The Bolton & District Family History Society (now called Bolton Family History Society) came about as a result of a Workers' Educational Association course in the late 1970s. At the end of the course, the class did not want to lose touch and decided to hold an exploratory meeting at the Pack Horse Hotel, Bolton to gauge interest in forming a local family history group. On 24th November 1981, the Oak Room of the Pack Horse was full to bursting with lots of enthusiasm, so the first meeting was arranged.
The first meeting venue was the Friends' Meeting House, Silverwell Street, Bolton and the main aims laid down then (and still current now) were to do everything possible to ensure that sources remain accessible to members, and to assist new or inexperienced members with their research. The picture above is believed to be the first committee. In early 1982, the Bolton group decided to apply for and was accepted as a branch of the well-established Manchester & Lancashire Family History Society.
One way of achieving the above aims was to appoint a Projects Secretary, whose job it was to choose sources, perhaps those in a frail condition, for members to index. Willing groups braved the cold to visit graveyards to note and index monumental inscriptions which might be in danger of damage or disappearance through age. Several transcribers are still hard at work on various topics. A copy of every completed project has been given to the Local Studies & Archives Section of Bolton M.B.C., thus making the work available to all. Electronic copies are added to the MLFHS online website, again with the intention of assisting researchers around the world with sources in Bolton.
From its earliest beginnings, the group has seen many changes in the way family history is researched, not least the continually increasing importance of the internet. Many people believe they can achieve a full family history by use of the internet alone, but this is not the case, with much information still being in dusty repositories, just waiting to give up that elusive ancestor who has just not wanted to be found. Again, the very popular TV series "Who Do You Think You Are" may have fostered interest in so many people.
Four Bolton members have been delighted to be appointed Fellows of the Society — Mr. Ron Smith, Mrs. Rita Greenwood, Mrs. Barbara Owen and Mrs. Margaret Calderbank.