Explore Oldham Inquisitions and five million new Manchester rate books

4-5 minute read

By Daisy Goddard | May 26, 2023

Oldham Inquisitions

Calling everyone with roots in the North-West of England - it's a bumper week for our Manchester collections...

Your Manchester research just got easier. This Findmypast Friday, we've added a massive 4.9 million Manchester rate book records, along with an all-new set of inquisitions from Oldham, Lancashire.

These new additions, which span from the 1790s to the 1940s, bring our total number of Manchester rate books to 13 million. From Salford to Stockport, these may just contain the key to unlocking your next discovery.

We've also added over 63,000 pages to our newspaper collection, with three brand new Manchester publications, and updates to an existing nine titles. Read on to discover all that we've added.

Greater Manchester Rate Books

The star of the show is our Manchester rate books collection, to which we've added an immense 4.9 million records this week alone. These are transcriptions and images, which cover the 160 years between 1790 and 1949. Rates can be likened to modern-day council taxes. Recorded yearly, rate books detailed the occupiers and owners of properties in Britain, along with the amount of tax (rates) that they paid.

Bridging the years between censuses, these records can help to fill in those gaps in your family tree. With addresses and names recorded, they can help you to place your ancestor in a certain place, at a certain time.

They're also a valuable house history resource - if you live in the Greater Manchester area, you may now be able to chart back who lived in your home over 200 years ago.

There are more than a few famous names to be found within our Manchester rate books.

One such figure is suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, who appears in the volumes from 1898 to 1900 for the South Manchester township, St. Luke's ward.

Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst in 1913.

Our records reveal Pankhurst living at 62 Nelson Street from 1898 to 1907, a property that was owned by a J. M. Bennett. You can view her record for yourself here.

A little digging revealed more well-known names: we found the pioneering physicist Ernest Rutherford and politician Lord Derby. There are also the ancestors of famous figures that can be found, including the 2x great-grandparents of Michelle Keegan, and the family of Martin Lewis.

Greater Manchester Rate Books Image Browse

On top of this week's new rate books, we've made an additional 215,002 rate book images, also from Greater Manchester, available to browse.

While the above transcriptions cover all years ending in 1 and 6 between the 1790s and the 1940s, these browse-only images are from every year in between. Although they're not searchable by name or address, you can filter results by year, location, council, and optional keywords.

Rate book for the Borough of Rochdale, 1777. Explore the images for yourself here.

Spanning almost 200 years, these browsable images offer a detailed insight into the history of the Greater Manchester area, from Rochdale in the north to Stockport in the south.

Lancashire, Oldham Inquisitions 1905-1917

We've also added a brand new set to Findmypast this week. These 750 inquisition records from Oldham in Lancashire cover from 1905 to 1917. They are an index, intended as an aid to help you find the original document that you need.

You can expect to find a name, year, and archive reference on these transcriptions. Be sure to view the original record, too, as you'll likely find information that's not in the transcription.

The inquisition of Minnie Fletcher, whose skull was crushed after being 'accidentally knocked down.. by a milk float'.

From these fascinating records, we can learn the causes of death that were determined by inquisitions. A little digging revealed some unusual tales.

We have Minnie Fletcher, for example, who died in 1916 after being knocked over by a milk float. There are some harrowing incidents recounted, too - take John Crossland, who died in a fire after playing with matches in 1917.

There are all manner of sad and intriguing stories recounted in this new collection. What will you discover?

New pages from Manchester and beyond

You can delve even deeper into the lives of your Northern ancestors, as we've added three new titles from the Manchester area to our newspaper collection this week.

We have the Altrincham, Bowdon & Hale Guardian, a bi-weekly title that was founded in 1862. This eight-page publication contained local and international news, as well as a historical column and more. There's also the Ashton Standard (first published in 1858) and the Bolton Journal & Guardian available to explore.

In addition to this trio of Manchester titles, we brought the Saturday Telegraph (Grimsby) to Findmypast this week. First published in 1898, this weekly title delivered the most up-to-date football news at the price of one halfpenny.

In addition to these four new titles, we've updated nine of our existing newspapers, with 17,000 pages added in total. Here's a rundown of all that we've added.

New titles:

Updated titles:

Have you made an exciting family history discovery? If so, we'd love to hear about it. You can now share your story with us directly, using this form.

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Daisy GoddardDaisy Goddard