Ancestry.co.uk and Findmypast.co.uk contain digitised versions of the census and much more. Findmypast includes the Manchester Collection - a rich series of records that give details about how Manchester ancestors lived, particularly in the Victorian period. Records of baptisms, marriages and burials for Anglican churches in the Diocese of Manchester, including Manchester Cathedral, are now available online at Ancestry.co.uk.
Ancestry.co.uk and the Manchester Collection can be accessed in any Manchester City Council library.
Visitors 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 (at Central Library 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.