England, Cheshire 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, Cheshire Workhouse Records, 1848-1967 .

Record Description

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.

Citation for This Collection

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

Cheshire Workhouses. England, Cheshire workhouse records. Cheshire Record Office, Chester, England.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

Key genealogical facts found in most Cheshire workhouse birth records are:

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

Key genealogical facts found in most Cheshire workhouse death records are:

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

Key genealogical facts found in most Cheshire workhouse admission and discharge records are:

  • 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

Key genealogical facts found in most Cheshire workhouse creed registers are:

  • 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 to Use the Record

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.

Related Websites

  • British Library - search for Poor Law Union
  • Workhouses - Extensive info about conditions in workhouses, with separate pages for each workhouse.

Related Wiki Articles

Known Issues With This Collection

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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.

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

"England, Cheshire Workhouse Records 1848-1967," database, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org: accessed 22 March 2012), Emma Phillips, 19 August 1895; citing Workhouse Records, FHL microfilm, 16 rolls, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah