Ir­ish work­house records hit the web

Mil­lions of Dublin work­house records have been added to Find­my­past – the first tranche of a col­lec­tion that will even­tu­ally cover ev­ery county in Ire­land

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - ON THE RECORD -

Records re­veal­ing the plight of work­house in­mates in Ire­land have been re­leased on­line.

Avail­able to World mem­bers of find­my­, the new Ir­ish Work­houses col­lec­tion holds more than 2.5 mil­lion records re­lat­ing to men, women and chil­dren who fell on hard times and were forced to en­ter Dublin work­houses be­tween 1839 and 1922.

Fully search­able, ex­plor­ing the record set can re­veal de­tails such as the names, ages and oc­cu­pa­tions of in­mates, as well as gen­eral notes about their con­di­tion.

Th­ese are con­tained within two dif­fer­ent types of doc­u­ments: Board of Guardians minute books, which cov­ered the day-to-day ad­min­is­tra­tion of the work­houses, plus ad­mis­sion and dis­charge reg­is­ters, which were cre­ated to keep track of new ar­rivals.

Al­though poverty lev­els in Ire­land were high through­out the 19th cen­tury, the Great Famine (18451852) forced a large num­ber of peo­ple from well-to-do back­grounds to seek the ser­vices of the Poor Law Unions.

This in­cludes 35-year-old au­thor Ge­orge Fitzgib­bon Lysaght, who en­tered the North Dublin Union Work­house in 1853. Prior to be­com­ing des­ti­tute, Ge­orge had been a wealthy landowner in County Clare, whose prop­erty was val­ued as hav­ing a yearly rent of £110 and 10 shillings when it was even­tu­ally auc­tioned off on 6 May 1858.

An­other sad tale re­vealed by the col­lec­tion is that of Jane and Thomas Tierny, two sib­lings aged seven and six who were de­liv­ered to the work­house in 1867 af­ter their par­ents de­serted them and em­i­grated to Amer­ica.

The doc­u­ments have been digi­tised fol­low­ing a part­ner­ship be­tween Find­my­past and the Na­tional Ar­chives of Ire­land, where the orig­i­nal ma­te­rial is kept. Pre­vi­ously only avail­able to view in per­son, the re­lease marks the first time that the records have been in­dexed, let alone re­leased on­line. HHow­ever, the Dublin ma­te­rial rep­re­sents just one ffrag­ment of the to­tal work­house col­lec­tions in tthe ar­chives, with doc­u­ments from ev­ery county iin Ire­land due to be added in the fu­ture.

Ir­ish ge­neal­o­gist Ni­cola Mor­ris, who ap­peared iin Julie Wal­ters’ episode of Who Do You Think

YouY Are?? in 2014, said that the re­lease of the first ttranche was “very ex­cit­ing”.

“The work­house reg­is­ters act as a valu­able ccen­sus sub­sti­tute for Dublin, record­ing the ages, aad­dresses, oc­cu­pa­tions and next of kin of a ssig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the pop­u­la­tion,” she told

WhoW Do You Think You Are? Mag­a­zine.

“The work­houses were used not just for poor re­liefr but for med­i­cal care and, as such, doc­u­ment a large num­ber of city res­i­dents. If your an­ces­tor isi miss­ing from the 1901 or 1911 census, now is youry chance to look for ev­i­dence of them.”

If your an­ces­tor is miss­ing from the census, now is your chance to look for them

Mil­lions of peo­ple across Ire­land were forced to use the work­house and other ser­vices sup­plied by the Poor Law Unions dur­ing the 19th cen­tury

In­mates were recorded in ad­mis­sion and dis­charge books

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