Frequently Asked Questions

I am an absolute beginner to researching UK family history - where do I start?
What area does the Society cover?
Do you have an "exchange membership" arrangement with other societies?
How is the Society managed?
Do you undertake research for members?
Do you undertake research for payment?
Will you answer research enquiries from non-members?
When does my subscription expire?
What do I have to do to join a Branch
Will my name, address and e-mail details end up on mailing lists?
I am changing my e-mail address - who do I tell?
What can I do to help the Society?

 

I am an absolute beginner to researching UK family history - where do I start?

The Society welcomes family historians at every level from the outright beginner to the most experienced researcher. If you are just starting out, we recommend that you begin by reading a simple introductory book. George Pelling's "Beginning Your Family History" is a concise and inexpensive book published by the Federation of Family History Societies and which is available from our Bookshop. The Society also runs a series of beginners' lectures each year monthly at Manchester Central LIbrary on Saturday mornings.. For some brief notes on how to begin your research CLICK HERE.

What area does the Society cover?

We focus on the ancient "Hundred of Salford" which covers primarily the Greater Manchester area including Oldham and Bolton but our resources are relevant to the whole county of Lancashire and many of our library sources are relevant to other counties and to the UK as a whole. Because of the activities of our Anglo-Scottish and Irish Ancestry Branches we also have a substantial amount of material relevant to research in Scotland and Ireland.

Do you have an "exchange membership" arrangement with other societies?

No.

How is the Society managed?

The Society is a charity registered under UK charity law and governed by an Executive Committee of Trustees which meets (usually) every two months. The Officers (Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary) and members are elected at the Annual General Meeting which is held in May. Any member is eligible to stand for Council membership and volunteers will be welcomed. Our Constitution helps to ensure that there is regular change in Council membership.

Do you undertake research for members?

Our library researcher is able to undertake a limited amount of research. Those wishing to take advantage of this should provide all available information to assist our researcher. Please note that research will be limited to specific tasks (eg "could you help me find the marriage of..."). We are not able to provide "open ended" tracing of an ancestral line. Our Oldham, Bolton, Anglo Scottish and Irish Ancestry Branches are also able to reply to simple research enquiries.

Do you undertake research for payment?

No. The Society does not have the resources to offer such a service. For those requiring locally based research, we recommend that a local researcher should be employed. The Society carries advertisements for several researchers For a list of researchers CLICK HERE.

Will you answer research enquiries from non-members?

You must recognise that the Society is run primarily for its members. We do not exclude enquiries from non-members but it must be appreciated that the time we can spend on enquiries is necessarily limited. We are happy to answer general enquiries concerning research in the Manchester area but cannot undertake to search for information beyond a very limited level. We ask those who are unfamiliar with UK records and research to refer to the notes on how to begin research before contacting us with requests for information.

When does my subscription expire?

The Society believes that a year's subscription should deliver a year's membership! We do not, therefore, have a fixed membership year which would inevitably short-change those who joined during the year. For administrative reasons, membership becomes nominally renewable at the beginning of the month in which membership begins but in practical terms members will continue to have access to Society services up to the anniversary of the date on which they join. All members will receive a full four copies of The Manchester Genealogist during each year of their membership. A new member will receive the first of these four issues with the new member "Fact Pack".

Renewal reminders are published in the Manchester Genealogist for all renewals falling due within three months following publication. A colour coding system is used. If the colour of the renewal notice is the same as the colour of  the stripe on your membership card then your renewal will be due within three months. Your renewal date is also printed on each Manchester Genealogist mailing label. If we do not receive a renewal request, you will be contacted by e-mail or paper mail with a single reminder within about a month after renewal was due. If membership is not renewed within three months of expiry, it is considered to have lapsed and your access to services such as the online forum and membership area removed.

Members with UK bank accounts are encouraged to set up a bank standing order for their subscriptions. Please ask the administration office for a form. If a member has established a standing order, this will be indicated on the mailing label for each Manchester Genealogist.

What do I have to do to join a Branch

Nothing! Membership of the Society includes membership of any or all of the Branches at no additional cost. You may attend any Branch meetings and take advantage of any Branch services offered. You are also encouraged to become involved in Branch-initiated projects.

Will my name, address and e-mail details end up on mailing lists?

No way! Your details are kept on our database for administrative purposes only and to print the mailing labels for the Manchester Genealogist. If you submit a Members' Interests form for publication, your address will be published along with your interests. We will not pass on members' addresses or other details to anyone who wishes to contact them. If you wish to contact a member and do not know their address, we will be pleased to forward a letter if it is sent to our office with sufficient information for us to identify the member. Please put a stamp on any letter you wish to be forwarded (or enclose one IRC if an overseas member).

I am changing my e-mail address - who do I tell?

Please advise the office by sending a message to the office. See the Contact Us page for the e-mail address. Please note that if you are a member of the Society's e-mail Forum you must deal with this separately.

What can I do to help the Society?

The Society is run wholly by volunteers. There are no paid officials. If you live within public transport distance of Manchester Central Library, there are opportunities to help in such areas as staffing the Help Desk, assisting with membership administration or even helping to run our web site. For those living more remotely from Manchester, there is always the opportunity for involvement in project work. Some projects such as computerising Register Office BMD indexes, already involve Society members worldwide.

[Last updated 29 August 2014 - John Marsden]