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A Guide to Manchester & Lancashire Genealogical Research

A Guide to Manchester & Lancashire Genealogical Research

A lot of my personal research has been around the Manchester and Lancashire area. So I’ve used a lot of sources in my research, these “Extra” resources used along with the usual suspects (Ancestry, FamilySearch etc.) can yield some very colourful results.


Lancashire Parish Clerks

Lancashire Online Parish Clerks

“This site aims to extract and preserve the records from the various parishes and to provide online access to that data, FREE of charge, along with other data of value to family and local historians conducting research in the County of Lancashire.”

Lancashire Parish Clerks is great because it has fully searchable free data relating to the entire county. You can search by church, town or the whole of Lancashire.


Lancashire BMD

Lancashire BMD

The Register Offices in the county of Lancashire, England, hold the original records of births, marriages and deaths back to the start of civil registration in 1837.

The county’s Family History Societies are collaborating with the local Registration Services to make the indexes to these records freely searchable via the Internet.

Although the indexes are not yet complete for all years and districts, we hope that the database will eventually cover all Lancashire births, marriages and deaths from 1837.”

Like FreeBMD, Lancashire BMD has transcribed the Birth Marriage and Death records for Lancashire, however they have also transcribed many maiden names of mothers and list the “Age at Death” on most records up to 1837 as opposed to 1866 for FreeBMD.


Manchester City County Council Burial Records

Mancheser City Council

The Manchester City County Council Burial Records website is a fully searchable database of all the big cemeteries in Manchester. Its free to search which can also tell you the names of others buried in the same plot but if you want any more information a fee is required. Worth it if it breaks down a brick wall. The best way to use this resource is by combining it with Lancashire BMD to search for correlating deaths.


Manchester’s “Unfilmed” 1851 Census

Unfilmed 1851

“Family historians with ancestors in mid-19th century Manchester face a particular difficulty. Following transfer of the enumeration books to the Home Office in London and analysis of the contents, the area where the books were stored was flooded and the books were badly damaged. Some of the books were in such poor condition that it was not considered worth filming them. Others were filmed but much of the image appears blackened and the writing is not decipherable. Since the original books were considered too fragile to permit public access, the returns relating to over 200,000 people were effectively unavailable.”

This site has transcribed and made a searchable database of all of the names they could get out of the damaged 1851 census.






Manchester & Lancashire Family History Society

Manchester & Lancashire Family History Society

Manchester &  Lancashire Family History Society is a good resource to use as like most Family History Groups it has a member directory and local record sets. Some records are free to search but a small fee is payable if you want to access members directories. These members will often help with local research which is good for anyone not actually from the area. Their record sets also contain employee records from mills in the area. If you have working class ancestors from the Manchester and Lancashire area there’s a relatively large chance they could have been involved in the Mills.


Artus Family History

Artus

Whilst this is not specific to Manchester and Lancashire it does offer some very high resolution images of street maps of some of the cities in the area such as Manchester and Stockport. These maps stretch from the mid 1850s up until the 1940s.

Figuring Out Who Is In Old Photo’s

Figuring Out Who Is In Old Photo’s

Sometimes you might inherit photographs from family members that have passed away and not know who they are. My father inherited a box of old photographs from his grandmother, the problem is he doesn’t know who most of the really old ones are. When I scanned them all on to my computer I started to wonder who they were. So I tried to find ways of figuring out who they were. I’ll start with this photo of a family.

Unknown Family Photo
Unknown Family photo

The first thing you need to do is dissect as much information from the photo as possible. Here’s what I got:

  • Postcard Format, years ago people would send photo postcards to loved ones that were done in a studio and mounted on to a postcard. This postcard was from “Bert & Mabel” indicating the two adults names.
  • Postcard reads “To Flo &  Bill” indicating a close relationship to a couple with these names.
  • Children are all of similar age groups so the family would have had: A boy followed by two girls around 1-2 years in age difference, then another boy and another girl. This gives us an indication as to the general family group we are looking for.
  • Style of clothes, in my opinion the style would broadly be between 1905 and 1920.
  • Photographers name, this photo doesn’t contain a photographers name or stamp but if one was present then the date could be further narrowed down based on when he worked or even the negative number of the photo if present.
  • It can be helpful to contact a local historian who if there are markings or a photographers name on the photo. If there are negative numbers on the photo anywhere it can massively help to narrow the possible date range.

Secondly you need to apply that information to a family tree.

  • I know that this photo came from either my great grandmother Gladys Alice Cane’s side of my great grandfather Harold Juden’s side so that’s where I’ll start looking. My photos are more likely to be from the Cane side.
  • If I look through my Cane side I find that Gladys’ parents are William Cane and Florence Kate Wood which matches up with Bill and Flo.
  • One step further I can look through all of the siblings of William and Florence for a Bert or Mabel. I find that William has a brother called Albert and Florence has three brothers called, Ernest Albert, Gilbert and Herbert, giving me four possible leads.
  • All three of Florence Kate Wood’s brothers never married or died young. Leaving only Williams brother Albert.
  • Albert Cane married Mabel Devenish in 1902 and had seven children: Albert 1903, Ellen Louise 1905, Ethel 1907, Richard 1910, Nora Beatrice 1912, Patricia 1915 and Vera Alberta 1921.
  • As there are only five children in this photo it stands to reason that the last two girls haven’t been born yet. This puts the photo at before 1915. The youngest in the photo appears to be around two years old putting the photo at around 1913.

Once you have a hunch or a few possibilities and if you have a photo of any of their family members, cross compare them.

William Cane and Albert Cane
Cane Brothers

The above photo on the left is of William cane, my 2x Great Grandfather and the suspected brother Albert Cane. It’s hard not to be bias when looking for similarities in photo’s so a second opinion should be obtained. To me, the two men look remarkably similar based on facial features and the expression on their faces.

The family group in the photo matches pretty much perfectly with the information in my tree and so proves with very little doubt that this is the family in question.