Workhouse and poor law

About Workhouse and poor law records

Search for your ancestors amongst tens of thousands of workhouse admissions in the records you find on this page.

Workhouses, as you can imagine, were less than salubrious establishments created to support those who had fallen upon hard times by supplying them with both accommodation and employment.

These records also include information about workhouse discharges and cover the period 1675-1911.

Findmypast have also published around 40,000 records of births, baptisms, deaths and burials in Cheshire's workhouses. Search these records by clicking the following links:

Search Cheshire workhouse births and baptisms

Search Cheshire workhouse deaths and burials

Tips for searching workhouse and poor law records

Begin with the basics

The name of the person you are searching for may not be recorded in the way you expect. Henry John Davies, for example, may have been recorded as Henry Davies, Henry J Davies, H Davies, or even H J Davies. We would therefore suggest that you initially search using their last name only. If you receive too many results, you can then add a first name to narrow them down.

Forename variations

If you don’t find the result you want first time, it is worth trying every possible variation in the first name field. If you’ve included a middle name in your search, try searching the first name only.

Your ancestor might have used a different first name in everyday life from the one that appears on official records. For example, your great-uncle Jack’s birth name might have been John. If you can’t find someone recorded under the name you expect, try variations of that name. And if you still can’t find your ancestor using their full forename, try entering their first initial instead. 

Surname variants

We’ve added an ‘Include variants’ tickbox next to the ‘Last name’ field to allow for common differences in spelling or incorrect spelling. For example, if you search for the name ‘Foakes’ while ticking the variants option, you may also get results for ‘Folks’, ‘Fookes’, ‘Forkes’, ‘Foukes’, ‘Foulkes’ and ‘Fowkes’.