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Findmypast are working in partnership with Irish archives and record offices to create a resource of all surviving Irish workhouse and Poor Law Union records, including Dublin, which is already exclusively available on Findmypast.

High levels of poverty in 19th century Ireland meant that hundreds of thousands of Irish people passed through the workhouses. The workhouses of the North and South Dublin Unions were among the busiest in Ireland, not simply because they were in the capital but because they often took in paupers from across the country. This was especially true during the years of the Great Famine in the 1840s when crowds of desperate, starving people came to Dublin from all over the country. No matter what social status your family held, they could have found themselves in the workhouses. You can find out names, ages and religion as well as finding out previous address, occupations and the names of other family members.

6 steps for tracing your workhouse ancestors:

1. Go to and select A-Z of records from the menu.

2. Select Ireland under the ‘Showing records from list’ in the menu on the left and start type ‘workhouse’ into the search field.

3. You’ll see a list of all Irish workhouse records on Findmypast (currently you can explore records from Dublin or Sligo). Choose which record set you’re interested in and click on it

4. You’ll be taken to the search screen for that record set. Fill in as much information as you know about your ancestor and press search. Tip: sometimes it’s easier to start broad and filter so you don’t miss anything.

5. You’ll see a list of results that most closely match what you searched for. Click either the transcript or image blue buttons on the right hand side of the screen to view the record you’re interested in.

6. The original digitised image gives you most of the detail. On most registers, you can find out your relatives’ birth year, occupation and next of kin details.

For more stories on tracing your Irish heritage from Findmypast click here.