Were your ancestors in the work house?
What Poor Law and workhouse records can you use to add contextural colour to your family history? How can you find out more about the events that shaped our pauper ancestors. How many of your family were in the workhouse?
- ‘Lunatics’ and the Poor Law Act 1834 Asylums had been operating in Britain for hundreds of years, the first recorded was the Bethlem Royal Hospital established in the C15th and were run as private charitable institutions. The whole business was a haphazard affair until the Madhouse Act of 1774 which established licensing and yearly inspections of asylums.
- Using Poor Law Records for Family History Using Poor Records to find all those intriguing connections in your family history.
- Workhouse Schools By 1839 almost half of the population of workhouses were made up of children. Some of these children were orphaned but others entered with their parents and although families were split up upon entering the workhouse, if the child was under seven it would probably stay alongside it’s mother.
It can be tricky to know where to go to find contextual data for your family history or social history project and sometimes although it is tempting to dip into work already done, there is great satisfaction to be had from joining up the dots yourself. The whole issue about addressing the provision for the poor had been revisited over hundreds of years. During the period of Enlightenment, many of the tenants for how the poor were perceived (not all to the good) were questioned by people such as Jeremy Bentham, Thomas Malthus, Joseph Priestley, Edwin Chadwick and many others. The fortune of those who had no say in what happened to them lay in the hands of many such as these.
Start by reviewing the Poor Laws.
Connect dates with the laws and then you will have a better understanding of which laws may pertain to your ancestor. We have tried to address some of the laws here on Intriguing History. Poor Laws.