Discover Your Family History


Have you hit a brick wall in your family history research? Did Great-grandad disappear and no-one spoke about him again?  Is there a rumour that Great-great grannie married against her father’s wishes and went to live in London? Perhaps you are just starting out and need a little help to find your way through all the confusing records that are available.


Family history research is interesting and exasperating at the same time. It is rather like doing a jigsaw puzzle without the picture and you aren’t sure if you have all the right pieces. Answering one question often creates ten more questions.



Don’t despair – help is at hand on Monday and Wednesday afternoons between 2pm and 4pm at Oldham Local Studies and Archives.  No booking is needed for these one-to-one sessions – just come along with all the information you have gathered so far and a member of staff will be available to help you.


This week Alex Daniel came in to find out about the great-grandfather of his friend. She had been looking into her family history for many years but had hit a stumbling block. She knew that her great-grandfather was a shoe-maker and had moved from Odessa, then in Russia, to the North-West but she could not find any trace of him.


With the help of Local Studies Assistant, Mary Pendlebury, Alex discovered that to avoid military service in Russia he had changed his name to Cohen. Alex then found him listed in the 1911 census living in Blackburn amongst a small Jewish community before he moved to Manchester. He also uncovered that he had travelled from Russia with his sister and family. His next steps are to feed back to his friend and look for records related to his will and where he may be buried.


What could you find out in an afternoon? Call in to find out more at Oldham Local Studies and Archives, 84 Union Street, Oldham, OL1 1DN, visit and search family history or email us at