Find your ancestors in Cheshire Workhouse Records (Births)

Discover whether your ancestor had fallen on hard times in the records of those born in the Cheshire workhouses in the 19th century. Search 16,529 records to find children, both legitimate and illegitimate, born to the inmates of Cheshire’s 9 Poor Law union workhouses.

The 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act established nine poor-law unions in Cheshire, each with its own workhouse. Workhouses were supposed to be a deterrent to the able-bodied pauper. Under the Act, poor relief would only be granted to those who passed the “workhouse test”, in other words you would have to be desperate to enter a workhouse.

Some people only stayed in the workhouses briefly, when there was no other option, others spent their entire lives in the same workhouse. As medical care in the home was expensive, the poorest women would sometimes come to the workhouse hospital to give birth.

These records show children born in the Poor Law Unions of Cheshire, Macclesfield, Nantwich, Runcorn, Stockport and Tarvin. The workhouses also recorded still births.