England, Manchester, Parish Registers (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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England, Manchester, Parish Registers, 1603-1910 .
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Manchester,  England
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Location of Manchester, England
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Record Description
Record Type Parish Registers
Collection years 1603-1910
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Manchester City Council - Archives and Local History

What is in the Collection?

This collection consists of church records from the Diocese of Manchester, covering the period 1603-1910. The records are held at the Manchester Archives. The parishes are mainly from the historic county of Lancashire, with a few parishes from Cheshire and Yorkshire.

A parish register is a record of ordinances performed in the Church of England. Every minister recorded all the baptisms (officially termed “christenings”), marriages, and burials which took place in his parish each year, and bound them into a single, handwritten volume. After 1754, a new law required that marriages be recorded in a separate book, and banns, or proclamations of the intent to marry put forth in the parishes of both the bride and groom, were to be recorded in yet another book. Starting in 1812, pre-printed registers were introduced, and separate registers were then kept for baptisms, marriages, and burials. It should also be noted that many parish records were either not kept or disappeared during the Commonwealth period, 1649-1660.

Often kept within a county record office or other archive repository, registers are central to English genealogical research as they are often one of the only sources for finding families and individuals in England before the start of civil registration in 1837.

Further information: Church of England Parish Registers

The Diocese of Manchester was formed in 1847 from the Diocese of Chester. It is useful to explore Cheshire Parishes and Lancashire Parishes, and to use the England Jurisdictions 1851 to locate the pre-1851 ecclesiastical jurisdictions. The historical reasons for the Ancient Parish of Manchester's lack of local parishes due to the Collegiate Church Manchester Our Lady, St George and St Denys, Lancashire practice are explained in the wiki page. The subsequent Manchester Diocesan building program has been followed to create parish pages. Town and City parish creations post-1851 are being added to the FamilySearch wiki, but the number of Non-Conformist churches and chapels is large. The collection is offered as an initial phase of publication of further collections (including index collections) for the Diocese of Manchester and other Mancunian records.

Non-Lancashire parishes included in the collection
Parish name Notes
Staleybridge, St Paul, Cheshire Town built on both sides of the River Tame, the historical boundary between Lancashire and Cheshire. Stalybridge Old St George and Stalybridge New St George are on the Lancashire side.
Dobcross, Holy Trinity, Yorkshire Created in 1797 from the ancient parish of Rochdale part of the West Riding of Yorkshire Parishes
Lydgate, St Anne, Yorkshire A chapelry in the parochial chapelry of Saddleworth, both of which were in the ancient parish of Rochdale, Lancashire 
Saddleworth, St Chad, Yorkshire Saddleworth lies on the very western edge of Yorkshire, alongside the Lancashire border. In many ways it is physically separated from the rest of Yorkshire by the Pennine range which form the parish's eastern border
Saddleworth, St Thomas, Yorkshire

(Email: archiveslocalstudies@manchester.gov.uk)

To Browse this Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for England, Manchester, Parish Registers, 1603-1910.

Collection Content

The index to this collection refers to baptism, marriage, and burial records. Baptism record entries are the most common in the index, followed by burial records, with marriage records constituting the smallest portion.

Sample Images

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

The following lists indicate potential information given in each type of record. It must be remembered that every record may not provide all of the listed information, as the procedures for keeping parish records evolved considerably over the centuries after 1538. It must also be noted that individual parishes often developed record-keeping traditions unique to themselves.

Baptismal Records may contain: Before 1812

  • Date and place of baptism/christening
  • Name of child
  • Gender of child
  • Parents' names

Additionally after 1812

  • Date and place of baptism/christening
  • Child's given name
  • Child's legitimacy
  • Parents' names and residence
  • Father's occupation
  • Minister's name

Marriage Records may contain: Before 1754

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Names of the bride and groom
  • Marriage banns including the residences of the couple

Additionally after 1754

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Names of the bride and groom
  • Names of the witnesses
  • Name of the minister

Additionally after 1837

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Names of the bride and groom
  • Ages and marital condition of the bride and groom
  • Residences of the bride and groom at the time of the marriage
  • Groom's occupation
  • Full name of the groom's father
  • Full name of the bride's father
  • May note if a spouse is single or widowed at the time of the marriage

Burial Records may contain: Before 1812

  • Day, month, year and parish of burial
  • Name of deceased
  • Name of the spouse of deceased

Additionally after 1812

  • Date and parish of burial
  • Name of deceased
  • Age and gender of deceased
  • Residence of deceased

How Do I Search the Collection?

Before beginning a search in these records, it is best to know the full name of the individual in question, as well as an approximate time range for the desired record. When entered into the search engine on the Collection Page, this information provides the quickest, most reliable path to finding the correct person. Of course, other information can be substituted as necessary.

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page to return a list of possible matches. Compare the individuals on the list with what is already known to find the correct family or person. This step may require examining multiple individuals before a match is located.

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page
If granted the rights to view the digitized records in this collection (see below), the images may be accessed by following this series of links:
⇒ Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒ Select the appropriate "County"
⇒ Select the appropriate "Town (with parish)"
⇒ Select the appropriate "Event Type and Year Range" to go to the images.

Compare the information found on the images with what is already known determine if a particular record relates to the correct person. This process may require examining multiple records before the correct person is located.

Some of the records in this collection may be written in an old script that can be challenging to read. Refer to BYU’s Script Tutorial for assistance with reading the records.

Image Visibility

Whenever possible, FamilySearch makes images of digitized records available for all users. However, the rights to view images on this website are ultimately granted by the record custodians. Due to their restrictions, certain records in this collection cannot be displayed in any electronic format, and therefore are not available for viewing online.

For additional information about image restrictions, please see the Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections page.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found the Person I Was Looking for, What Now?

  • Make sure to fully transcribe and cite the record entry for future reference. See below for assistance in citing this collection. Save or print a copy of the image if possible.
  • Use the information which has been discovered to find more. For instance, use the estimated age given in a marriage or burial record to calculate an approximate year of birth, if that is yet undetermined.
  • If in the appropriate period, use the information which has been discovered to find the individual in civil records. Particularly useful for research in nineteenth-century England are the England Census and the England Civil Registration records.
  • Continue to search the index to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives. Note that family members often appear on an individual's vital records, such as in the role of witnesses to a marriage.

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking for, What Now?

  • When looking for a person with a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which individual is correct. Use other information, such as place of birth, age, occupation, or names of parents, to determine which candidate is the correct person. If listed, a personal title may be a clue to property ownership or occupation, either of which might be noted in other records.
  • Check for variants of given names, surnames, and place names; transcription errors could occur in any handwritten record. Also remember that it was not uncommon for an individual be listed under a nickname or an abbreviation of their name, especially in church records. See Abbreviations Found in Genealogy Records for examples of common abbreviations. Note that some women reverted to their maiden name when their husband died, and therefore could be buried under their maiden name.
  • Vary the search terms. For example, search by either the given name or surname to return broader list of possible candidates which can then be examined for matches. Alternatively, try expanding the date range; this is especially useful in searching baptismal records, as it was not unusual for a child to be baptized weeks or even months after birth.
  • Search the records of nearby parishes. While it was uncommon for an individual in this period to move more than about 20 miles from their place of birth, smaller relocations were not uncommon. For this particular collection, this step may require finding records for Yorkshire and Cheshire parishes outside the Diocese of Manchester, or even for certain parishes in the bordering counties of Westmorland, Cumberland, and Derbyshire. Note that marriages usually took place in the parish where the bride resided.
  • Look at the actual image of the record to verify the information found in the online description, if possible.
  • The individual in question may not have records in the Church of England at all, but rather might have belonged to a nonconformist denomination. See England Nonconformist Church Records for more information.

For additional help searching online collections see FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

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Don't overlook FHL Place England, Lancashire items or FHL Keyword England, Lancashire items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see England Archives and Libraries.

General Information About These Records

In 1530, King Henry VIII established the Church in England, also known as the Anglican Church, the State Church, or the Episcopal Church. From that time forth, the vast majority of the English population have belonged to the Church of England. Only since the mid-19th century have other religious groups made headway.

The Church of England is rigidly hierarchical in nature, with the current sitting royal at its head. He or she administers the church through the two archbishops at Canterbury and York, who in turn oversee the dioceses of bishops. In their turn, bishops oversee archdeacons, the heads of archdeaconries; archdeacons oversee deans in their deaneries; and deans oversee parish priests. Historically, chapelries were created within some parishes to provide for the worship needs of the parishioner when the parish church was not easily accessible.

In 1537, the Church of England mandated that parishes begin keeping church registers by the next year (1538), and these registers have continued to the present. Chapelries sometimes had the authority to perform baptisms, marriages, and burials, and so they often kept their own registers.

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing this Collection

Citing sources correctly makes it easier to refer back to information that has already been discovered; proper citations are therefore indispensable to keeping track of genealogical research. Following established citation formats also allows others to verify completed research by helping them find and examine records for themselves.

To be of use, citations must include information such as the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records, if available. The following examples demonstrate how to present this information for both this particular collection as well as individual records and images within the collection:

Collection Citation:

"England, Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire, Parish Registers, 1603-1910." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing Church of England. Archives Central Library, Manchester.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for England, Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire, Parish Registers, 1603-1910.

Image Citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for England, Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire, Parish Registers, 1603-1910.

How You Can Contribute

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.