Miscellaneous Poor Law Content. West Yorkshire Archive Centre. Calderdale, West Yorkshire, England.
Miscellaneous Poor Law Content. West Yorkshire Archive Centre. Kirklees, West Yorkshire, England.
Miscellaneous Poor Law Content. West Yorkshire Archive Centre. Leeds, West Yorkshire, England.
Miscellaneous Poor Law Content. West Yorkshire Archive Centre. Morley, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England.
Miscellaneous Poor Law Content. West Yorkshire Archive Centre. Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England.
This is a collection of various Poor Law and township records that relate mostly to the disposition of relief in West Yorkshire, England. Some miscellaneous township records are also included.
For centuries, the task of caring for the poor in England was left to the Church. Each parish was given an Overseer of the Poor to help with this cause in 1572. In 1601, the Poor Law Act empowered these overseers to collect a poor rate from wealthier members of the parish and distribute the funds among those needing relief.
The 1601 law remained in effect until 1834, when a new law, the Poor Law Amendment Act, took effect. Under this law, parishes were grouped into Unions. Each Union elected a Board of Guardians, which was then responsible for care of the poor across all of the individual parishes.
Many of our ancestors 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.
What’s Included in This Database
This collection includes images of a variety of different records created in West Yorkshire from 1770 through 1914 in connection with the Poor Laws. They can help you identify members of your family who were considered poor, find out what aid they received, and discover details of their everyday lives. It’s sometimes possible to piece together the story of a relative’s life, from their placement at a school as a child, through their time in a workhouse, up to their final fate—be it their eventual passing or an escape from poverty. Or you may find your ancestor on the other side of the coin, among the rate payers. Poor Law records can also be useful in tracing movements among family members—both poor and not.
Examples of the types of records found in this collection include
- overseers’ disbursements, account books, and minute books
- churchwardens’ records
- township receipts and disbursements
- workhouse records
- relief records
- disbursements for the poor
- payment to mothers of illegitimate children
- children’s register
- dole rents and distribution
- receipt and expenditure books
- constables’ accounts
- highway surveyors’ accounts
- affiliation orders
- relief registers
- food vouchers
- lunatic registers
These records can be browsed by parish or other jurisdiction and record type.
Information contained in the records varies by record type. For example, on an admission and discharge register you may see the person’s name, date of admission, age, religious persuasion, and date of discharge.