Our Featured Meetings

Our meetings are usually held on the 1st Wednesday of the month. Whilst these meetings have been arranged, it may be that Covid-19 regulations could change at any time. Please check here before travelling to find out about times and safely requirements for the meeting.

Liverpool Cowkeepers - a family story: Dave Joy

2 June 2021 - online

"The mid-1800s witnessed a mass exodus from the Pennine Dales. Farmer and miners sought a new life – some in the New World, but others closer to home. Many former farmers became Liverpool Cowkeepers, selling milk to a rapidly expanding population. The cows kept in Liverpool back yards became part of the life and economy of the city and continued to serve its people for over a hundred years. The Cowkeepers overcame many challenges, and survived through hard work, good Dales business nous and the ability to adapt. Later, they became suburban milkmen – part of the best doorstep food delivery service in the world and a key part of the British way of life.

'Dave Joy draws on his own family history to tell the story of the lives and times of the Liverpool Cowkeepers. The Joy family came from the Upper Wharfedale valley in the beautiful Yorkshire dales and established cowhouses in the Liverpool districts of Wavertree and Garston. Dave’s first book, ‘My Family and Other Scousers – A Liverpool Boy’s Summer of Adventure in ’69’, is a memoir of his childhood days spent at Wellington Dairy, the family-owned, horse-drawn milk business in Garston, Liverpool. "His second book, ‘ Liverpool Cowkeepers’, documents the history of the many Dales families who, in the mid-1800s, left their rural existence and rode the wave of the Industrial Revolution to become city cowkeepers in the burgeoning metropolis that was Liverpool. Both books will be on sale at the end of the talk."

Jerome Caminada, the real Sherlock Holmes: Joseph O'Neill

7 July 2021 - online

"Jerome Caminada (1844 – March 1914) was a 19th-century police officer in Manchester who served with the police between 1868 and 1899, and has been called Manchester's Sherlock Holmes. In 1897 he became the city's first CID superintendent. His most famous case was the Manchester Cab Murder of 1889, in which he discovered and brought the initially unknown perpetrator to trial and conviction only three weeks after the murder. His personal story, he was born into one the city's most notorious slums and raised in the most abject poverty.

'Joseph O’Neill is a freelance writer and broadcaster whose work appears in all Britain and Ireland’s leading family history and genealogical magazines, including Irish Roots and Who Do You Think You Are? His work has appeared in a wide range of publications dealing with historical and religious issues. He was born and raised in Manchester where he worked for thirty-five years as a history teacher. A graduate of Warwick University, he holds an MA in political science. He is the author of six books, including The Manchester Martyrs (Mercier Press) which deals with a major incident in the development of Irish nationalism and Britain’s last public multiple execution and Crime City (Milo Press), the story of Manchester’s Victorian underworld, which was voted best social history book of 2008 by Family History Monthly. His latest books, The Secret History of the Victorian Lodging House and Manchester in the Great War, which deals with the profound impact of the war on the city’s civilian population."

The Cotton Famine - how badly was Bolton affected: Victoria Coyle

4 August 2021 - online

"Victoria Coyle has always had a passion for history, which led her to complete a BA Hons degree in History and English in 1996. A successful teaching career followed, and Victoria began researching genealogy and family history as a hobby. Victoria then embarked in 2015 upon the Genealogical, Paleographical and Heraldic Studies course with the University of Strathclyde, completing her Masters in 2018. She is a member of the Register of Qualified Genealogists, the Guild of One-Name Studies and undertakes genealogy work for clients. Her masters’ dissertation was a genealogical, socio-economic study of the Cotton Famine in Bolton and this is the basis for her talk.

"Some of the points discussed include:
How badly affected was Bolton as a whole?
Which townships of Bolton suffered the most and were only cotton workers affected?
What were views at the time?"

Researching Illegitimate Ancestors: Anna Watson

1 September 2021 - online

"Anna Watson is a retired professional archivist with over 30 years experience working at Lancashire Archives in Preston, specialising in probate and Church Court Records.

"The latter has led me to looking into how to find our illegitimate ancestors, a stumbling block for many family historians. My talk looks at legislation and sources beyond the filiation and maintenance order, hopefully offering new avenues for genealogists to explore. Image: Hogarth's print of the examination of a pregnant woman, c1729"

Researching using Education Records: David Tilsley

6 October 2021 - online

"David Tilsley is an archivist at Lancashire Archives, Lancashire County Council's archive service, where he have worked for 14 years.

"My talk will look at sources that tell us about the schooldays of our Lancashire ancestors in the nineteenth century. Who went to school? How did elementary education develop? Which sources contain information about individuals?"

Where we meet

Our Meeting Rooms

We hold our meetings at the Montserrat Room, [First Floor], Bolton Old Links Golf Club, Chorley Old Road, Bolton, BL1 5SU. There is ample seating and also room for a helpdesk, and a stationery (for sale) table. Coffee and tea is available and the bar is open. The room opens at 7-00pm for the helpdesk and meetings start at 7.30pm.

Our Venue

Bolton Old Links Golf Club has ample car parking facilities but access to the first floor is by stairs only. The venue is easy to get to by car and meetings are always popular and well attended.

About Our Meetings

Important Things to Know


At present all our physical meetings are cancelled. We are currently holding all meetings via Zoom, until such time that we can host them safely.


We may have to introduce a booking system when meetings resume, partly to ensure social distancing and to accord with any regulations that may be in force in the months to come.

Check first

As bookings are confirmed we shall provided dates for the meetings. Please check these pages and social media before travelling to ensure that the meetings are able to proceed as planned.

Bolton FHS meetings are usually held at 7.30pm on the first Wednesday of the month in the

Montserrat Room, [First Floor],
Bolton Old Links Golf Club,
Chorley Old Road,
Bolton, BL1 5SU

The Society is a friendly group who are happy to welcome visitors [entrance fee £3] and ALL members of the MLFHS.  Tea / Coffee [£1] is available from 7.00pm, as are drinks from the bar.

The talk starts at 7.30pm. There is a table of free information/advice leaflets and old genealogy magazines and facilities to purchase stationery and various publications, and we have a Help Desk before and after every talk.