Family history

Family history can be studied at both Archives: Wigan and Leigh and Wigan Local Studies.

Our collections support your family tree research as we hold:

  • Local parish registers, census records, directories
  • Electoral registers
  • Maps, rate books, newspapers
  • Access to birth, marriage and death indexes
  • Free access to Ancestry and Find My Past.

Wigan Local Studies has the International Genealogical Index (IGI) and Boyd’s Marriage Index. The following guides list some of the collections in more detail:

Please note some of these collections are available on microfilm so we recommend contacting us before your visit to book a microfilm reader.

Family History Helpdesk

Volunteers from Leigh Family History Society are running a dedicated remote family history helpdesk from Archives: Wigan & Leigh. All enquiries are being done remotely. To find out how to go about tracing your family tree contact Contact Archives: Wigan and Leigh for family history information.

Viewing the collections

The collections at Archives: Wigan and Leigh cover the Leigh side of the borough, while Wigan Local Studies holds collections for the Wigan side.

We are able to offer a free 15 minute research service. More in depth enquiries cost £15 per 30 mins. To find out more about our collections, you can visit:

Printed books and pamphlets

We also have a large book collection, to discover more please explore the library catalogue (external link). Examples of some of the collections we hold include:

  • Chetham Society
  • Record Society of Lancashire and Cheshire
  • Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society
  • Copies of private research e.g. Ian Winstanley, Mining deaths in Great Britain 1850 - 1914
  • A complete set of Lancashire Parish Record Society volumes
  • Catholic Record Society and Harleian Society also contain some registers for areas other than Lancashire, which are housed at Wigan Local Studies
  • Many books and pamphlets relating to local and family history many that have been privately researched, including some memorial inscriptions
  • Dootson Collection - The Dootson Collection is housed in Archives: Wigan and Leigh. The collection consists of books, pamphlets, manuscripts relating to Lancashire. A local solicitor, Thomas R Dootson actively engaged in collecting materials about his home town of Leigh and the county of Lancashire. He bequeathed the collection to the town which is in two parts; the first is the Lancashire Collection which contains around 2500 books about Lancashire as well as books by Lancashire born authors and those who have lived in the county from around the 19th and 20th century. The second part contains books of general interest such as literature, Egyptology etc.

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