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Poor board project opens up records

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By Fiona Reid
Poor board project opens up records

A PROJECT is ongoing to transcribe and upload the Dumfries Poor Board Minutes from 1871-1885.

The aim is to compile an index-cum-synopsis of the poor board books of the parish of Dumfries.

It is being undertaken by members of the Friends of the Archives of Dumfries and Galloway. At present the poor board volume for 1880 to 1885 is online, via the council website, with some data from the volume covering the period 1871 to 1880 included.

When completed, it will include data from the poor board, parochial board and parish council records from 1855 until 1895.

The Poor Law (Scotland) Act, 1845 (8 & 9 Victoria c. 83) established parochial boards in all of the parishes of Scotland. The board in Dumfries (variously called the Poor Board and the Parochial Board) consisted of the heritors (those holding heritable property), representatives of the kirk session and some members elected locally and they were entitled to impose a poor rate on the community to pay for the upkeep of the poor of the parish. There was an inspector of the poor who administered the poor relief.

The boards distributed welfare to the sick and needy and ran the town’s poorhouse.

The project’s home page says: “Their records give a great deal of information about the social conditions of the period and are very useful for genealogists, being very rich in names and family information. An entry in the poor board records may often be the only mention of the existence of those unfortunates at the bottom of the social scale in Victorian Scotland.

“The names of many people who were not in abject poverty also figure in these records. Perhaps someone of modest income might be in receipt of a special grant to educate a particularly clever child or an invalid be given financial assistance to attend a spa. Of course, the names of those who made charitable gifts to the inmates of the poorhouse or supplied the goods and services required to administer parish relief also appear in these records.”

To search or read them, go to

Front, Moffat

01st Mar

September date for Merlin study release

By Fiona Reid | DNG24