Our Collections Online For Visitors and Members
Here we highlight the individual databases that make up our collection of nearly three million records. The largest of these is The Great Database which combines nearly 200 datasets into one convenient search.
There are links after each section to take you to the search function for that section, or you can use the the orange search button at the top of the page to search all of the databases by name.
The 1934 Street Index and the Godfrey Maps Street Index are searched by street name and can be accessed from this page or from the Member Area. You must be logged in as a member to search some of these collections.
War Memorials Public Database
"Preserving and recording war memorials is our passion, whether we record local memorials or work with others to make records more accessible."
Our War Memorial records cover a very wide geographical area beyond the Manchester and Lancashire boundaries and into Cheshire and other contiguous counties. Currently there are over 1,000 memorials, 62,000 names and 3,000 photographs in this database. The War Memorials database can be searched by name and a list of locations can also be viewed.
Catholic Records Public Index
"Our Irish Ancestry branch has always been a driving force in the transcription of Catholic church records and our volunteers continue to apply their expertise to make more records available."
One of the most important record collections for the Manchester and Lancashire area, this database indexes thousands of records from Catholic churches. After each entry there is a 'More?' button that links to the list of churches covered and gives more details about that church, the source of the original records and a link to the corresponding CD in the MLFHS online shop.
The Manchester Genealogist
"Our digitised and indexed archive of research articles covers both family history and local history. Written by members for members, this is Manchester Ancestors' treasure trove."
The index to our quarterly journal archive is free to search, members can also click on the volume reference number to access the digitised copy directly. From the inception of the society in 1964 members have subnitted their research articles to the editor every quarter, often research that cannot be found elsewhere, that brings a unique blend of family and local history research together with the social and political history of the times. This archive is invaluable to all researchers and can be searched by name via the general search link below.
The Strays Public Index
"Sometimes one random snippet of information is all you need to track down that elusive ancestor."
How best to describe a 'stray'? A person found in a place where he or she would not be expected to be found, a person who had strayed from the homestead and family. Some of these records are taken from the MLFHS card index and some were submitted by members who came across these strays in the course of their own research. The Strays Index can be searched by all our visitors and is also included in the results of a general research.
Memorial Inscription Index
"One monumental inscription can contain all the information you need to complete a branch of your tree. Our members can search thousands of memorial inscriptions."
Our dedicated teams of volunteers have transcribed and recorded monumental and memorial inscriptions covering over 700 burial grounds resulting in a database of many thousands. Every name on an inscription is indexed separately and returns a copy of the full transcription. making it easy to connect family members and to prove or disprove relationships. A recent search for 'Smith' returned over 8,000 results; these can be refined by specifying a first name or narrowing down the date span. You can also consult the list of burial places and in some cases there may be some useful information, such as a ground plan, to aid your later research. This is an important and valuable resource that our members can access freely. This database is in the members area; a general search will show the number of records in this dataset.
The 1851 Unfilmed Census
"For many years these water-damaged returns were lost to family historians, now our members can search a new and enhanced database."
The 1851 unfilmed census refers to pieces, covering the Manchester and Hulme areas, that were water-damaged and unsuitable for research. The Society has transcribed these returns twice. The first transcription resulted in a database and is still available in CD format in the society's shop. The later transcript followed a long period of filming using special techniques to reveal as much as possible of the old and faded handwriting; the transcript of this later work is shown here. There is a bonus: some of the more difficult to read sections have been researched using later census and other contemporary sources to confirm the damaged entries. This database is in the members area; a general search will show the number of records in this set.
The Great Database
"An eclectic collection of nearly 200 separate datasets, searchable as one. From Odd Fellows to Wesleyans and Old Cars to Protestations, look here!"
The Great Database stores a myriad of datasets, some large, some small, for our members to search. The list of datasets, which is updated often, reveals the breadth and scope of this work. Amongst records of births, marriages and deaths from Manchester, Stockport, Bolton, Oldham and more, there are workhouse records, lists of gamekeepers and musicians, employees and schoolmasters, army deserters and Jewish war graves, records from Prestwich Asylum and from Henshaw's Asylum for the Blind, the impressive 19th century John Owen Diary and Missing Persons from the Manchester Times. These are just a small sample of the datasets in this collection. This database is in the members area; a general search will show the number of records in this dataset.
"Members may choose to list surnames that they are researching and invite other members, if their research is similar, to get in touch."
All members of the society have the opportunity to list some of the names that they are researching and for which they would welcome more information or contact with other researchers. Updates to these members' interests are listed in our quarterly journal, The Manchester Geanalogist. it is now possible to search these lists online here. The lists can be searched from within The Great Database or from the Member Area page.
1934 Street Index
"It's one thing to find an ancestor, but to find where he lived with his wife and his children is to understand him and how his circumstances coloured his life."
The 1934 Street Index is the result of considerable work and collaboration by Society volunteers and their efforts are recorded on the search form together with details of how the index was created and the street names checked and cross checked during the process. Search for the name of any street, lane, road or avenue by inserting just the first part of its name in the search box. The search engine will then list all the thoroughfares of that name and show, for each one, a link to the appropriate map. There is also a search by map function which is currently a work in progress. You can access this valuable database directly from the Member Area after logging in or by using the link below.
Godfrey Map Street Search
"If you have a Manchester-area street name, but don't know which Alan Godfrey map to consult, search our index."
Whether you want to locate a street in Manchester city centre or a road in the wider area, use our Godfrey Map Street Search. Your search will find every mention of that name, whether a street, road or avenue, and will list any named buildings on that street. The 'more information' link connects with the relevant map in our shop - a perfect way to buy a map that might be missing from your collection of Alan Godfrey Maps! The button below links to more information about searching the maps index and to the search form.
The Documents Index
"Many of our documents contain lists of names. These have been indexed and included in The Great Database search. A great timesaver for our members!"
We have a large collection of documents related to our areas of interest and extending from the 17th to 20th century. Where these contain name lists, the names have usually been included in The Great Database and can be searched vis that 'All Records Search' link below. You can also access and browse the list of documents from the Member Area directly. This database is in the members area; a general search will show the number of records in this dataset.
The Exchange Journals Archive
"Whether you are researching different parts of Britain or different continents, our collection of Exchange Journals may cast light upon your ancestors' lives."
The Exchange Journals Archive is a valuable online library for our members. We exchange journals with some 45 other societies at home and abroad. The catalogues simply list the journals from each society and their archives are presented in reverse date order. This is a wonderful place to just choose an archive and volume of interest and look through its pages; to read researched articles about the location and, just maybe, to discover something that relates to your own family's life in that place. This dataset is accessible from the Member Area where there is a direct link to the archives, you will need to log in first. The exchange journals are not indexed and therefore don't appear in the main search.
Resource Library Catalogue
"This is a 'real' library of physical books and documents, resources which relate to all branches of our society."
Some of the material in our Resource Library will not be found anywhere else, it is exclusive to the society. The other items are books and records that might be old (we have items dating as far back as 1850) or scarce and not easy to find or to consult locally. Unfortunately, the present pandemic has made it impossible for visitors to access this resource, but everything has been catalogued, giving you plenty of time to look for items of interest prior to the Library reopening fully. The Resource Library is accessible from the Member Area where there is a direct link to the archives, you will need to log in first. The items in this resource are not indexed and therefore don't appear in the main search.
"Weblinks - previously known as the Toolbar - is a collection of links to internet sites, worldwide, curated to help you find useful sites with ease."
How do you find direct links to archives, councils, libraries and all the other societies and organisations that provide information or data that is needed in family history research? Follow the "Weblinks" link below. You can also hover over the 'Research' heading and note the "Weblinks" in the "Find Out More" column. Additionally, "Weblinks" is included under "Research" in each of the branches sections. Of course, web addresses can change without warning and you may occasionally find that the link no longer works, but we do check them from time to time.
The easiest and quickest way to search all our datasets is to use the orange search button, above, which returns both public area and member area matches. This is a work in progress, so please visit again, soon, to see details of all the major database collections.
Our volunteers make the society what it is. Highlighting local collections values the work done by our volunteers and the difference they have made, whether working in teams or individually, to transcribe large and small archives for the benefit of both members and non-members.