Wednesday 5 January 2022

PRONI releases indexes to Belfast Workhouse Admission Registers

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has delivered a very welcome New Year gift to Irish genealogists: the first instalment of Indexes for Belfast Workhouse Indoor Relief Registers have been scanned and made available to view, free of charge.

Small sample from an Index page
These indexes have not been fully digitised; they cannot be searched by name. Instead, the pages of each register have been scanned (by date) into high quality pdf files which you can download to your device and search at your leisure, or explore on-screen through PRONI's pdf viewer.

Spanning 1892 to 1921, the available 106 indexes record those who applied for Indoor Relief (meaning admission to the Workhouse). Each register is indexed alphabetically by first-letter-only of surname and then by date of admission. See the image, right. The information noted in the register is limited but hopefully sufficient to help you identify your ancestors or provide some direction for follow up research.

With the date of admission, register number, name and age of an individual, you should be able to locate the corresponding original records held by PRONI.

To search the Indexes: 

  1. Go to PRONI's eCatalogue 
  2. Where indicated, type in the PRONI ref: BG/7/GK/1 and click the Browse button, top right of page 
  3. On the landing page, you'll see PRONI's reference entered. Immediately to the right of that box, click the Search button (don't use the one top right of the page) 
  4. You'll see your Search Results for each register with a 'View' link to download the respective pdf.

Should you have any difficulty using the eCatalogue (as a non-regular user of the PRONI eCatalogue, I frequently get caught in a loop, so you're not on your own!), watch this How-to video on PRONI's YouTube channel.

PRONI has told IrishGenealogyNews that an online Belfast Board of Guardians Records demo event will be held towards the end of this month. It is currently being worked on, and when the date is confirmed, I'll make a note on this page and include details in my regular Events listing.

UPDATE, 14 Jan: PRONI's workshop will be on 27 January. Details.