Ireland Poorhouses, Poor Law, Etc

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In 1838, the Poor Law Act divided Ireland into 159 districts called poor law unions. A workhouse was established in each union to house the poor. Each union elected a board of guardians to administer poor law relief. Test

Online Databases

Ask About Ireland, history and information about Poor Laws

Records of the poor in Ireland are found in board of guardian minutes, in workhouse registers, and in the British Parliamentary Papers (unpublished). Information found in board of guardian minutes and workhouse registers may include names, dates of admission, places of birth or residence, ages, occupations, information about parents, testimony about conditions in the workhouse, and reports of disciplinary actions. Many of the minutes and registers are deposited in county libraries and national archives in Ireland.

The repositories of poor law records in Ireland are identified in chapter six of the following book:

  • Nolan, William. Tracing the Past: Sources for Local Studies in the Republic of Ireland. Dublin, Ireland: Geography Publications, 1982. (FHL book Ref 941.5 A3nw.)

Irish poor law records available at the Family History Library are listed in the Place Search of the catalog under the following headings:



Webb, R.C. Some Irish Poor in Lambeth.  Records of Lambeth Board of Guardians deposited at the Greater London Record Office, volume entitled "Scotch and Irish Esaminations 1834-1846."  It records the settlement examinations of those who because they were Scottish or Irish, were not entitled to Poor Relief in the normal way.  Gives names, country of origin and length of residence in England. article in The Irish Ancestor, vol X. no.2. 1978, pages 108-115, Family History Library Salt lake City Ref. 941.5 B2i vol. 10-11.