Manchester City Council

Libraries Getting started - track your family history

The first step to tracing your family history is to start from the facts that are available directly from family members. Gather as much information as possible and look at what we have online before visiting the library. Any clues such as dates, addresses, areas or trades will be helpful in finding the right family.

We have books about genealogy for beginners, which we recommend you read first.  It is also a good idea to join a society such as the Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society.

What's available? 

We hold both physical and online archives and local collections that are free to use. This wealth of information provides a good starting point.

Most of what we have online are descriptions of collections, and information about how to access them. A lot of our archived information is not yet available digitally. If the information you want is not online or on microfilm, it can be viewed in the search room at the Central Library.

It's unlikely that you will find all the information you want in one place which means you will have to look at various sources such as:

  • birth, marriage and death certificates
  • church and cemetery records
  • military records
  • maps
  • directories
  • rate books
  • electoral records 

The information we have is available either online or at Central Library. 

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