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Manchester Group

     contact Lorna Kay

The Manchester Regional Group held its inaugural meeting in November 2001, and since then it has gone from strength to strength. The group has its own library of about 150 books and a large selection of files, information sheets and booklets for research on subjects as varied as researching Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Argentina, Denmark, Germany; Holocaust studies, reading tombstone inscriptions, shipping and immigration, researching local archives, translating Russian, Polish and German documents, converting Hebrew dates, dating old photographs, DNA testing, organizing a family reunion, applying for copies of birth/marriage/death certificates to ascertain details of parents or grandparents. We also have information booklets on adoption, Liverpool Jewish archives, Manchester Jewish archives as well as some information on Leeds Jewry. We have several members who are experienced in a wide field of research eg research in Germany and other Eastern European countries, and who are on hand to advise.

In addition to our wealth of resource material, we have a laptop computer and printer, with a good selection of databases on CDs including a complete set of 38 disks covering the 1901 Census for Lancashire. This set also covers parts of Cheshire and parts of the Lake District. A few of our committee members bring their own laptops with internet access, so that websites can be viewed and tutorials take place on how to work your way through the maze of information.

The following list covers some of the events we have held:

  • A four-speaker conference on Lithuanian Research the History of Jews in Manchester
  • Jewish Immigration from Eastern Europe and DNA testing
  • Three-speaker conference on Polish research and reading Polish documents
  • Researching your Family via Local Records in Manchester and Researching Family Records in Liverpool Archives
  • Three-speaker conference on the Moving Here Website (every aspect of immigration including shipping and the Jews Temporary Shelters)
  • Ethics in Genealogy; talks on using the Archive Department at Manchester Central Library, Greater Manchester County Records Office and Alien Registrations We have had individual speakers on
  • Researching German Records
  • How to Digitally Enhance Old Photographs on the Computer * Using the JGSGB and JCR-UK websites
  • Talk by the local Director of the Church of the Latter Day Saints Family History Library on how to use their records to research your family
  • Jeff Brownhut of Leeds gave us a wonderful talk about the Jews of Alaska and added a little bit about the Jews of the Wild West. Did you know that Wyatt Earp had a Jewish wife and that there were many Jewish ladies “earning a living” in the Goldrush Towns?

We have had “outings” to the Greater Manchester County Records Office with a tour of the whole building including the newspaper archives where hundreds of original newspapers are stored in temperature controlled conditions, and to the Police Museum to inspect the Alien Registration books. We have had a guided tour of four closed cemeteries including Pendleton – the oldest Jewish cemetery in Manchester which was opened in 1794.

Speakers recently included an expert on Latvian research, one of the principal archivists from The National Archives (formerly The Public Records Office) in Kew, a speaker on researching Rumania, local archives relating to Jewish families who settled in Blackburn etc. We also hold regular workshops so that researchers can work on a one-to-one basis with our more experienced members. What variety! I bet you didn’t know that there was so much involved in building your family tree!

You know more than you realise about your antecedents and you owe it to your children and grandchildren to tell them about their heritage. Everyone’s story is special and very precious – and it is important to record it for posterity.

We welcome beginners and are only too happy to get them started. I hope that all the foregoing has whetted your appetite. 

Send an e-mail to Lorna for information re meetings and workshops