Meet the Archivist – Emily Cartlidge, Northumberland County Archives

Up next is Emile Cartlidge, Archivist for the Northumberland County Archives.

cartlidge2bw-SEmily graduated from Brock University with an honours degree in  History.  She continued on to earn her Masters in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Western Ontario.

What do you do at the Northumberland County Archives? 

I am the Records Manager & Archivist which means that I manage the corporate records from creation to destruction or long-term preservation. I’m also responsible for maintaining the archival collection.  The archival collection is made up of historical documents or records related to the history of Northumberland County – both the Corporation and the geographic area. We also provide archival services to our lower tier municipalities and store and provide access to the archival materials of the Town of Cobourg, Township of Alnwick-Haldimand and Cramahe Township. Within the collection, we have by-laws, assessment rolls, Council Minutes, photographs, maps, oral histories, newspapers, land deeds and abstracts, diaries, personal correspondence and much more.

It is my job to ensure that this information is preserved and made available to those interested in researching.

Why did you choose this career?

I was on exchange to Wales during my third year of university and travelled to some of the major Museums and Libraries in Europe. Being a Medieval History student and seeing some of the finest examples of medieval maps, books and documents on display and accessing them for research, really sparked my interest in Archives. When I returned to Brock University for my fourth year, I volunteered at the University’s Special Library and Archives and fell in love with the profession.

What is your favourite part of your job?

Holding history in your hands and the fact that every day is different.

What do you find to be the most challenging part of your job?

Inventorying the collection and creating usable descriptions for researchers. It’s not the task of inventorying and describing materials that’s challenging, it’s getting through the large volume of materials in the collection in a timely manner for researchers that’s the challenge!

How did you get into the archival field? 

To make sure this field was a good fit for me, I volunteered at various archival institutions in Ontario and Wales. After gaining some essential archival skills and first-hand experience, I completed my Master of Library and Information Science at the University of Western Ontario in 2009 (where I continued to volunteer throughout and after my studies). My first Archival position came when I was hired on as the Museum and Archives Assistant for the St. Marys Museum in St. Marys, Ontario where I worked for a year and a half before accepting a position with Northumberland County in my hometown of Cobourg in 2012.

What is your favourite memory of the Archives?

My favourite memory of the Archives is the day we installed our compact storage units. Before installation, we had room for only 18 more bankers boxes of materials before our one storage room was full. With the hard work and support of our volunteers re-boxing materials and emptying the room, we were able to install the new shelves and create space for over 400 additional boxes!

Do you have a favourite artifact?

My favourite artifact is the 1808-1820 Roads Petition Book for the Newcastle District. In this book kept by the chief surveyor of the Newcastle District are listed all the names of landowners who petitioned the District to construct new roads as well as the measurements and surveyors thoughts on the proposal. It’s pretty awesome because many of the roads that were petitioned for then are still in use today and form many of the major routes throughout the County!


About durhamregionareaarchivesgroup

DRAAG is the professional group for archives and repositories of the local history of Durham Region and surrounding areas.
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