The subfonds EGR3 contains all archive material that is directly attributable to a member of the Booth family (including Mary Countess of Stamford). The criteria for attribution are that material should be written in, or bear annotations in, the hand of a member of the Booth family, or contain other evidence that they were kept in the personal possession of a member of the family. Records dating from the Booth era at Dunham Massey that cannot be attributed to members of the family are arranged in separate subfonds, principally title deeds and settlements (EGR1), manorial records (EGR2), household records produced by Hall staff (EGR7), and estate records from Dunham Massey Hall (EGR11).
The Booth family papers include: patents and commissions; official papers generated in the course of service by members of the Booth family in the offices of sheriff, lord lieutenant, deputy lieutenant, justice of the peace etc.; financial papers; papers relating to the administration of Dunham Massey Hall and the estates, which are directly attributable to an individual member of the Booth family, as opposed to papers generated by the agent and other estate officials; and personal papers such as private correspondence, memoranda, speeches, notes etc.
The quantity of Booth family papers is disappointing: the material occupies a mere sixteen archive boxes, compared with over one hundred for the Grey family papers. Only a handful of items predate 1600. Records survive for only seven members of the Booth family (eight if one includes Lady Elizabeth Booth). The majority of the papers relate to George Booth, 2nd Earl of Warrington, and his daughter Mary, Countess of Stamford.
Particular reasons for the poor survival rate may be surmised, over and above the customary hazards to archives from fire, water, vermin, poor storage conditions and accidental loss. The almost total absence of material bearing on the Booth family's activities during the civil war period may be the result of the expedient destruction at that time of all potentially incriminating documentary evidence. Other material may have been discarded when the Booth line came to an end and Dunham Massey passed to the Grey family with the death of Mary Countess of Stamford in 1772. While the preponderance of papers from the period after 1700 suggests that major losses had occurred before the eighteenth century, very little of what may be termed private and family correspondence has survived even for the 2nd Earl of Warrington and his daughter; unless such material was lost during the lifetimes of George Booth and Mary Booth (by no means inconceivable), the papers must have disappeared during the Grey era. One may conjecture that the Grey family did not feel any great attachment to their predecessors' papers, and that routine papers and Booth family papers of a purely personal nature with no obvious historical importance or continuing relevance to the administration of the Hall and estates perished through neglect or deliberate destruction. Finally, other Booth family papers may have been lost when Dunham Massey Hall was vacated by the 7th Earl of Stamford during the 1850s, and the archives were transferred to Ashton Old Hall and later the Ashton Estate Office.