London Poor Law Records
I was talking to a fairly experience family researcher the other day and found out that he wasn’t aware that Ancestry.co.uk have online millions of Poor Law Records scanned from the London Metropolitan Archives. This led me to wonder if there are many out there in the genealogy world who think that Ancestry is simply civil registration indexes, census and parish records. If so then I have some very good news for you!!
Ancestry has an agreement with the LMA to digitise and index their holdings which is great news for those of us who have London family history and let’s face it most of us have.
Since Elizabethan time, the poorest in English society had recourse to some form of relief by virtue of the poor law. Poor law relief generally applied to the poorest and most vulnerable individuals such as the elderly, orphaned, unemployed, or the sick and afflicted. These individuals were eligible to receive help such as monetary relief and other daily necessities like food, clothing, and work – usually administered via the dreaded workhouses. Children could be appointed to apprenticeships or placed in schools and other institutions. The records also include registers of creed, school, apprentices, servants, children and inmates among others.
A significant development occurred in 1834 when the Poor Law Amendment Act went further and created boards of guardians responsible for the care of the poor in their respective Poor Law Unions – administrative areas usually consisting of a group of individual parishes.
It is the paper trail created by these boards that now comprises this intriguing collection.