England, Kent, Workhouse Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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England, Kent, Workhouse Records, 1777-1911 .
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
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.

To Browse This Collection

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

Image Visibility

Whenever possible, FamilySearch makes images available for all users. However, ultimate rights to view images on our website are granted by the record custodians. The England, Kent, Workhouse Records collection is available to the Family History Library, FamilySearch Centers, and to members of the supporting organization. The images can be viewed at a FamilySearch Center near you.

For those in the United Kingdom, images may also be viewed by visiting the Kent History and Library Centre in Maidstone, England.

Collection Content

Admission records may contain the following information:

  • 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 may contain the following information:

  • 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

To browse by image:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒ Select the appropriate "Poor Law Union"
⇒ Select the appropriate "Event Type and Year Range" which takes you to the images.

Search the collection by image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details such as a title, an occupation, or land ownership. Add this new information to your records of each family. You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors.

Use these records to identify relatives that may not be found in parish registers. The infirmaries attached to the workhouses were opened to the whole community in the later 19th century. The infirmaries generated birth and death records.

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 : accessed 2017. 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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How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

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