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02/07/19 Digitisation of Poor Law/Workhouse Collection


Sone of the Poor Law / Workhouse Collection collection that have been digitised in partnership with the Find My Past company.


Donegal County Archives is celebrating 20 years this year and to mark this auspicious year, the Archives Service is delighted to announce that its most prestigious and invaluable collection of archives, the Poor Law Union/Board of Guardians/ Workhouses, 1840 - 1922, has now gone online, in partnership with the company Find My Past.


These records can be accessed on the Find My Past website for a fee however, the website is free to view on public computers at County Donegal’s public libraries, but the computers must be booked in advance.


These records are truly invaluable for the study of local, family and academic history of Ireland, particularly from the era of the Great Famine right through to partition in 1921 and the foundation of the Irish Free State in 1922. These records  depict an Ireland that is unrecognisable to us today, rural and poverty stricken; large landed estates; and desperately poor tenants; under British rule; before partition.

The archives tell the human stories of those families and individuals – our ancestors- who spent time in the dreaded workhouse due to desperate poverty or homelessness. The minutes and admission and discharge registers shine a spotlight into the lives of the poorest of the poor and those who were entrusted with assisting them, the masters, matrons, nurses, porters, attendants, teachers etc; the tradespeople who supplied the workhouses; and the rate collectors who were charged with collecting the tax that funded them.


The workhouses were in Carndonagh, Glenties, Ballyshannon, Donegal, Milford, Letterkenny, Stranorlar and Dunfanaghy.  The oldest register is from Inishowen and covers the whole period of the Famine. There are over 900 records in total.


The surviving records for Co. Donegal workhouses include admission and discharge registers, indoor relief registers for those who spent time resident in the workhouses. Survivals for registers differ for each workhouse, there are incomplete sets for some and very few for others. For the complete list of workhouse records please see here.


Donegal County Archive Service is located at the Three Rivers Centre, Lifford.  You can call +353 74 9172490, e-mail: [email protected] or follow on Facebook and Twitter. #archives20

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