Locating records

This guide was last updated in 2012

Surviving local poor law records are generally found at the relevant county or city archives.

A good finding aid is the Scottish Archives Network (SCAN) website. Searching the SCAN online catalogue for, say, ‘Inverness’ and ‘poor’ will detail the surviving records at the Highland Council Archive Service in Inverness. Remember that records relating to adults are usually closed for 75 years and for 100 years in respect of children.

The National Records of Scotland (the new face of the National Archives of Scotland) also holds a variety of pre- and post-1845 material including poors rolls, kirk sessions’ and heritors’ minutes, and poorhouse architectural plans. Its online catalogue includes both its own holdings and those elsewhere in Scotland. A useful overview of these records is the article by Kirsty Forbes and Robert Urquhart published in the 2002 volume of the journal Scottish Archives.

A few indexes or transcriptions of poor relief records are now viewable online, a good example being the indexes to the Liff and Benvie Register of the Poor and the Dundee East Poorhouse Register available at www.fdca.org.uk.

Transcriptions of sample relief applications can be seen here.

 

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