England, Cheshire Workhouse Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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England, Cheshire, Workhouse Records, 1848-1967 .
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Cheshire,  England
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Location of Cheshire, England
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Record Description
Record Type Workhouse
Collection years 1848-1967
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Cheshire Archives and Local Studies

What is in the Collection?

This collection will include records from 1848 to 1967.

The majority of the documents are handwritten on printed forms consisting of columns and lines.

The workhouses started out housing the various types of poor separately. The records generated by the workhouses were kept according to the 1834 poor law act. Legislation in 1930 abolished the boards of guardians and passed the responsibilities to local authorities. Additional legislation in 1948 established the National Health Service. These pieces of legislation brought about the development of infirmaries, which eventually led to the national institution of hospitals and asylums, eventually abolishing the workhouses. Workhouses were there for the able-bodied unemployed (and their families), the impotent poor, the elderly, the chronic sick, orphaned children, unwed-mothers, and those mentally ill. Some people were in and out as work was available, while others spent their whole lives in the workhouse. These records cover about 1.7 million names.

The records for the Cheshire workhouses are from 1837 to the closure of each Poor Law Union. Cheshire Poor Law Unions contains further information about each Union.

The records were used by local authorities keep track of the poor and account for monies spent for their living expenses. Reliability of records is high regarding dates of birth, death, admissions, and discharges. Reliability of names may vary in illegitimate births.

Collection Content

Birth records contain the following information:

  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • Name
  • Gender
  • Father’s name
  • Mother’s name
  • Occupation

Death records may contain the following information:

  • Date at death
  • Name
  • Age
  • From what parish admitted
  • Cause of death
  • Where buried
  • Gender

Workhouse records may contain the following information:

  • Day of the month
  • Day of the week
  • Name
  • Class for diet
  • Number affixed to the pauper’s clothes
  • Parish to which charged
  • By whose order admitted
  • Date of the order of admission
  • If born in the house, name of parent
  • Why seeking relief
  • How discharged; and if by order, by whose order
  • Death notations

Workhouse creed records contain the following information:

  • Date of entry
  • Date of admission
  • Full name
  • Birth date
  • Religion
  • Name of informant
  • Number of clothing
  • Occupation
  • Admitting authority
  • Where from or residence
  • Why admitted
  • Date of discharge
  • Address of friends

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search, it would be helpful if you knew the following information:

  • Name of ancestor
  • Approximate year and place of birth

To search this collection by name:
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the wiki article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

Use these records to identify relatives that may not be found in parish registers. The infirmaries attached to the workhouses were opened to the whole community in the later 19th century. The infirmaries generated birth and death records.

Known Issues With This Collection

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See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection, please read the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, feel free to report them at support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

How You Can Contribute

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

"England, Cheshire, Workhouse Records, 1848-1967." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Record Office, Chester.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for England, Cheshire, Workhouse Records, 1848-1967.