Poor Law records

This guide was last updated in 2009

If you know the locality where your ancestor lived before they were sent abroad, local record offices throughout England and Wales hold Poor Law Union papers and Board of Guardian records that provide detailed information relating to Home Children.

For example, within the Greenwich Board of Guardians’ papers at the London Metropolitan Archives are papers relating to child emigration to Canada covering circa 1907 to 1920 (LMA ref: GBG 218/1-238). These papers contain details of orphans and pauper children who were sent to Canada through a number of agencies including the Salvation Army, Catholic Church and various children’s homes.

Further information of records held in local archives in England and Wales is available on the National Archives website. The A2A database contains catalogues describing archives held locally in England and Wales; contact details are available here. The ARCHON Directory includes the contact details of record repositories in the United Kingdom and also for large institutions elsewhere in the world.

The National Archives holds Poor Law Union correspondence between 1833 and 1900 in the series MH 12. The records are arranged by name of Poor Law Union and date, but can include lists of Home Children selected for emigration to Canada.

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