England, Kent, Workhouse Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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England, Kent, Workhouse Records, 1777-1911
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Kent,  England
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Location of Kent, England
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Record Description
Record Type Workhouse
Collection years 1777-1911
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
Kent History and Library Centre


What is in This Collection?

The collection consists of workhouse records for the County of Kent available at the Kent History and Library Centre in Maidstone, England. Availability of the records varies by year and locality.

Poor Law Records are records created by the process of caring for the poor. This includes records of rates (taxes) collected, as well as disbursements of, application for, and administration of poor relief or welfare. In England, the term poor law records usually applies to records created between the beginning of the English Poor Law Acts around 1600 until the abolishment of the Poor Law system in 1948.

Providing for the poor has long been challenge in England. This responsibility was placed on the parish officials in 1531. In the early years, each parish handled matters as they saw fit, since laws regulating the administration of matter dealing with the poor were not enacted until 1597, 1598, and 1601. The 1601 system was modified over the years, with Settlement Laws added in 1662. Providing relief for a person in need took time. Monies were collected by an appointed person from those who had land or property in the parish. An amount was assessed according to the value of their land or property.

The Poor Law Unions and their workhouses took over this responsibility from the Church of England parishes. Prior to 1834 a few parishes or collections of parishes had established a few workhouses to help relieve the poor and provide indoor relief in the form of food, clothes and shelter (Bristol 1696). Both outdoor relief, in which recipients lived in their home while receiving some form of relief, and indoor relief (workhouse living) were offered, as needed, prior to 1834. From 1834 onward all relief was supposed to be given in the workhouse only.

Image Visibility

Whenever possible, FamilySearch makes images available for all users. However, rights to view images on our website are granted by the record custodians. Images in this collection are available for viewing if you are a registered FamilySearch user. You can register for a free FamilySearch account here. The images can also be viewed at the Family History Library or a Family History Center near you; and to users who have contributed to the FamilySearch Indexing effort. Learn how to be a part of FamilySearch indexing here.

For additional information about image restrictions, please see the Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections page.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for England, Kent, Workhouse Records, 1777-1911.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The following information may be found in these records:

Admission records

  • Day of the month, and week registered
  • Next meal after Admission (Day if the week)
  • Name of admitted
  • Calling (occupation)
  • Religion
  • When born
  • Class for diet
  • Parish from which admitted
  • By whose Order Admitted
  • Date of the Order of Admission

Discharge records

  • If born in the house, name of parent
  • Observations on condition at the time of admission and any other general remarks
  • Date discharged
  • Day of the week
  • Last meal before discharge (Day of the week)
  • Name
  • Class for diet
  • How discharged; and if by order, by whose order
  • In case of death, say 'dead'

How Do I Search This Collection?

To begin your search, it would be helpful if you knew the following information:

  • Name of your ancestor
  • Approximate birth year
  • Place of residence

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select Poor Law Union
  2. Select Event Type and Year Range to view the images.

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • The records cite the ages of the individuals. Use this information to calculate a birth year and search for birth records
  • The records indicate the parish to which they belonged. This can lead to church records for christening, marriage and burial information
  • Death registers often tell you paid for the burial. This may indicate a family relationship
  • When a religious preference is stated, use this to determine what church records may be available
  • Use parish and residence information to search for the individuals in censuses

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?

  • Try variations of given names and surnames
  • An individual might have been listed under a middle name, a nickname, or an abbreviation of their given name
  • Spelling was not standardized for much of the period of this collection, so names were often spelled as scribes heard them. Pay attention to how the name should have been pronounced and try spelling variations that could have that pronunciation
  • Vary the search terms. For example, search by either the given name or surname, or expand the date range to return a broader list of matches
  • Search the records of nearby locations
    • Essex to the north
    • London and Surrey to the west
    • East Sussex to the south

Record Finder

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation
"England, Kent, Workhouse Records, 1777-1911." images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Kent Archives Office, Maidstone.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.