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The Manchester Genealogist

Unfilmed 1851 census of Manchester, Salford And Districts
Report No. 2

Second progress report on the transcription work at the Public Record Office to retrieve entries from previously unfilmed 1851 census returns for Manchester and District.

Members who are waiting for the issue of the unfilmed 1851 census returns for several districts in and around Manchester will have read in previous editions of the Manchester Genealogist of the transcription work being undertaken by a small team of London-based members, at the Public Record Office in Chancery Lane. This work started in April 1991 and has continued ever since with m embers attending on Wednesdays and Thursdays, subject to supervision arrangements with PRO staff. The original returns are in very poor condition and, at first glance, are unlikely to reveal their secrets because of a brown wash covering all pages. Constant use of a magnifying glass, reliance on good natural light, good detective skills and lots of patience are the main characteristics of the work, which is very slow and time-consuming. The really bad returns take as much as 45 minutes per page to transcribe and there is no guarantee that all the original text can be deciphered. The returns for the unfilmed sections of Chorlton on Medlock (HO 107/2220) and Deansgate (HO 107/2227) are amongst the most badly damaged, and very few names have been recaptured from each piece. They have already been or are in the process of being published on microfiche by the Society.

Salford Greengate (HO 107/2223)
These returns are contained in 6 books (references 472/3 3A to 3F) and cover 44 Enumeration Districts with an original population of over 34,700 persons. Book 3A has already been filmed and indexed (Sumame index volume 11) but a single transcription was undertaken and has identified a further 500 entries. The results will be published as an addendum to volume 11 in the near future.

The area covered by all 6 books is that part of Salford which is bounded by the River Irwell on the west, north and east sides, and Chapel Street on the south side. The last of the 2,170 transcription sheets for these areas were passed up to Clayton House in August 1993. Unfortunately, due to delays in computer programming and inputting problems these returns have only recently been made ready for microfiche production and it is hoped that they will be available early next year. We estimate that over 60% of the original entries have been recaptured.

Hulme (HO 107/2221)
Three books holding the returns for 29 Enumeration Districts with over 20,000 persons listed on 1,342 pages have recently been completed and are currently being computer inputted by volunteers at Manchester. They should be available on microfiche in 1996.

Details of each book are as follows:-

Book EDs covered Total population Recaptured %
4E 2FF to 200 7602 2936 39%
4F 2PP to 2WW 5829 4857 83%
4G 2XX to 2AI 7367 4635 63%

The overall recapture rate is 60% with the entries for over 12,400 persons now revealed for the first time for 140 years.

Tile principal streets in each book are as follows:-

Book 4E: Boundary Lane, Boundary Stree4 Chapman St, Embden St, Naylor St, Preston St, Renshaw St, Ruby St, Stretford Rd, Upper Duke St, Upper Jackson St, Upper Medlock St, Upper Willmott St, Vine St, Wude St.
Book 4F: Boston St, Chapman St, Chester Rd, City Rd, Duke St, Embden St, Fernley St, George St, Gt Jackson St, Harris St, Holt St, Medlock St, Owen St, Preston St, River St, Upper Moss Lane, Warwick St, Welcomb St.
Book 4G: Chester St, Clarendon St, Devonshire St, Duke S4 George St, Gt Jackson St, Leaf St, Medlock St, Newcastle St, Stott St, Stretford Rd, Welcomb St.

Oldham - below - Town (HO 107/2240)
The returns for nine Enumeration Districts situated on the north-west side of the town centre have been transcribed and are now awaiting a final check against the originals. The area had an original population of 5,700 and was bounded by Featherstall Road in the west and north, Royton Street in the east and Manchester Street in the south. The 370 transcription sheets will be sent to Manchester for inputting during August.

Ashton under Lyne (HO 107/2233)
The team has almost completed the transcription work for the following areas:

Book 2A: Knott Lanes - the area stretching from Hey and Lees in the north, the Failsworth boundary in the west, Mossley in the east and the northern boundary of Ashton Town in the south.
Book 2B: Ashton Town - the area bounded by Mill Lane in the northeast, Stamford Street and Stockport Rd in the northwest and the River Tame in the south.
Book 2C: Ashton Town - from the town's boundary in the north Arlington Street and Cricket's Lane in the east, Stamford Street in the south and Wrighton Street and Boston Street in the west.

The above books cover 21 enumeration districts with an original population of 19,260 persons on 1,120 pages. We estimate that over 14,500 win be recaptured for use by researchers.

Salford Regent Road (HO 10712224)
We have transcribed the returns for the Regent Road Barracks (51 pages) and have passed them to Manchester for future publication. The remainder of this district, which is contained in 665 pages in two books, will be transcribed next, with an estimated completion date of March 1996.

Other returns
The returns for the following districts are awaiting transcription work, which will commence sometime next year. HO 107/2222, Salford Pendleton and Pendlebury (3 books). HO 107/2230, Manchester St George's (2 books). HO 107,2233 Great and Little Heaton, Harpurhey and Prestwich (1 book).

One of the Salford books covering Pendleton is very badly damaged and the recapture rate will be fairly low.

Enhancement techniques
We have raised with the PRO authorities the possibility of using computerised scanning techniques to read the badly faded documents. This technique was illustrated very clearly in an article which appeared in the December (1993) edition of the journal and which explained the successful use of the process to enhance several million documents in Spain in 1983. We have been advised that the Spanish the PRO are exploring modem developments. We are actively discussing the way forward so that the remaining returns may be subjected to these techniques and the results made available to the public as soon as possible. It would also make a change from peering through the gloom and using a magnifying glass for hours on end!

Ray Hulley (1823) Project Co-ordinator


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