Tuesday 14 August 2018

Registers of Shillelagh and Rathdrum workhouses go online

Click for enlarged view of this partial page sample
The Admissions and Discharges Registers of both Shillelagh Union Workhouse and Rathdrum Union Workhouse have been digitised and made available to researchers in a series of free pdf downloads from Wicklow.ie, the online home of the Wicklow County Archives and Wicklow Family History Centre.

Both collections dates from 1842 to the 1910s (with some missing volumes for Shillelagh) and are presented in 70-odd pdfs (each c26Mb-45Mb). An alphabetical index of names is found at the start of each book and the double-page spread of entries have headings as follows:

  • Number and Name of pauper
  • Single/Married/Widow/er/Child of
  • Trade/Calling
  • Disabled and nature of disability
  • Observations on condition upon admission
  • Date admitted or when born in the workhouse
  • Date of death or discharge

As you'd expect, reading the registers that cover the Famine years can be pretty harrowing. Here are just a few typical entries under the Heading 'Observations on condition upon admission' in 1846: Destitute and hungry; Left at the gate by mother; No means of support; Dirty and ragged; Dirty and ragged and dying; Destitute and cold; Ill of fever; Admitted in a dying state.

The Shillelagh and Rathdrum registers join other free-to-access digitised collections on the website (all accessible via the Wicklow.ie link above).

Archivist and Genealogist Catherine Wright told Irish Genealogy News that the archive next in line for digitisation is the Bray Town Commissioners and Urban District Council collection.