Lincolnshire Poor Law Unions

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An Act of Parliament in the year 1834 took the responsibility of administering to the poor from the local parish church to the doorstep of civil government. The government grouped each civil parish into a union of parishes. There were nearly 600 such unions throughout England, each one comprising close to 20 or more parishes, and were specifically setup to meet the demands of the poor among their local populations, with a workhouse on the premises. The responsbility was transferred from local parishes to a Board of Guardians in each union. These groupings or unions were known as poor-law unions. Lincolnshire had the following poorlaw unions within its boundaries:

The Poor Law Unions

The Records

Records from the Poor Law Unions, which were created from this time forward include the following:

  1. Guardianship
  2. Creed Registers
  3. Rate books
  4. Workhouse Lists of Inmates
  5. Register of Apprentices
  6. Register of Births
  7. Register of Deaths
  8. Vestry Rate Books
  9. Admission and Discharge Registers
  10. Board of Guardians' Records

Records at The Family History Library

To determine records availability for each poorlaw, search the Family History Library Catalog under the name of the county (Lincolnshire), and then under the name of the poorlaw union, i.e. Stamford; then search under the term[s] "poorlaw" or "poorhouses".

The Lincolnshire Family History Society has created indexes to their Poor Law Records.

The Family History Library has these indexes on a County wide basis Family History Library, Salt Lake City Online Catalog

Online Transcriptions Relating to Poorlaw Records

1) For more information on the history of the workhouse, see Peter Higginbotham's web site:, a website providing history and a few online records

2) Here's a general website providing data on approximately 10 percent of Lincolnshire's poor