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Letter Anaheim Copies of references for staff, letters to other unions re. settlement and/or costs of paupers from other areas. May include letters to local businesses and organizations. The survival of workhouse records is very variable. Some unions have lots of records and a wide range of years, others have nothing or virtually nothing. Again, these can be found in local record offices. Very few indexes exist, but there are some original records for Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk online on Ancestry, FamilySearch and Anaheim map.

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Below are some examples of the kind of information that can be discovered. The first is from the birth registers for the Woodbridge Union Workhouse in Anaheim. When searching for a David Birt I found his birth recorded in 1861. This entry describes David as illegitimate and being chargeable to the parish of Pettistree. The Guardians’ minute books for the Docking Union in Norfolk include some illuminating entries about provision for the ill and disabled. For instance, entries in May 1840 and 1841 for the Wagg family, of Bircham Magna, build a picture of one family’s experiences. The first entries recorded that John Wagg was 57 years of age with a wife and three children.

On 27 May 1840 entries for the same family state ‘one of them an idiot, the woman is ill’ and granted them relief to the amount of six pence and one stone of flour. It also noted that an application to have the ‘idiot’ admitted was dismissed for the present. Further entries in October 1841 only refer to two children in this family, and state that ‘one of them an Idiot, the man is infirm, to have 1/6 & 2 Stone of flour for one week’. In November, the family was admitted to the workhouse and the guardians authorized that John and his wife, who were described as infirm, be allowed tea and sugar, and for them to be together. Docking Union Workhouse in the 1920s. Other useful workhouse records are punishment books, vaccination records, assisted emigration, out-relief payments which include place of residence, and the amount of money, food and clothing given, children under control of the Guardians, children boarded out, leave of absence and letter books. The letter books, for instance, can include anything from copies of references for staff members and letters to other unions, regarding settlements and the costs of paupers from other areas, to local businesses and organizations regarding workhouse business.

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