relief in Scotland
When looking for records relating to an individual
pauper in Scotland, the important date is 1845.
Before 1845 the parish authorities responsible for
the poor were kirk sessions and heritors. In many
burghs there were town hospitals and poorhouses.
From 1845 until 1930 the poor relief authority was
the civil parish (parochial boards until 1894 and
parish councils between 1894 and 1930). The key
sources of information for genealogists searching
for a pauper ancestor are: kirk session and heritors'
records (for the period prior to 1845), poor relief
registers, parochial board/parish council minute
books and poorhouse records (for the period 1845
to 1930). Records later than 1930 will almost certainly
be inaccessible under 75 year closure rules. Some
archives close poor relief records for 100 years.
Kirk session and heritors' records have been used
for decades by genealogists, but the use of poor
relief registers is a relatively recent phenomenon,
linked to database indexing by record offices and
family history societies.
What to do now
The text above is a summary
of several entries on poor relief in the SCAN
Knowledge Base. You can read this by clicking
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Asked Questions, compiled by Scotland's archivists.
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