Cork City & County Archives

Cork City CouncilCork County CouncilUniversity College Cork
Funded by Cork City Council, Cork County Council & UCC
Parchment Sample


Poor Law Unions/Workhouse Records: 1838-1923

From 1838, Ireland was divided up into Poor Law Unions. Within each union was a workhouse where the poor and the destitute could be accommodated. There were 15 poor law unions in Cork City and County. Each union was run by a separate Board of Guardians, that each maintained a separate set of records (see the Boards of Guardians collections page for full lists of all records). For genealogical purposes, the most important documents are often the indoor relief registers and related records, that may record the name, address, occupation, age, sex, condition, date of admission, and date of discharge or death, of those admitted to the workhouse.

We hold extensive indoor relief and related records for the following poor law unions/workhouses in Cork:

Limited numbers of indoor relief records are also available here for the following Poor Law Unions/ Workhouses in Cork;

For the other workhouses in County Cork, it is mainly only administrative records that survive, such as minute books recording the proceedings of meetings of the Board of Guardians for each Union. These will give background information on what was happening in the workhouse/poor law union but they rarely contain personal information apart from some relating to officials and staff of the Union.