A to Z of services          A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V W Y Z

Family History Guide

Family History at Tameside Local Studies and Archives Unit

Ashton-under-Lyne, Audenshaw, Denton, Droylsden, Dukinfield, Hyde, Longdendale, Mossley, Stalybridge

See our other pages:

Tracing Your Family TreeOne of our Family History Advice Sessions

Start at home: collect names and dates from older family members, certificates, papers, etc., and begin by checking this information.

If you need help starting your family history or have got stuck, come and get expert advice at our Family History Advice Sessions. They are run by volunteers from the Dukinfield Branch of the Cheshire Family History Society, 2 - 4 pm 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month.

One-to-one help and advice with online sources is also provided in the Local Studies and Archives Centre by the Family History Advice team of volunteers.

Wednesday, Thursday 10-1pm & Saturday 10 am - 12pm.

Telephone: 0161 342 4242 to book a free session.

Births, Marriages and Deaths after 1 July 1837

Births, marriages and deaths after 1837 were recorded and indexes, known as the GRO indexes, were compiled from quarterly returns from local register offices. These indexes are available on microfiche in many libraries and record offices, but are usually accessed through Ancestry.com or, for our area, through Cheshire BMD.

Cheshire BMD

The best source for a local search is the Cheshire BMD website which can be accessed on-line at Cheshire BMD Link to External Website. Pioneered by the Family History Society of Cheshire this is the most accurate source because the index entries are checked against the original entries in the registers. These local indexes also include significantly more information than the national ones, helping to avoid applying for the wrong certificates. Although known as Cheshire BMD it also covers the Lancashire parts of Tameside.

GRO Indexes

There are other ways of searching the General Register Office index.

Tameside Local Studies & Archives Centre has a copy of the index for 1837-1997 (on microfiche only).

The index is a list of all the births deaths and marriages in England and Wales, but it does not include all the details.

Greater Manchester County Records Office also has indexes for overseas births, marriages and deaths, including World War 1 and 2 deaths; civil partnerships for 2005-7; adopted children for 1927 - 2007.

Microfiche of the indexes from 1900 to 1930 can be consulted here at the Local Studies & Archives Centre.


Birth Certificate of Ben Wrigley: Champion Pigeon Fancier. Born 1872, died 1934Once you have found the relevant entries in the indexes you need to get copies of the birth, marriage or death certificates for additional information. You can apply to the local Registry Office for Certificates - copies are available from Dukinfield Town Hall for what is now the Tameside area. Certificates for the whole of England and Wales can be accessed through the General Register Office in Southport (postal, telephone and email enquiries only).


Postal Address 56 Marshall Street, New Cross, Manchester, M4 5FU
Telephone Number 0161 832 5284 Email Address archiveslocalstudies@manchester.gov.uk Website: Greater Manchester County Records Office Webpage Link to External Website

Tameside District Register Office

Postal Address The Register Office, Town Hall, King Street, Dukinfield, SK16 4LA
Telephone Number 0161 342 5032 Fax Number 0161 342 5036 Send Electronic Message Send Tameside Registrars a Message

The General Register Office

Postal AddressPO Box 2, Southport, Merseyside. PR8 2JD Telephone Number 0300 123 1837

Baptisms, Marriages and Burials

Researchers using microfim readers at Tameside Local Studies and Archives. Most church records are held on microfilm.Before 1837 births, marriages and deaths were not recorded systematically – only records of baptisms, marriages and burials are likely to survive.

Please remember that until 1752, the new year started in March, so January 1721 would be after April 1721, for example. In 1751, it was decided that January 1st would start the new year thereafter. Records of baptisms, marriages and burials before 1837 are held in parish registers kept by Church of England clergy or in nonconformist and Roman Catholic registers.

Although officially kept from 1538, there are many gaps in parish registers until 1813 when separate, printed volumes were introduced for baptisms, marriages and burials. The Church of England, as the Established Church, retained a role in recording baptisms, marriages and burials even after the growth of other denominations. Generally Nonconformist registers become numerous only after 1780 and Roman Catholic registers for the Tameside area date from the 1820s. From 1753 Hardwicke’s Marriage Act tightened up the rules about marriages and until 1837 only Church of England, Jewish and Quaker marriages were valid (as Scotland was outside the scope of the Act this led to Gretna Green becoming a centre for more “irregular” marriages).

See our separate leaflet for a list of the baptism, marriage and burial registers (church records) held at the Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre.

International Genealogical Index (IGI)

This is an index to pre 1837 baptisms, marriages and some burials compiled on microfilm by the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons). It is available at www.familysearch.org Link to External Website and indexes, arranged by surname, for England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland (plus Canada and the Pacific Islands) are available here on microfiche. Although extremely useful, the index is not comprehensive, only about a third of churches have been filmed. It is always worth comparing the entries with the originals. We also have a CD-ROM for the whole of the British Isles covering 1538-1888.


Chapel Hill Dukinfield including the War Memorial , Old Chapel and the Astley ArmsSome were attached to churches, others to municipal burial grounds. All enquiries about burials in Tameside municipal cemeteries should be directed to the address below. Dukinfield Cemetery and Crematorium opened in 1866.

Dukinfield Cemetery and Crematorium

Postal AddressSenior Registrar, Hall Green Road, Dukinfield SK16 4EP
Telephone Number0161 330 1901
Send Electronic Message Send a Message to Bereavement Services

For information including contact details about all Tameside cemeteries and how to search the Burial Records, go to burial records online.

Council cemeteries are situated at:

Ashton (Hurst)
Kings Road
Opened 1891

Cemetery Road
Opened 1905

Cemetery Road
Opened 1895

Manor Road
Opened 1894

Hall Green Road
Opened 1866

Stockport Road
Opened 1894

Cemetery Road
Opened 1877

War Hill
Opened 1861

Grave Records

Many church graveyards were cleared in the 1970s and 1980s. See our church records pages of monumental inscriptions held here.

Coroners Records

For information regarding Coroners records for Tameside contact Greater Manchester County Record Office. Our local newspapers often contain reports of Coroners courts.

Census Returns

Extract from 1861 census enumerators book (RG10/2995/p10 for Dukinfield showing Samuel Laycock (local dialect poet) and his family.A census was taken every ten years from 1801, but lists only survive from 1841 (though we have a copy of a list of names for Ashton Parish compiled in 1811, the original is at the Lancashire Record Office, PR2583).

Information is only made available when the census returns are over 100 years old so the last full census to be available is 1911. Census returns from 1841 – 1911 can be accessed online at Ancestry.com Link to External Website, Find My Past Link to External Website and 1911census.co.uk Link to External Website.

The online versions have all been transcribed and so errors can occur. Sometimes it is useful to consult the original documents on microfilm to check a transcript or look for a person who does not appear in the online version because of mistranscription.

We have microfilmed copies of returns for the Tameside Metropolitan Borough area for:

  • 1841, Street index - We also have Stockport parish – Stockport, Torkington, Bramhall, Bredbury, Brinnington, and Disley Stanley but they are not indexed. Limited information; no place of birth or family relationships
  • 1851, Street and surname index. Also surname indexes for parts of Manchester and Stockport
  • 1861, Street and Surname index - transcript for Denton and Haughton only. Surname index for part of Ashton only
  • 1871, Street and Surname index for Ashton (not Hurst area), Audenshaw, Droylsden/Clayton, Broadbottom, Dukinfield, Godley, Hattersley, Hollingworth, Matley, Newton, Stalybridge, Staley and Tintwistle.
  • 1881, Street and Surname index for the whole of England (compiled by the Latter Day Saints)
  • 1891, Street and Surname indexes for Denton & Haughton; parts of Ashton, Dukinfield, Longdendale, Mossley and Stalybridge; most of Hyde, Newton (Flowery Field).
  • 1901, Street index.
  • 1911, Electronic format searchable page by page in enumeration districts, we are in the process of compiling a basic street index.

Please note: apart from 1881 all the surname indexes were compiled by volunteers

Trade Directories

For ancestors who were in business - the collection here dates from 1772, though the geographical coverage and content vary and gaps exist. Used in conjunction with census returns, they may be particularly helpful.

Probate Records

(Wills, inventories, letters of administration)

Before 1858 wills were proved by the Church of England so Cheshire wills are held at the Cheshire Record Office and Lancashire wills at the Lancashire Record Office. An online index of Cheshire wills can be consulted at Cheshire Records Office.

At Tameside we do not hold any actual wills, but we have the printed indexes to wills held at the Lancashire and Cheshire Record Offices. Both Lancashire and Cheshire wills were proved at Chester, although they have now been separated. We have indexes (published by Record Society of Lancashire and Cheshire) of all wills proved at Chester up to 1837. Both Record Offices have their own indexes for the period 1837-1858. We also have indexes (again published by the Record Society) of additional Lancashire wills proved at Richmond which cover the period up to 1858.

Probate Records Offices

Cheshire Record Office

Duke Street, Chester, CH1 1RL
Telephone Number 01244 972574 Email Address recordoffice@cheshiresharedservices.gov.uk
Website: Cheshire Record Office Website Link to External Website

The Cheshire Record Office now has an online database of Cheshire testators covering 1492-1940.

Lancashire Record Office

Bow Lane, Preston, PR1 2RE
Telephone Number 01772 533039 Email Address Email contact form on web site.
Website: Lancashire Record Office Website Link to External Website

After 1858

Wills were proved at district civil courts and a national yearly index compiled and printed. The Manchester set of indexes is transferred to the GMCRO after fifty years.

Copies of the wills themselves are available from:

Manchester District Probate Registry

Manchester Civil Justice Centre, 1 Bridge Street West, PO Box 4240, Manchester. M60 1WJ. Telephone Number0161 240 5700

Internet & CD-ROMS

Visitors at Tameside Local Studies and Archives using pcs for family history researchWe have public access to the internet (for family and local history research only).

We have free access to Ancestry.com Link to External Website Find My Past Link to External Website on six PCs in our search room and a collection of local and family History CD-ROMs.

A range of local and family history CD-ROMs for family and local history are available in the Local Studies and Archives Centre.

To access our website go to www.tameside.gov.uk/history.


The Local Studies and Archives Centre holds the original documents and manuscripts relating to the history of the Tameside area. Some of those records which are most useful for family history are described in our webpage: Family History.


Ashton was a centre for newspaper publishing from the 1850s, producing local papers and some regional titles such as the Cotton Factory Times.

Microfilmed copies of most local newspapers from the mid-nineteenth century to date are available here. Please telephone to book a reader in advance.

Electoral Registers

Before 1918, the right to vote was not universal, but based on property-owning qualifications. However, voters lists may prove useful for more recent searches, and our collection for Tameside extends from 1841 to the present day but is incomplete. Rate books are also available.

See our pages Family History / archives and Absent Voters List for more information.

Education Records

Park Bridge school photograph c. 1940We have some school records for this area, but records are generally not deposited until a school closes. School records are subject to a thirty-year closure period.

Manchester Regiment

Those with ancestors in the Manchester Regiment may find this collection disappointing, as few records mention individual soldiers. Generally, the most information is on the 1st and 2nd Battalions and covers the period of the two World Wars in most depth. Reference is more likely to be made to casualties than survivors.

See our pages Family History using Military Sources for further details of the collection and Archives for Family History for more information on other sources.

Family History Societies

For further advice, you may find it useful to contact either:

The Tameside Group of the Family History Society of Cheshire

(actually covers the whole of Tameside).
Contact: Gay Oliver (Group Leader)
Telephone Number 0161 338 5241 Email Address dukinfield@fhsc.org.uk Website: www.fhsc.org.uk Link to External Website

The Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society

Postal AddressClayton House, 59 Piccadilly, Manchester, M1 2AQ
Telephone Number 0161 236-9750 Website: www.mlfhs.org.uk Link to External Website

The North Cheshire Family History Society

Website: www.ncfhs.org.uk Link to External Website

Tameside Local and Family History

Website: www.tamesidefamilyhistory.co.uk Link to External Website

We have newsletters for Family History Societies which cover Tameside.

Guides and Publications Available in the Library

A selection of publications for sale at Tameside Local Studies and ArchivesVarious publications can be found on the shelves at L921, which may give you more ideas and help. Most of these are for reference only. The lending library has helpful publications at 929.1.

The Local Studies and Archives Centre also holds a comprehensive collection of material on the local history of the area which helps us build up a picture of how our ancestors lived - books, pamphlets, photographs (go to our on-line photo archive), engravings, maps, old newspapers and journals, oral history interviews and sound recordings all tell us about life in the past.

Staff at the library are on hand for enquiries and we will try to help with any problem. For those unable to do their own research, we hold a list of names and addresses of researchers who offer a chargeable service. See also www.tameside.gov.uk/familyhistory/centre Family History Advice.

General Information

Advance booking is necessary for microfilm-readers. Please note that archives will not be produced within thirty minutes of closing time and that all archives must be returned fifteen minutes before closing time.

Important: Please include your name and postal address when you send us a message as this will help us provide a full response to your enquiry.

Contact Information
Send us a Message Send us a Message
Contact by Post

Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre
Central Library
Old Street
Contact by Telephone
0161 342 4242
Contact by Fax
0161 342 4245

Page last updated: 27 November 2015