The Manchester Genealogist
1851 census of Manchester, Salford And Districts
Transcription Work at the Public Record
Report No. 1
This work has been undertaken by a small group of
volunteers since April 1991, and many members will wish to know
about the progress of this important project.
Many hundreds of returns covering parts of the following
districts in and around Manchester were severely damaged by floodwater
many years ago, and consequently were deemed unsuitable for microfilming
or issue to the public. Many members have spent hours peering through
the gloom of those returns that have been filmed; those being worked
on at the present time are in a much worse condition with many parts
completely unreadable. The districts involved are as follows:
||Chorlton on Medlock
||Pendleton & Pendlebury
||Ashton under Lyne
Volunteers commenced work in April 1991, concentrating
on the returns for Chorlton on Medlock and Greengate. For the majority
of returns, two transcriptions are done and crosschecked by a third
person. An amended copy is then re-checked against the originals
to produce a final version. It was soon apparent that the task would
be extremely onerous, with constant use of a magnifying glass to
read those entries that were just about visible. Some were better
than others; the Greengate one produced on average a 75-80% recapture
rate. Those for Chorlton produced only 127 names from 350 pages
- less than 2%. In an average :3 hour session, approximately 7 to
10 pages of returns are transcribed by each volunteer. Up to the
end of January 1993, over 2,500 hours have been spent on this work.
Chorlton on Medlock Returns
350 pages from folios 1107 to 1298 of HO 107/2220
have been transcribed. The area covered extends in the east to Oxford
street, in the west to Upper Wilmott Street, in the north to Chester
Street and in the south to Devonshire Street and Lower Chatham Street,
as well as all other streets within these boundaries. This work
has been extremely difficult due to the returns being very faint
and almost unreadable. 127 names have been identified, but other
details such as addresses, age and place of birth are unlikely to
be available. It is hoped to publish a list of names found in the
The returns for some of the Enumeration Districts
for Greengate have been microfilmed and are covered in Volume 11
of the Surname Index (published in 1985), but it was decided to
carry out one full transcription of these returns in order to identify
those entries unreadable on the microfilm. This exercise has produced
a further 320 names in addition to those shown on the surname index.
These will be included in the next edition of volume 11.
We have now completed all transcription work for
the area which is bounded by the River Irwell to the north, west
and east and Chapel Street to the south. Streets in this area include:
Adelphi Street, Bury Street, Cannon Street, Cleminson
Gravel Lane, Greengate, King Street, Peru Street, Ravald Street,
St Stephen's Street, plus all other streets, courts, buildings
etc within the boundaries mentioned.
The 2,185 transcription sheets contained an original
population of 34,726 people, of which we have recaptured approximately
26,000. In a minority of cases the returns are comparatively clear,
with a 100% recapture rate. But the majority of originals are badly
damaged at the top of the sheet and only legible for the last few
entries at the bottom.
The first 1,400 of the transcription sheets are now
being input into a computer database. In turn this material will
be published as a full transcript (similar to the original return
sheets). We hope to have the first volume ready for -publication
towards the end of the year. The remaining sheets are being crosschecked
and will be sent for inputting in April.
800 pages of returns for the Holy Trinity Ecclesiastical
District of Hulme accounted for over 10,700 people on census night.
The returns covered the area bounded by the River Medlock in the
north; Medlock Street, Upper Wilmott Street, Boundary Lane, Ruby
Street, in the east; Upper Jackson Street and Great Jackson Street
in the west. Streets within these boundaries include:
Chester Street, Clarendon Street, Duke Street, George
Leaf Street, River Street, Silk Street, Stretford Road, Upper
Duke Street, Welcomb Street, plus all other streets, courts,
buildings etc in the above area
700 pages have already been transcribed once, and
the remainder should be ready for computer inputting by April. Unfortunately
the quality of these returns is extremely poor, with all Hulme returns
being covered in a grey mist making transcription work exceedingly
tedious mid very slow. In some cases, the returns are so bad that
is just not worth spending time on a second transcription. We shall
be lucky to find much more than 30% of the population of the district,
and there is no guarantee that complete 'across-the-line' entries
will be available.
Our next batches of returns for transcription work
will be those 392 pages covering the unfilmed parts of Deansgate
(HO 107/2227). These consist of (renumbered) folios 414b to 566d
and 846 to 890. Both sections are in St Matthews Ecclesiastical
District and the missing sections from Volume 6 of the Surname Index.
We shall follow this by transcribing HO 107/2240 Oldham-below-Town
where approximately 300 returns need transcribing. These are in
a very poor condition and we shall be lucky to recapture more than
30% of the entries shown. This will take us well into the autumn
and at our present rate of strike it will be at least another two
years before we shall have finished all the work.
In conclusion may I ask that if any members wish
to help in this vital task, will they contact me on 0442 68395 to
discuss their possible involvement. We are seeking those who can
spare preferably three or four days each month - continuity is essential
- either on a Wednesday or a Thursday. The work has to be done at
the Public Record Office in Central London and the Society will
pay modest travelling expenses to those who volunteer.
* Ray Hulley, 1851 Census Project Co-ordinator.
It must be stressed that the material being worked
on by the PRO team is unavailable for general release to the
public. Searches of the original returns are not allowed by
the PRO due to their delicate and fragile nature. However, Ray Hulley
is prepared to do a limited search of the areas the team has covered
so far (provided a name and address is known) for a £5 donation
to Society funds.
When the transcription work is completed, all
material found will be made available in the Library at Clayton
House, the PRO, and the Local Studies Unit at Manchester Central
Library, as a full transcript.
* John Coupe, M&LFHS Projects Co-ordinator.
Copyright © 2011-2021 Ray Hulley. All rights reserved.