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
Records revealing the plight of workhouse inmates in Ireland have been released online.
Available to World members of findmypast.co.uk, 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