Source Information Ireland, Poor Law and Board of Guardian Records, 1839-1920 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2020.
Original data: Poor Law Records for Ireland. Dublin, Ireland: Microfilm of original records held at the National Archives of Ireland.

About Ireland, Poor Law and Board of Guardian Records, 1839-1920

Historical Context

The Irish Poor Law Act of 1838 followed very closely the English Poor Law Act of 1834 and divided the country up into Poor Law Unions, centred on a workhouse, which became the main vehicle of assistance to the poor. Each Union elected a Board of Guardians, which was then responsible for care of the poor across all of the individual parishes.

Many people who had fallen on hard times or were born into poverty 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. Conditions in workhouses were often extremely hard meaning sickness and, sadly death, was common amongst those who were admitted.

What can I find in these records?

This collection includes workhouse records relating to the North Dublin Union, South Dublin Union, and Rathdown Union (part of counties Dublin and Wicklow). It also includes records relating to Balrothery Union (part of county Dublin), Bawnboy Union (part of county Cavan), and Dromore West Union.

You may be able to find the following information (where available):

  • Name
  • Gender
  • Poor Law Union
  • Date of Birth
  • Marital Status
  • Admission Date
  • Date of Discharge
  • Date of Death