England, Kent, Workhouse Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: England, Kent, Workhouse Records, 1777-1911 .

Image Visibility

Whenever possible, FamilySearch makes images available for all users. However, ultimate rights to view images on our website are granted by the record custodians. The England, Kent, Workhouse Records collection is available to the Family History Library, FamilySearch Centers, and to members of the supporting organization, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The images can be viewed at a FamilySearch Center near you.

For those in the United Kingdom, images may also be viewed by visiting the Kent History and Library Centre in Maidstone, England.

Record Description

The collection consists of workhouse records for the County of Kent. Availability of the records varies by year and locality.

Poor Law Records are records created by the process of caring for the poor. This includes records of rates (taxes) collected, as well as disbursements of, application for, and administration of poor relief or welfare. In England, the term poor law records usually applies to records created between the beginning of the English Poor Law Acts around 1600 until the abolishment of the Poor Law system in 1948.

Providing for the poor has long been challenge in England. This responsibility was placed on the parish officials in 1531. In the early years, each parish handled matters as they saw fit, since laws regulating the administration of matter dealing with the poor were not enacted until 1597, 1598, and 1601. The 1601 system was modified over the years, with Settlement Laws added in 1662. Providing relief for a person in need took time. Monies were collected by an appointed person from those who had land or property in the parish. An amount was assessed according to the value of their land or property.

The Poor Law Unions and their workhouses took over this responsibility from the Church of England parishes. Prior to 1834 a few parishes or collections of parishes had established a few workhouses to help relieve the poor and provide indoor relief in the form of food, clothes and shelter (Bristol 1696). Both outdoor relief, in which recipients lived in their home while receiving some form of relief, and indoor relief (workhouse living) were offered, as needed, prior to 1834. From 1834 onward all relief was supposed to be given in the workhouse only.

The articles England Poorhouses, Poor Law, etc. and England and Wales Poor Law Records 1834-1948 contains more background information for Poor Law records.

For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

"England, Kent, Workhouse Records, 1777-1911" Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Kent Archives Office, Maidstone.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

These admission records may contain the following information:

England, Kent, Workhouse Records Admittance and Discharges DGS 4991981 37.jpg
  • Day of the month, and week registered
  • Next meal after Admission (Day if the week)
  • Name of admitted
  • Calling (occupation)
  • Religion
  • When born
  • Class for diet
  • Parish from which admitted
  • By whose Order Admitted
  • Date of the Order of Admission

These discharge records may contain the following information:

England, Kent, Workhouse Records Admittance and Discharges DGS 4991981 1106.jpg
  • If born in the house, name of parent
  • Observations on condition at the time of admission and any other general remarks
  • Date discharged
  • Day of the week
  • Last meal before discharge (Day of the week)
  • Name
  • Class for diet
  • How discharged; and if by order, by whose order
  • In case of death, say 'dead'

How to Use the Record

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

  • Name of your ancestor
  • Approximate birth year
  • Place of residence

Search the Collection

To browse the images:

To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "Poor Law Union" category
⇒Select the "Event Type and Year Range" category which takes you to the images

Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details such as a title, an occupation, or land ownership. Add this new information to your records of each family. You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors.

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

Important.png Problems with this collection?
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 see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to 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.

Related Websites

Kent Archives

Related Wiki Articles

England and Wales Poor Law Records, 1834-1948

Contributions to This Article

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 FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

  • “Argentina, Buenos Aires, Catholic Church Records, 1635-1981,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org: accessed 28 February, 2012), La Plata > San Ponciano > Matrimonios 1884-1886 > image 71 of 389 images, Artemio Avendano and Clementina Peralta, 1884; citing Parroquia de San Ponciano en la Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Matrimonios. San Ponciano, La Plata, Buenos Aires.