Cheshire Poor Law Unions

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An Act of Parliament in the year 1834 took the responsibility of administering to the poor from the local parish church to the doorstep of civil government. The government grouped each civil parish into a union of parishes. There were nearly 600 such unions throughout England, each one comprising close to 20 or more parishes, and were specifically setup to meet the demands of the poor among their local populations, with a workhouse on the premises. The responsbility was transferred from local parishes to a Board of Guardians in each union. These groupings or unions were known as poor-law unions. Cheshire had several poorlaw unions within its boundaries.

The Poor Law Unions

The Records

Records from the poorlaw unions, which were created from this time forward include the following:

  1. Guardianship
  2. Creed Registers
  3. Rate books
  4. Workhouse Lists of Inmates
  5. Register of Apprentices
  6. Register of Births
  7. Register of Deaths
  8. Vestry Rate Books
  9. Admission and Discharge
  10. Registers Board of Guardians' Records

Records at The Family History Library

To determine records availability for each poorlaw, search the FamilySearch Catalog under the name of the county (Cheshire), and then under the name of the poorlaw union, i.e. Congleton, then under the term[s] "poorlaw" or "poorhouses".

Online transcriptions Relating to Poorlaw Records

For more information on the history of the workhouse, see Peter Higginbotham's web site:  and  this websiteCheshire's Poorlaw Unions

Cheshire Workhouse Records, 1848-1967: FamilyHistory Historical Records. For additional information on this record set see the Wiki Article.