Tuesday 28 October 2014

Ancestry adds London Workhouse records, 1738–1930

A new collection on Ancestry could be useful to many Irish family historians, particularly those whose ancestors passed through London at some time.

The Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1738-1930 includes 3.2million records for workhouses in the parishes/Poor Law Unions of Westminster, Camden, Hillingdon, Kensington & Chelsea, Holborn, Hammersmith & Fulham, and the City of London. These are all in central or west London.

The exact information you can find about your ancestors varies according to the record but can include name, date of admission, age, date of discharge, details regarding the person's condition and care, and details of additional family members also residing in the workhouse.

Here are a few examples of entries:

  • After two nights in the workhouse, Cornelius Crowley, aged 63, was discharged on 5 January 1843 at his own request having recovered from sickness.
  • Twenty-two-year-old Caroline Doyle was destitute when admitted to the Fulham Road Workhouse in 1881. On 26 February she took leave of absence with her one-month-old baby, Florence, and did not return.
  • Catherine Sullivan, aged 59, had been admitted to Edmonton Workhouse with 15-year-old Ellen and 10-year-old Mary, on 29 October 1884. Mary was discharged to Hampstead School within a week. Her elder sister discharged herself two months later and Catherine followed her in June 1885.
  • Hannah Brown was admitted in August 1848 with a recorded age of 78. The discharge notes state she was Irish and died on 12 June 1853.
Some (but certainly not all) of the records are split over multiple images. Watch out for this as you might miss out on valuable details if you don't browse back and forth.

Ancestry says that similar records from additional areas of London will be added to this collection in due course.