Source Information

New York State Archives
Ancestry.com. New York, Census of Inmates in Almshouses and Poorhouses, 1830-1920 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data:

New York. State Board of Charities. Census of Inmates in Almshouses and Poorhouses, 1835–1921. Series A1978. Microfilm, 225 rolls. New York State Archives, Albany, New York.

About New York, Census of Inmates in Almshouses and Poorhouses, 1830-1920

This database contains an index and images of records for residents of poorhouses and almshouses in New York State.

The Tenth Annual Report of the State Board of Charities of the State of New York, released in 1877, reported 64 poorhouses and almshouses in the state housing 12,614 residents. New York State laws in 1875 required these institutions to record details about the individuals in their care on a standard form that was then sent to the State Board of Charities. (The form was revised after 1905.) These forms, which make up this database, can be a rich source of detail on the resident, their circumstances, and their families. Forms are filled out to varying degrees, but depending on the year, they may include:

  • name
  • age
  • date of admission and discharge
  • sex
  • color
  • marital status
  • birthplace
  • last residence
  • length of time in the U.S. and in the state
  • port of entry
  • naturalization details
  • education/literacy
  • “habits” (“temperate” or “intemperate”)
  • occupation
  • religion
  • labor the resident can perform
  • whether resident has received relief
  • names and addresses of relatives or friends
  • father’s name, birthplace, occupation, habits
  • mother’s name (maiden), birthplace, habits
  • questions on extended family’s tendency toward self-sufficiency or dependence