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The Manchester Genealogist

Unfilmed 1851 census of Manchester, Salford And Districts
Report No. 7

Unfilmed census of Manchester & district – report No. 7

Since my last report published in April 2003, the team of volunteers (now joined by Tony Edmondson of High Wycombe) at the National Archives (formerly the Public Record Office) at Kew have continued to transcribe the water-damaged parts of the above census returns. This report summarises our work since the last report.

Hulme (HO 107/2221)

We have now completed the original task set for us in 1991 with the re-check of the Hulme returns using ultra-violet (UV) and fluorescent light. The following results have been achieved:

Table 1 – Hulme unfilmed census 1851

Book Ref
Total Population
Irish born
100% recovered
All except birth town
Unreadable
Book 4E
7601
274
6007
231
1363
Book 4F
5829
380
5697
32
100
Book 4G
7367
377
6592
96
679
Total
20797
1031
18296
359
2142
 
100%
 
88%
2%
10%
1st check
20798
na
12428
1050
7320
 
100%
 
60%
5%
35%
Change
-1
na
+5868
-691
-5178
 
 
 
+28%
-3%
-25%

This shows an additional 5,868 (28%) entries recovered compared with the original transcription work at Chancery Lane. The Society has recently published the recovered entries on a CD (ref 1639). The CD contains a first and surname index, a location index and all the recovered entries. The complete picture of all our work since we started in April 1991 shows the following results:

Table 2 – Summary of Results

Area
Total population
Unfilmed or unreadable
%age
Recovered Population
%age of unfilmed
   
SALFORD  
Pendleton & Pendlebury
16886
16886
100
8805
52
Greengate
35216
35216
100
30055
85
Regent Road
28207
11097
39
10902
98
 
 
 
 
 
   
Total
80309
63199
77
49762
79
  
MANCHESTER  
Hulme
54425
20798
38
18655
88
Ardwick township
15793
15793
100
11805
75
Chorlton on Medlock #
35558
35558
100
15020
42
St George's
41073
11780
29
10433
89
# Includes 10,021 missing returns 
Total
146849
83929
57
55913
67
 
OTHER AREAS  
Blackley and Prestwich
8987
8987
100
8226
92
Ashton under Lyne #
35835
18801
53
18092
96
Oldham-below-town
28732
5706
20
5642
99
# Includes 4,737 missing returns 
Total
73554
33494
46
31960
95
  
Overall Total
300,712
180,622
60%
137,635
76%

It will be seen from the above table that in districts containing over 300,000 entries, 60% (180,000) have been adversely affected by water damage. Of this 60%, 137,000 entries (76%) have been recovered.

Current work

During the course of the above work, it had been brought to my attention by several members that some other sub-districts in the Manchester area had suffered the same fate to their census returns and there were several damaged or unreadable pages in these districts. An inspection of the microfilms for Deansgate (HO 107/2227) and Didsbury, Rusholme, Gorton and Openshaw (HO 1072219) showed that many pages required transcribing. Also, the London Road returns (HO 107/2228) although checked with a crude form of UV light in the late 1980s had many gaps of missing returns on the published microfiche. Consequently it was decided to transcribe the damaged parts of these returns in order to complete the picture and have a good set of census returns to help family historians trace their missing ancestors in the Manchester area.

Deansgate (HO 107/2227)

This sub-district has been microfilmed and is available for public consultation and research in the normal locations. The first 414 folios of the returns are quite readable on the film and will not be transcribed. However, a check of the film held in many libraries, including the Family Record Centre in London and those issued by the Latter Day Saints, shows that many of the remaining folios are either badly damaged and indecipherable or completely missing from the film. On the other hand, the film held by the Society at Clayton House is an earlier version than the ones above and is relatively readable for much of its contents. The mystery is compounded by each version having different folio numbers for the latter part of the film.

I have concluded that the present situation regarding these returns has been brought about by a decision taken circa 1971 to protect and conserve some of the originals. This was done by adding a thin tissue lamination to each side of the paper which considerably strengthened the paper and made handling easier. Unfortunately this process made reading the text impossible under normal conditions and very difficult under UV and fluorescent lighting! Concurrently with the lamination, the returns were sorted for quality, renumbered and re-filmed. Hence we now get the situation where some films (including those sold by commercial organisations) show large gaps and the one at Clayton House is more complete, although 8 EDs are unfilmed. Our transcription work aims to provide a basis for a complete set of returns starting at folio 415 recovered from the damaged originals.

We have completed Enumeration Districts (EDs) 16 to 25 and have passed them to Clayton House for computer inputting prior to CD preparation and publication. The following results have been achieved for these EDs:-

Table 3 – Deansgate damaged census 1851

Book ref
Total population
Irish born
100% recovered
All except birth town
Unreadable
1B
8577
996
7905
124
548
 
100%
 
92%
2%
6%

The recovery rate of 92% has been achieved by adopting a new practice in these returns. Where the originals are indecipherable, the Conservation Department of the National Archives has agreed to remove the laminations described above from these returns to facilitate easier transcription of the entries. 7 of the 10 EDs in this section were either partly or fully delaminated to aid transcription. In this way, we have recovered a further 30% of text compared with the results before de-lamination.

We have almost finished the last section – Book 1C – and will pass the results to Manchester for computer inputting shortly. The results are currently running at a 96% recovery rate. Some of the EDs in this part were exceptionally easy to transcribe for a change! Indeed, instead of undertaking a complete transcription of each page, we were allowed to photocopy the originals and amend the photocopy where the odd word was indecipherable. This process was applied to 4 of the 12 EDs with 3,800 entries affected.

For the last 3 EDs covering 2,300 persons we have adopted another approach to transcription work. Because the film at Clayton House is more readable than some parts of the originals (due to the lamination) we shall transcribe from the film and supplement the results by delaminating the unreadable parts so that the originals may be deciphered. The condition of these EDs may have a slightly adverse effect on the overall recovery rate.

London Road (HO 107/2228)

We shall transcribe this district after the Deansgate work. The sub-district has been part-filmed and was surname-indexed in 1986 (vol.3). The 20 unfilmed EDs were located in two areas – the first was bounded on the northwest by Portland Street; on the northeast and east by Piccadilly and London Road, Ashton, Chadwick, Cross, Travis, Fairfield and Mayfield Streets; on the south by the River Medlock; and on the southwest by David Street and Brook Street. The second unfilmed area comprised a small number of streets off the southwest side of Great Ancoats Street including Chapel, Long, Heyrod, Wesley, Hardman, Watson, Travis, Great Ancoats (part), Norton and Baker Streets. These two areas housed approximately 16,000 persons.

The returns were transcribed in 1989 using a crude form of UV light which recovered approximately 500 entries. We hope recover the majority of the entries using modern equipment and our experience in the work. Hopefully the transcription of 850 pages will be completed by early December this year.

Didsbury, Rusholme, Gorton and Openshaw (HO 1072219)

These townships are grouped together with others and were previously surnamed indexed as Didsbury and Ardwick sub-districts and the results published in volume 9. I have analysed the film for this district and have concluded that the first 200 folios covering the returns for Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Withington, Didsbury, Burnage and Levenshulme are quite readable so do not require transcribing. The remainder of the piece number comprises returns for Rusholme, Gorton, Openshaw and the Manchester Borough Gaol. The condition of the Rusholme returns are varied – some readable, others not. The Gorton and Openshaw returns have the last 6 -7 lines on each page missing so the recovery rate won’t be high. There are approximately 620 pages to transcribe and I estimate that it will take us until the end of May 2005 to finish them.

This will complete all transcription work at Kew on this project but the job of computer inputting, checking, surname/location index and CD preparation will still need to be done by the volunteers in Manchester. We always welcome new volunteers, either at Kew or Manchester, so why not contact either myself for the Kew work or Frances de Courcy at Clayton House for the Manchester duties. You will find it most rewarding!

 

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