Source Information Swansea and Surrounding Area, Wales, Poor Law Union Records, 1836-1916 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2016.
Original data:

Poor Law Records. West Glamorgan Archive Service, Swansea, Wales.

About Swansea and Surrounding Area, Wales, Poor Law Union Records, 1836-1916

This is a collection of Poor Law records that relate to the disposition of relief in Glamorgan, Wales.

Historical Background

For centuries, the task of caring for the poor in Wales was left to the Church. Each parish was given an Overseer of the Poor to help with this cause in 1572. In 1601, the Poor Law Act empowered these overseers to collect a poor rate from wealthier members of the parish and distribute the funds among those needing relief.

The 1601 law remained in effect until 1834, when a new law, the Poor Law Amendment Act, took effect. Under this law, parishes were grouped into Unions. Each Union elected a Board of Guardians, which was then responsible for care of the poor across all of the individual parishes.

Many of our ancestors received help through these Poor Laws, including the elderly, orphaned, abandoned, unemployed, and sick. Aid came as more than just money; the poor could also be provided food, clothing, and work. Children from poor families might be placed in apprenticeships or sent to schools and other institutions.

What’s Included in This Database

This collection includes images of a variety of different records created in West Glamorgan in connection with the Poor Laws. They can help you identify members of your family who were considered poor, find out what aid they received, and discover details of their everyday lives. It’s sometimes possible to piece together the story of a relative’s life, from their placement at a school as a child, through their time in a workhouse, up to their final fate—be it their eventual passing or an escape from poverty. Poor Law records can also be useful in tracing movements among family members.

Examples of the types of records found in this collection include

  • Creed registers
  • Admission and discharge registers
  • Registers of births
  • Registers of deaths
  • List of paupers and abstract of accounts
  • Master's report and journal
  • Registers of young persons
  • School attendance books
  • Workhouse punishment book
  • Lunatic registers

These records can be browsed by parish or other jurisdiction and record type.

Information contained in the records varies by record type.