Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Top 3 free genealogy websites for tracing Irish pauper ancestors removed from Britain to Ireland


In the 19th century, paupers from Ireland could be deported home from England, Wales and Scotland if they were unable to support themselves.


Without the legal right of ‘settlement’, or what was known as a ‘settlement certificate’, a poverty-stricken person could be forcibly removed by a warrant from the local justice of the peace, in order to save the parish from financial burden.


As a consequence, for family historians, some of the most useful records for tracing our ancestors are those concerning poor relief – including the records created by the process of removing a person from a parish, sometimes controversially.


After the new poor law amendment Acts of Parliament were introduced in England and Wales in 1834 (and in Scotland in 1845), administration of poor relief in England and Wales fell to the new poor law unions. Each was constructed from several parishes and managed by boards of guardians, and containing a workhouse. In Scotland, parochial boards became responsible for parishes, or combinations of parishes, with a dedicated inspector or the poor and a poorhouse.



* Another article that may interest you: Millions of historic Irish civil records are now online for free.



Many Irish immigrants were deported through the use of removal orders, particularly during the Famine of the 1840s, when authorities struggled to cope with the influx of destitute refugees from Ireland.


In the May 2018 issue of Family Tree, genealogist Chris Paton explains the most useful records for tracing the Irish poor, banished from Britain during this period – and finds rich pickings for genealogists in these lesser-known records.


Here are 3 of his top choices of websites to help you research what happened to your pauper Irish ancestors who fell victim to the poor law removals.


1) The Workhouse 

Peter Higginbotham's Workhouse website should be your first port of call to try to locate surviving records. The site has a dedicated page for each institution in Britain providing information on its history and any records known to exist, as well as noting the record office holding them.


2) Raymond’s County Down Website 

This site includes returns from Scotland and from England and Wales to Ireland during the mid- to late 19th century. You can find out more about poor law removal records and view databases of names, parishes and numbers of children.


3) The House of Commons Parliamentary Papers 

This website lists poor law removals. It is only available through subscribing institutions but many county libraries offer access, such as the National Library of Scotland’s eResources platform.


Discover more family history web resources for tracing banished Irish pauper ancestors in the May 2018 issue of Family Tree.


Back to "Useful genealogy websites" Category

16/04/2018 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Seven places to explore women's history in the UK

Find out more about your female ancestors with our guide to seven top places to explore the history of women ...

Discover more by joining your local family history society

Hit a wall? Why not join your local family history society? ...

More than 100,000 Poll Book records released by TheGenealogist

TheGenealogist has announced the release of 116,218 records into its Poll Book Database, allowing family ...

The Hidden Army of Freteval

Matt Richards and Mark Langthorne tell the incredible story of how hundreds of pilots and soldiers were ...

Other Articles

How to use census records to find your British ancestors

Want to know where your British ancestors came from and what their lives were like? Read our guide to using ...

The best free of charge websites for finding your British ancestors

Trace your British family tree with Family Tree's guide to the best websites for researching ancestors in ...

How to do your family tree online and find your British ancestors

Discover how to do your family tree online, with our guide to the most popular genealogy websites for finding ...

MyHeritage DNA announces new results filtering - how does it work?

MyHeritage has announced the launch of a new results filtering system for DNA matches. Rachel Bellerby put it ...