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Cheshire, a palatine and maritime county of England, bounded on the NW. by the Irish Sea, and bordering on the counties of Lancaster, York, Derby, Stafford, Salop, Denbigh, and Flint; extreme length, NE. and SW., 58 miles; extreme breadth, 40 miles; average breadth 18 miles; area, 657,123 acres; population 644,037. Cheshire forms, towards the Irish Sea, a flat peninsula, the Wirrall [sic] (12 miles by 7 miles), between the estuaries of the Mersey and the Dee, and inland a vast plain separating the mountains of Wales from those of Derbyshire. This plain is diversified with fine woods of oak, and &c., and is studded with numerous small lakes or meres. A low ridge of sandstone hills runs North from Congleton, near the East border, and another extends from the neighbourhood of Malpas to Frodsham, near the estuary of the Mersey. The chief rivers are the Mersey with its affluent the Bollin, the Weaver, and the Dee. The soil consists of marl, mixed with clay and sand, and is generally fertile. There are numerous excellent dairy farms, on which the celebrated Cheshire cheese is made; also extensive market gardens, the produce of which is sent to Liverpool, Manchester, and the neighbouring towns. Salt has been long worked; it is obtained from rock salt and saline springs; the principal works are at Nantwich, Northwich, and Winsford. Coal and ironstone are worked in the districts of Macclesfield and Stockport. There are manufacturers of cotton, silk, and ribbons, carried on chiefly in the towns of the East division; and shipbuilding, on the Mersey. Cheshire contains 7 hundreds and 503 parishes, and is entirely within the Diocese of Chester.

(From Bartholemew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887. -C.H.)

The county boundary has changed several times since the late nineteenth century, most significantly in 1974, when sizeable areas were transferred to the counties of Greater Manchester and Merseyside.


Archives and Libraries

The principal collection of records relating to the county is held in the Cheshire Record Office, Duke Street, Chester, CH1 1RL - Tel: 01244 972574. E-mail

The following record offices and libraries also have significant collections relating to their localities:

Miscellaneous records relating to Cheshire can also be found at:

The Family History Society of Cheshire also have a Library and Research Centre at the Rajar Building, Town Lane, Mobberley, WA16 7ER (see the society's website for details).


Cheshire : A Genealogical Bibliography by Stuart Raymond. Published in 2 volumes by the Federation of Family History Societies, 1995. ISBN 1-86006-011-0 (vol. 1), 1-86006-012-9 (vol. 2).

Census Returns

The census returns for 1841-1891 have been transcribed for the village of Kelsall.

Church Records

See also Cheshire Churches for information concerning Church of England places of worship in Cheshire and their registers.

Most pre-1910 Cheshire parish and non-conformist registers have been digitised, and can be searched on the Find My Past website (subscription required). The indexes to these collections can also be freely searched on the Famly Search website

The Cheshire Parish Register Transcription Project has begun to index the county's records of christenings, marriages and burials up to 1870.

The North and East Cheshire Marriage Index (1754-1837) and the Bertram Merrell Marriage Index of Cheshire (1700-1837) are incomplete but have good coverage for most of the county, and both can be purchased from The Family History Society of Cheshire.

Boyd's Marriage Index has very limited coverage of Cheshire, but can also be searched on the Find My Past website (subscription required).

Civil Registration

(See also under the names of individual parishes)

Click here for a list showing the composition of the registration districts in Cheshire from 1837, which includes current addresses for Cheshire register offices..

Cheshire BMD is an on-going project to index all births, marriages and deaths in Cheshire from 1837.

The Cheshire Towns and Parishes pages show the registration districts for each parish from 1837.



The Cheshire Record Office have a site containing all the surviving Cheshire Tithe Maps from the 1830s and 1840s, which can be compared with modern and 1st/3rd edition Ordnance Survey plans, and aerial photography.

Poor Law

For an index to Cheshire poor law cases heard at the county's quarter sessions between 1732 and 1746, see here.

Probate Records

A searchable database of Cheshire Wills and other probate documents held at the Cheshire Record Office for the years 1492-1940.


Towns and Parishes

Click here for information on all 503 Cheshire Towns and Parishes.

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Last updated 5 December 2014

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