New! Info on 1000s of former children's homes/orphanages/reformatories etc.

Help and Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can you help me track down a relative who may have been in a workhouse?
Sorry, I'm afraid I just don't have the time to be able to help with individual family history detective work. See my archives/records page for some guidance on this topic, and also read the rest of this FAQ.
2. Where can I find your information on the X workhouse?
  • Try typing in the place name (e.g. Longbarrow) in the Search box at the top of the screen, then click Search.
  • Beware spellings that change or get contracted over the years e.g. Longbarrow might have originally been Long Barrow, Newcastle-on-Tyne may be listed as Newcastle-upon-Tyne etc.
  • If you can't find somewhere, enter the first few letters with a "*" on the end, e.g. Shil* will match Shilton, Shilliton, Shillerton, Shilloton etc.
  • If "X" is a Poor Law Union workhouse, and you know what country and county it's in, use the "Workhouse Locations" menu option.
  • For more information about searching, click the "Search tips" link below the Search button.
3. Where can I find the records for workhouse X?
Please note that I don't have a personal archive of workhouse records! All the information I have available on the surviving records (and their location) for any establishment is included at the end of the individual web page for that place. If you need more details, please contact the record office concerned. Do also check with the record office that they do have the records you want before travelling great distances to consult them, and that the record office address hasn't changed recently. Records frequently contain gaps (not always indicated in the summary information on these web pages), and there are often access restrictions on volumes containing records less than 100 years old. Also see my general introduction to workhouse records.
4. In your lists of available workhouse records, what does "etc." mean?
It means that any other surviving records are usually of relatively little interest to family historians — typically things like committee minutes, workhouse accounts, or other administrative minutiae.
5. Do you have any information about topic X?
  • Try typing in some relevant and distinctive words in the Search box at the top of the screen, then click Search.
  • Searching for a dictionary word such as "diet" will automatically match variations such as: diets, dieting, dietary etc. If you want to search specifically for say "dietary" then use the Advanced search option and turn off "word stemming".
  • Don't be too rigid in your searching. For example, if you want to know about workhouse gardens, you could enter words such as garden, cultivate, flower, vegetable, carrot, potato, plant, manure, dig, etc. Searching for the precise phrase "workhouse gardens" will probably match relatively little. By default, the normal search shows only pages matching ALL the search words. To match ANY of the words, again use the Advanced search option.
6. Can I create a link to your site?
Yes, there is no need to ask permission. The text accompanying your link should explicitly include the name of the my site (, e.g.
For more information on the history of the workhouse, see Peter Higginbotham's web site:

For a page about a particular place or topic, e.g. Leeds, you could use the form

7. I want to draw upon the text on your website in a book/article/essay/thesis etc. How should I do that?
The contents of this website are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced without permission. You might find it useful to treat my website how you would a printed text-book, and refer to it to support statements in your own work, citing the website as the source of your information. For more information on doing this, please see the copyright page.
8. Can I reproduce some of your pictures or text?
Maybe. It depends on what it's for, and precisely what material you have in mind.
As a matter of general principle. I don't offer the use of my material for use on websites such as Facebook and Ancestry, in blogs, or for "potted" histories of the workhouse system to embellish a family history or local history website. In such cases, you are very welcome to include a link to a relevant page on my own website, however — see Question 6 above.
For other purposes, I need to have exact details (including URLs) of what you want you want to use and for what purpose, with details of your publication, website etc. You should especially make it clear whether your desired use of the material will include either placing it on a publicly accessible website or in a charged-for publication. Commercial and publication use of most of my images (which includes things like books, articles, films, wall displays etc.) is now normally handled by the Mary Evans Picture Library who will be pleased to advise you.
Please also see the copyright page.

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