sources be provided?

A checklist of sources will be provided for every topic covered by a parish/township history, e.g. social history, religious history etc. Guidance on what sources to use can be found in the Briefing Notes which can be downloaded from the “Resources” section of the website.

What happens if I need to access sources held outside of Cumbria?

Access to sources outside of the county should be discussed with the Volunteer Co-ordinator and the Project Leader as this will require coordination of effort. It may be that only one volunteer need visit the archive in question, or copies could be ordered.

How can I get access to sources in private hands?

Accessing sources held by private individuals will first need to be discussed with the Volunteer Co-ordinator and the Project Leader. A letter of introduction can be provided which explains the VCH Cumbria project and why access is being requested.

Can I reclaim travel expenses?

Volunteers can only claim travel expenses for research on behalf of the whole project in archives outside of Cumbria, and only if they have been specifically requested to do so by Sarah Rose or Angus Winchester.

Do I need to be a member of Cumbria Library Service?

Membership is not essential for VCH volunteers, but it would allow you access to various subscription-only online resources, including the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Can I get access to subscription-only resources such as journals?

You will only be able to get access to subscription-only material if you are a member of a library service. Access to online journals will be available to those who are members of university libraries. Lancaster University library and many public libraries will have copies of journals on open access.

Can I get access to university libraries?

Access to many university library collections requires a library card. Unfortunately, membership of university libraries cannot be arranged for VCH volunteers. However, some volunteers will already have library cards and may, therefore, be able to act on another volunteer’s behalf.

How do I find out the boundaries of the parish/township I am researching?

To work out the boundaries of your parish/township, you should use the 1st edition Ordnance Survey 6" maps. These are available online - or at

Can oral testimony be used?

Oral testimony can be used where documentary evidence is not available. For example, local memory may provide the reasons behind the closure of a local factory.

Can newspapers be used?

Newspapers can be a very valuable source of information for VCH articles.

Are transcriptions of original documents included in township articles?

Transcriptions of original documents are not included in the township articles themselves, but they might be posted on the CCHT website to accompany parish/township articles.

Will my work be acknowledged?

Volunteers can expect full acknowledgement of their contributions to the project. Volunteers must also note an acknowledgement of thanks at the beginning of draft township articles if they have used any material in private hands. These acknowledgements will be collated and placed at the beginning of the published volume.

Who holds the copyright to township articles?

The University of London hold the copyright to the VCH. Once a draft article has been accepted for publishing / posting on the website, the author(s) will be asked to sign a statement transferring copyright to the University of London. However, this transfer of copyright only applies to the finished article. Volunteers are free to use the research on which their article is based in any way they like.

Publishing your material on the CCHT website?

Volunteers are very welcome to send us images for the Gallery pages, Themes and Places. However, images of documents taken for the purposes of VCH research, or other copyright material, must not be posted without the owner’s consent.

What is CCHT Cookies Policy?

Cookies are small data files that websites generate and ask to store on your computer. Most websites use cookies in one form or another. They are typically used to: • remember settings, so you don’t have to keep re-entering them whenever you visit a new page • remember information you give to a website, such as a list of products in your shopping basket • measure how you use the website so we can make sure it meets your needs To learn more about cookies and how to manage them, visit, or please read on to find out more about how we use cookies.

Measuring Website Usage: Google Analytics is in use to collect information about how visitors use this site. This provides us with important information that can enable the site to work better. We do not link this information to your name or address. The following cookies are used by Google Analytics: • _utma ; Randomly generated ID; expires after 2 years • _utmb; Randomly generated ID; expires after 30 minutes • _utmc; Randomly generated ID; expires when you close your web browser • _utmz; Randomly generated ID; expires after 6 months

Understanding your web browser capabilities: We set some cookies to store information about your browser settings, to understand which functionality to enable on the site. The following cookies is used: has_js; typical content: 1 or blank; cookie expires when you close your web browser

Remembering your choices Certain sections of our site remember your choices, so you can be provided with the right information if you visit other pages, and then return. For example, if you filter a list of information we will remember your choice and default to that selection if you visit the page again. These choices are not tied to any personally identifiable information. The following cookies are used: • SESS; randomly generated string; expires up to 24 days

Click here for a full Cookie Audit, carried out on 10 May 2018

Data Protection and Privacy Policy

General Data Protection Regulations: Cumbria County History Trust (CCHT)

Data Controller

The Data Controller is Cumbria County History Trust (CCHT). The Treasurer/Membership Secretary and the Website Manager have been identified as handling data for the Data Controller. They are not Data Processors. The Assistant Editor for the Victoria County History of Cumbria project based in the Department of History at Lancaster University holds volunteer data.

Data Collected

Data is collected from Members, who renew their membership annually (or are Life Members), and from Volunteers who need not be members but who work towards the fulfilment of the Trust’s objects. No data collected is likely to result in high risk to the data subject’s interests.

- Name

- Full postal address, including post code

- email address

- telephone number

- whether paid by cash/cheque/BACS/PayPal

Data Conditions

The data listed above are collected to enable CCHT to communicate with its members and volunteers, generally by email (Mailchimp), informing them of forthcoming events and activities, training and supervision where appropriate, and other items of archaeological/historical/heritage interest. No data is passed to third parties. Members who opt to complete a standing order or pay by PayPal do so directly, not via CCHT. Volunteers who are not members do not make payments.

Data Security

Membership and volunteer data is held on spread sheets on a password-protected laptop in the possession of the Treasurer/Membership Secretary. Paper data is not stored: membership joining or renewal forms are shredded once the data has been transferred to the spread sheet. Electronic data is only held for as long as necessary, defined generally as being for the current membership year, and for one year after the last membership renewal was due (Life Member records are held for the member’s life). From time to time members ask for contact details of other members: these are referred to the member concerned and no details released without their permission. For volunteers, the data is held only for as long as their involvement with the Trust is active, and the information held is monitored regularly. In the unlikely event of a data breach which might compromise any individual, financially or otherwise, this would be reported to the Steering Group and to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Volunteer data is stored by the Assistant Editor on the Lancaster University Network, complying with University Policy and Legislation surrounding Information Security.

Right to be Informed/Right to be Forgotten

Members and volunteers may at any time ask by phone, letter or email, to access their data, ask for it to be corrected, and/or for it to be removed from our files. We will comply within 30 days of such requests, after advising the member or volunteer that by so doing they will no longer receive any communications from the Trust.


CCHT uses Mailchimp for its communication with members and volunteers. New members’ names and email addresses are added to the Mailchimp list upon joining. Every email contains a link allowing the member to check what data is held (First name, Surname, email address) and change it is they wish – and a link allowing members to unsubscribe. Members who have failed to renew will be removed one year after their last subscription was due, and their records removed from the list. New volunteers’ names are added to the Mailchimp list when they commence training or drafting work with the Trust, and they have identical rights as members to have their records removed.

Social Media

CCHT uses Twitter (@VCH_Cumbria), but does not have Facebook or other social media accounts.


CCHT’s website is built on a Drupal platform and is managed for us by Hydrant, of Carlisle. This privacy policy/data protection policy is posted to that website. Members of the public can opt in to ‘Follow’ the site, in which case they will be added to the Mailchimp email list. Every email contains a link to ‘unsubscribe’.

This statement and policy will be checked annually by the CCHT Steering Group to ensure it is, and remains, current.

CCHT Steering Committee: 17 April 2018