Dumfries Poor Board Minutes

Index Details

Full Name: Dumfries Poor Board Minutes
Period: 1871-1885
Records: 7481 View

Index Description

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 Local Government (Scotland) Act, 1894 (60 & 61 Victoria, c. 38) replaced the parochial boards with parish councils.

These boards distributed welfare to the sick and needy and ran the town's poorhouse. 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.

Project Description

The project to compile an index-cum-synopsis of the poor board books of the parish of Dumfries 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 on line with some data from the volume covering the period 1871 to 1880 included. The project, when completed, will include data from the poor board, parochial board and parish council records from 1855 until 1895.


Michael Anderson, Iain Cochrane-Dyet and Marshall Laing, with the resulting data being keyed into computer by Vivienne Orr and Nichola Marchbank

Page last updated: 01/03/16