Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy

19/8/2004

Family History in Manchester

First Steps
Church of England Registers
Non-Conformist, Catholic and Jewish Records
Cemetery Records and Monumental Inscriptions
IGI (International Genealogical Index)
Census Records
Probate Records
Coroners’ Records
Other Material
Held Elsewhere (Including civil registration of births, marriages and deaths)
Complete list of church and chapel registers available

First Steps
Manchester Archives and Local Studies has a wide range of resources available for those who wish to trace their family’s history. Detailed guidance on tracing family history can be found on the GENUKI website. Visitors to the library are advised to gather as much information from older members of their family before coming, as any clues such as dates, addresses, areas or trades can be helpful in identifying the right family. It is a good idea to read one or two books on the subject of genealogy for beginners (we have a number of these available in our lending stock), and joining a family history society such as the Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society is also recommended.

Church of England Registers
Microfilm copies for very many Lancashire and Cheshire parishes, and in a few cases Derbyshire, are kept in the Microfilm Unit. Original registers for some Manchester Diocese parishes which have not been microfilmed can be consulted in the Archives section. For details of all parish registers held see our on-line Register List.

We are able to offer a postal copying service for particular entries in some of our microfilmed parish registers, but only if the precise date and parish place and church name are known. Further details and order form.

Published volumes of the Lancashire Parish Register Society can be seen in the Local Studies Library, whilst the Society’s unpublished transcripts can be consulted in the Archives section. The main reference library has a large number of published transcripts for areas other than Lancashire.

Non-Conformist, Catholic and Jewish Records
The Archives section has original Baptist, Congregational (now United Reformed), Unitarian and Jewish records, essentially just for the City of Manchester. It also has Methodist records for chapels in the Manchester and Stockport Methodist District, which includes parts of Bury, Oldham, Salford, Tameside and Trafford Metropolitan Districts (records of Stockport chapels are at Stockport Library). The Archives section also has Quaker records for Hardshaw East Monthly Meeting and the former Hardshaw Monthly Meeting. Copies of the originals of these records, as sent to London in the mid-19th century, are available in the Microfilm Unit.

The official place of deposit for Roman Catholic registers for the Manchester area is Lancashire Record Office, but our Microfilm Unit has an incomplete set of microfilm copies for some Manchester parishes.

For details of all registers held see our Register List.

Cemetery Records and Monumental Inscriptions
Microfilm copies of the registers for closed cemeteries in the City, and of the earlier registers for some of the existing cemeteries can be seen in the Microfilm Unit. They include Ardwick 1838-1950; Cheetham Hill Wesleyan 1815-1968; Manchester General, Harpurhey 1837-1905; Philips Park, Bradford 1866-1987; and Rusholme Road, Chorlton-on-Medlock 1821-1933. In addition the Archives section has, in its Withington Workhouse collection, a grave register and interment records.

There are other cemetery records not held by Manchester Archives and Local Studies. For later records for Gorton, Philips Park and Manchester General (and for indexes to the earlier records for the first two), and also for Blackley Cemetery and Crematorium, contact the Registrar at Blackley Cemetery and Crematorium, Victoria Avenue, Higher Blackley, Manchester, M9 8JP. For records of Southern Cemetery, contact Southern Cemetery, Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 2GL. For St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Cemetery in Moston, write to the cemetery, at Moston Lane, Moston, Manchester, M10.

Monumental inscriptions for many local graveyards can be seen either on microfilm, in printed book form or in the Archives section.

A card index to Monumental Inscriptions and Cemetery records can be seen in the Microfilm Unit.

IGI (International Genealogical Index)
This microfiche index to baptisms and marriages (but not burials) is taken from (mainly) Church of England registers. Whilst far from complete, and not necessarily accurate, it can make a very good starting point. Most of the baptisms and marriages at Manchester Cathedral for the seventeenth to nineteenth century are included, and can save lengthy searches. Manchester Archives and Local Studies has the microfiche of the IGI for the whole of the British Isles. Alternatively, the later Internet version of the IGI, on Family Search, can be consulted free of charge in the Local Studies Library.

Census Records
The Microfilm Unit has microfilm/microfiche copies of the census returns 1841-1891 for the City of Manchester, and some adjacent areas including parts of Salford, Stretford, Altrincham and Sale, Droylsden and Prestwich for some but not all of the census years. There is a surname index to the Manchester census returns of 1851, and a range of indexes for 1881 for the whole of Lancashire, Cheshire and Derbyshire. In the Local Studies Library we have a computer terminal offering access to the 1881 census returns for the whole country on CD-Rom. Advice should be sought from staff in Manchester Archives and Local Studies, before going to the Microfilm Unit.

1901 Census
Microfiche The census for the city of Manchester area is available in the Microfilm Unit, where there are seven microfiche machines, with access via street indexes. Advice should be sought from staff in Manchester Archives and Local Studies, before going to the Microfilm Unit.

Internet As indicated on the Public Record Office’s website, the 1901 census service is now available. It is possible to access this on the computers in the Manchester Archives and Local Studies search room, or by booking time in the Net-Works Centre.

We are selling £5 and £10 vouchers for the 1901 census to personal callers in the library, but not by post.

Probate Records
A detailed account of Lancashire probate records is given in Lancashire Record Office’s publication, Finding Folk. Briefly, most Lancashire wills proved before 1858 are held at Lancashire Record Office but the Local Studies Library has the published indexes to these. The Local Studies Library also has a microfiche copy of the National Probate Index for 1858 to 1943.

Coroners’ Records
As explained in the guide by Jeremy Gibson and Colin Rogers, Coroners’ Records in England and Wales (Federation Of Family History Societies, 2nd edition, 1997), coroners’ records have frequently been destroyed. This is certainly the case with the records of the coroner for the city of Manchester, where the only 19th century records to survive are witnesses’ depositions for the dates 22 August 1851 – 24 December 1852, held by our Archives section (ref M381/1/1/1-2). Greater Manchester County Record Office holds 20th century coroners’ records, namely indexes 1918-1998 and inquests 1959-1998. Note however that coroners’ records are closed for 75 years, and permission to see records less than 75 years old would have to be obtained from the Manchester Coroner, and is only given in exceptional circumstances.

In the absence of coroners’ records, it may be that a report of any inquest conducted by the coroner for the city of Manchester might be found in local newspapers. Please click this link for a list of local newspapers held here – though note too that we will not search these on your behalf, in line with our research policy. Our archives section does hold a scrapbook of newspaper cuttings for the period 1900-1938 (ref M381/2), mostly concerned with coroners’ cases; it is not clear how complete the scrapbook is and, in the absence of an index, we would not search this item on your behalf.

Other Material
The Archives section has a wide variety of records which may be of assistance, for example apprenticeship indentures, deeds, rate books and school records. An extensive collection of Ordnance Survey and other maps in the Local Studies Library can be useful for tracking down former addresses, as can street directories, which can be viewed on microfilm covering Manchester 1772 to 1969, Lancashire and Cheshire. (Directories for other counties are available in the main reference library). Copies of Manchester electoral registers from 1832 to date, and local newspapers from the eighteenth century onwards are also available in the Microfilm Unit and can be helpful to family historians.

It is also worth noting that many sources for family history, such as old copies of the Army List and Who’s Who, can be found in the main Reference Library.

Held Elsewhere
We do not have copies of the National Index of Births, Marriages and Deaths from the General Register Office (The St Catherine’s House Indexes) in the Central Library. If you wish to view these in Manchester, they are available at the Greater Manchester County Record Office.

The Council’s Registrar’s Office can help with copies of certificates of births, marriages and deaths

Some records for the Manchester area, such as pre -1858 wills and Bishop’s Transcripts are held at the Lancashire Record Office at Preston.

For further information go to-
http://www.manchester.gov.uk/libraries/arls/famhist.htm

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