Oldham & District : Research


A quantity of the Branch's research contributions to the website can be found in the 'Society Members' Only' pages. Under the 'Documents' link, you will find a list of the research work undertaken by Oldham Volunteers, and only available to Society Members.

Our Branch research activities can include anything and everything that we can discover about our ancestors, their lives and their stories .
The articles under the 'Local Interest' link and that of the 'Databases' are viewable by all visitors to the website.
There is great similarity between the contents of both, and also with that of the 'About/Ancestry & Local History' page.

Our Research

Over the years our Oldham members have contributed to many of the society’s transcription and research projects. In the last few years there have been a number of centenaries and bicentenaries which had particular importance for Oldham & District. They included the centenary of the 'Women's Right to Vote' movement, which included local women. The Bicentenary of Peterloo was important to us ... the inquest on the death of John Lees, as a result of the yeomanry action, became of national importance.

Rowbottom, Shaw & Butterworth

Oldham is fortunate to have amongst its famous names (as regards local history) William Rowbottom who wrote a diary of daily happening in Oldham, from 1787 - 1830; Giles Shaw who, in 1888, wrote 'Local Notes & Gleanings - Oldham and Neighbourhood in Bygone Times', in 3 volumes; and last, but certainly not least, the various publications by Butterworth father and son, James & Edwin. Edwin Butterworth's 'Reports', from the early and mid 19th century, are particularly useful as they pre-date the first issues of the local newspapers.

Researching in Oldham

The Local Studies & Archives Library, open 6 days a week, is the 'go-to' place for everything about Oldham. It has a close association with our own society and is happy to promote Family History research. A visitor will find helpful staff to point them in the right direction, guiding their research. Computers are available, free of charge, to use Family History websites, such as 'Ancestry' and 'Find My Past. They can also provide access to the many digitised archives, for example the thousands of local photographs. The local newspapers can be viewed on the film-readers. Most of the many and varied historical source materials are archived on-site and can be viewed very quickly, when requested. However, some items are stored off-site, and need to be requested in advance. The Local Studies also offers a considerable library of old and modern publications, maps etc., which can be browsed at will by the the visitor.

Help and Advice

At the Manchester Central Library we have exclusive use of a suite of computers each weekday between 10.30am and 3.30am (holidays and pandemics excluded). Our experienced staff are happy to help with all kinds of family and local history questions. Our Virtual Helpdesk is also open to everyone who cannot access the Library.

Since 1964 our flagship quarterly journal, 'The Manchester Genealogist' has recorded and printed members' research articles, making them available to other members. The archived copies are a valuable resource and are fully indexed online.

Every member of the Society receives a copy of the 'The Manchester Genealogist', to which publication each branch of the society contributes on a regular basis.


We study and research the past but we use the best of modern technology to do this. Our new website is making it easier than ever to search over 2.7 million records and is opening a new chapter of making more information accessible to members and non-members. Follow our Blog where we will introduce new additions to our collections.


Our partnership with Archives+ at the Manchester Central Library has helped us to scan, transcribe, index and make available more records than ever. We also work with many their organisations to save or open up archives that have previously been difficult to access. Have a look at our current list of Partners and the archives being transcribed.

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Upcoming Events in Oldham

Working Class Suffragette - The Life of Annie Kenney

2.00pm 13 Feb 2021

A talk by Carol Talbot on the life and times of Annie Kenney


Just Taken your DNA test with Ancestry

2.00pm 9 Jan 2021

How do you work through your Ancestry DNA test results?


Failsworth and Woodhouses War Comforts Society in WW1

2.00pm 12 Dec 2020

An online talk, given on Zoom, by Sheila Goodyear.