Search online catalogueGreater Manchester Lives is a searchable website which allows users to find information about documents, books, maps, photographs and more held by archives and local history libraries within Greater Manchester.
The partners involved are:
- Bolton Archives and Local Studies
- Bury Archives and Local & Family History Service
- Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives
- Oldham Local Studies and Archives
- Stockport Local Heritage Library
- Tameside Local Studies and Archives
- Trafford Local Studies
- Rochdale Local Studies and Archives
- Salford City Archives and Local History Library
- Wigan Archives and Local Studies
Each service holds thousands of items relating to the history of Greater Manchester including: books, maps and plans, photographs, newspapers, trade directories, local authority records, and business records.
Greater Manchester Lives includes over 4,000 archive collections held by these partners. It includes the full archives catalogue for Greater Manchester County Record Office (with Manchester Archives) and brief descriptions of the contents of collections for the other nine district archive services. It also includes the local image collections for Manchester and Tameside.
This web site is a work in progress - we will be adding more information to it over the next few months. If you cannot find what you are looking for, please contact the relevant organisation for more information.
You can comment on individual records – so you can tell us more about a document or photograph that interests you. Tell us about the things that matter to you in your area or your local history.
We will be keeping the Pastfinder catalogue online until March 2014.
Family and Estate Papers
The Greater Manchester County Record Office (with Manchester Archives) holds a number important collection of family and estate papers. Records of the great landowning families (and indeed of some of the smaller families) can provide the local and family historian with much useful information, sometimes as far back as medieval times. Pastfinder lists the family and estate papers we hold. Click through to Pastfinder and then choose "Personal, Family and Estate" from the "Collection Type" field.
The following gives an outline of some of they key collections held at the Greater Manchester County Record Office:
These are found among the larger landowning family papers which in case of Greater Manchester County Record Office consists of the Assheton family of Middleton (Ref: GB124.E7), the Egerton family of Heaton Hall (Ref: GB124.E4), the Legh family of Lyme Hall (Ref: GB124.E17) and the Entwistle family of Foxholes near Rochdale (Ref: GB124.E.FOX). They give details of the names of tenants renting houses or land, the address or situation of the property, the amount of rent due and any arrears. Very often these records cover centuries rather than decades, so that it may be possible to follow the family through several generations, especially as the son would often take over the property when the father died.
By far the most numerous type of document which has survived, title deeds can give invaluable information, but should be approached with some caution. Early deeds were written in Latin (or sometimes Norman French) and abbreviated and can therefore be difficult to read, while some legal deeds can be very verbose and repetitive and thus can be difficult to follow. Much headway, however, may be made by consulting the catalogues at Greater Manchester County Record Office, which always list at the very least the main parties and the property involved. For those willing to persevere, title deeds can be a real mine of information. In addition to listing the names, status or occupations and addresses of the main parties, deeds will often give witness lists., boundaries or even maps of the property concerned and the terms under which the property was held. There are many different types of title deeds but those to which family historians should pay particular heed include wills, leases, grants of land and mortgages.
The Assheton family papers holds some manorial records. In addition the Hattersley manorial records are available on microfilm at the The Manchester Room@City Library. As they include court papers they can be useful to the genealogist for giving details of those charged with offences or in dispute as well as a lists of those serving on juries. However, they are written in Latin, so can be very difficult to read.
During the late 18th Century, the Earl of Wilton was instrumental in raising the Royal Lancashire Volunteer Regiment. Recruits were sent to Danbury Camp, a village in Essex situated between Chelmsford and Maldon. The booklet details those who served at Danbury. The regiment was made up of men from all areas of the country although a majority came from the North West of England. A register gives details of those who served at Danbury 1779-1782 (ref: GB124.E4/95/1). A transcript and index of the register is available on-line.
Records of Societies and Groups
The Greater Manchester County Record Office (with Manchester Archives) holds a large collection of records of various groups and societies. These include the records of the Vegetarian Society and the Manchester Chamber of Commerce.
Pastfinder lists the records we hold. Simply choose "Associations, societies, and clubs" from the "Collection Type" field.