1.6 million Poor Law records for Middlesex, England, added to FamilySearch

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15 September 2021
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The new collection can help shed light on the fate of ancestors who sadly fell upon hard times
FamilySearch has today (15 September) announced the addition of more than 1.6 million Poor Law records, covering the years 1539 to 1883 to its free-to-use database.

The records form a new collection, titled: ‘England, Middlesex, Westminster, Poor Law records, 1561 to 1883’, comprising a total of 1,678,558 records.

The Poor Law Act of 1601 included laws surrounding settlement, which constituted the place where individuals could receive poor relief. The collection contains:

  • apprentice records
  • bastardy bond records
  • examination books
  • land tax records
  • pauper records
  • workhouse admission records

How to use the Poor Law Records for England

The above collection can be extremely valuable, particularly for tracking the movements of ancestors before the start of civil registration.

Although they can make for poignant reading because of the hardship that people faced, if you’re lucky enough to find an ancestor mentioned, you might be able to discover the work that they did, their home circumstances, when and where they were admitted to the workhouse and whether they received poor relief.

Details vary between records but can include name, age, residence, year of birth, year of date and year of a particular event. 

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See the background to the collection on its record page

QUICK LINK: Food or clothes - the stark choice our ancestors would have faced