Manchester Re-United! Exciting New Online Collection Published by the Manchester City Council
I was recently alerted to the publication of the Manchester Collection – an array of records offered by the Manchester City Council’s Libraries Information and Archives. The records are an awesome genealogical resource for those whose ancestors may have Manchester connections, especially during the Victorian era. Even if you have no ancestors from Manchester, the collection provides a glimpse into Victorian life, so lovers and students of history will benefit as much as genealogists. The collection includes;
- 690 Apprentice Indentures (1700- 1849)
- Workhouse Registers – over 500,000 documents
- School Admissions Records dating from 1870-1916
- Prison Records 1847 – 1881
- Marriage Registers 1734 – 1808
- Cemetery and Death Records 1750- 1968
- Baptism and Birth Registers 1734 – 1920
- Industrial School Records 1866 – 1912
The collection is a treasure in itself, yet each group of records has its own particular worth. The Apprentice Indentures for instance consists of a collection of 690 apprentice indentures, overseen by the Manchester Overseers of the Poor Apprenticeship Indentures. The collection also includes 68 indentures contracted between private parties, and more than a dozen indentures initiated outside of Manchester. They contain the name and age of the apprentice, the length of his term, the occupation he was apprenticed in, and the name of his master.
Most informative are the Prison Records. The amount of genealogical information contained in them is staggering! They reveal:
- The Prisoner’s Name and Registration Number
- Age, Religion, Education, Occupation and Last Known Address
- Nature of the Crime and Term of Imprisonment
- Date and Location Crime Committed
- Physical Description; Height, Hair and Eye Color, Complexion, Distinguishing Marks
- Marital Status
- Correspondence Received While Imprisoned, and much, much more.
There are registers form several prisons included as well as all female registers and female description books.
The Workhouse Records contain by far the largest number of documents, all transcriptions of the originals, so be sure to use discretionary caution when considering information found in them. There are over 350,000 admissions records from New Bridge Street Workhouse, Withington Workhouse, and Bury Union Workhouse, as well as creed registers and discharge registers.
Unfortunately it can be quite pricey to search these new records if you can’t get to the Manchester City Library in person. If you are able to go in person, the records are viewable at both Ancestry.com and FindMyPast.com for free due to the Council’s subscription. You can however subscribe to either of the websites yourself, but the cost is quite substantial. You can also access the original records at the Greater Manchester County Record Office, though you will have to make an appointment to research there. On the upside, the council hosts a free genealogy help desk for anyone who needs assistance researching their family history, and provides the service free of charge.