England, Norfolk Poor Law Union Records - FamilySearch Historical Records

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England, Norfolk Poor Law Union Records, 1796-1900
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Norfolk, England
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Location of Norfolk, England
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Location of England
Record Description
Record Type Poor Law Union
Collection years 1796-1900
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Norfolk Record Office

What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

This collection contains poor law records, which are records created by a vestry or union in their care for the poor. Poor Law records include all of the documents created in the collecting, dispersing, and protecting the funds for the legitimate poor of the parish. The first poor law came into effect with the Poor Law Act of 1601. Under this law the Church of England parish served as a unit of the local government in managing the care of the poor who lived in the parish. The vestry council, or “vestry” for short, was the administrative body of local government. After 1834, responsibility for the care of the poor fell on the Poor Law Unions and their workhouses. Poor Law Unions encompassed several parishes.

Poor law records contain records of many types, including:

  • Vestry council minutes document the discussions and decisions of the vestry
  • Churchwardens’ rate books list the tax receipts
  • Overseers’ disbursement books track the distribution of money and in-kind materials
  • Settlement certificates identify an individual’s or family’s parish of legal settlement. The Settlement Law of 1662 required that a person have legal settlement in the parish before he or she could qualify for aid
  • Settlement examinations were conducted to establish the financial condition of the individual or family who had left their parish of legal settlement without obtaining a settlement certificate and to determine their parish of legal settlement
  • Removal orders were issued to have the individual or family removed from the parish and transported back to their parish of legal settlement
  • Apprenticeship indentures placed orphans and the children of poor families under the care of a master, which helped limit the costs of their maintenance
  • Bastardy documents of various types were created to deal with children born out of wedlock
  • Admission and Discharge registers that give the dates and places of the term of relief
  • Birth and Death registers including names, dates and to which parish the individuals belong
  • Correspondence from local authorities to the National Poor Law commission

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images. For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for England, Norfolk Poor Law Union Records, 1796-1900.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The following information may be found in these records:

Poor Law Union records

  • Name of parish
  • Date of events or transactions
  • Names of individuals involved
  • Family relationships
  • Specific residences involved
  • Children’s ages
  • Birth and/or death dates

Specifically birth records

  • Date of birth
  • Names of parents
  • Gender
  • Parish
  • Illigitimacy
  • Baptism date
  • Name of the child
  • Remarks

Specifically baptism records

  • Name of the child
  • Date of baptism
  • Illigitimacy
  • Names of parents
  • Residence

Specifically burial records

  • Name of the deceased
  • Residence
  • Date of burial
  • Age

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Images[edit | edit source]

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The names of your ancestors
  • The name(s) of the parishes where the ancestor lived
  • The time period of when the ancestor(s) lived

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

This collection does not have a searchable index. Only images are available. See View the Images to access them.

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select County
  2. Select Poor Law Union
  3. Select Location
  4. Select Record Type to view the images.

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Add any new information to your records
  • Bastardy records may help you discover the name of the child’s father
  • Use the age listed to calculate an approximate birth date. This date along with the parish can help you find a birth record
  • Use the parish to search for the individual in census records
  • If parents' names are listed, look for a marriage record for them
  • If the individual was an apprentice, the name of the master may lead you to a census or employment records

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Extract the information on all families with the same surname in the same general area. If the surname is uncommon, it is likely that those living in the same area were related
  • Try variations of given names and surnames
  • An individual might have been listed under a middle name, a nickname, or an abbreviation of their given name
  • Spelling was not standardized for much of the period of this collection, so names were often spelled as scribes heard them. Pay attention to how the name should have been pronounced and try spelling variations that could have that pronunciation
  • Vary the search terms. For example, search by either the given name or surname, or expand the date range to return a broader list of matches
  • Search the records of nearby locations
    • Suffolk to the south
    • Cambridgeshire to the west
    • Lincolnshire to the northwest

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in Norfolk.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.