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Workhouse inmates

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Workhouse inmates

Postby Jenaheldd » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:06 pm

I’m a bit confused ... I have a Lucy Burrell born 1839 in Great Burstead, Essex in the workhouse in Billericay, Essex from 1851 through to her death in 1897. She appears as a pauper/inmate on each census & she’s shown as a cook/domestic.

Is it odd that she was there for so lomg?

More strangely perhaps is her daughter Julia Ann is born in the workhouse in Gravesend, Kent in 1879. There’s no father listed on the birth cert & Lucy as the informan, gives her address as the Billericay workhouse.

There may well be an obvious answer but why would she be giving birth in a workhouse that is in a different county?
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Re: Workhouse inmates

Postby Sylcec » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:11 pm

Because she appears in a workhouse in each census, it is tempting to think that she was a continuous inmate. However, this is not necessarily so, and indeed is unlikely to be so. Nevertheless, as a single woman without means of support and a pauper, it is likely that she was in and out of the workhouse for periods with some regularity. She may well have had brief periods of employment as a cook or domestic servant when she was able to support herself.
Information about the Billericay workhouse is here http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Billericay/ Records are held at the Essex Record Office.
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Re: Workhouse inmates

Postby Mick Loney » Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:27 am

It’s worth emphasising the point Sylcecs made in her reply.

Which is that the census only tells us where someone was staying/residing on one particular night, every ten years. We mustn’t fall into the trap of thinking this was also the place they lived between consecutive censuses.

The odds are against this being the case for temporary establishements such as barracks; hotels; lodging houses etc. Workhouse too, fall into this category, so don’t be fooled into thinking their stay there was continuous between censuses :D
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Re: Workhouse inmates

Postby Jenaheldd » Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:57 am

Sylcec wrote:Because she appears in a workhouse in each census, it is tempting to think that she was a continuous inmate. However, this is not necessarily so, and indeed is unlikely to be so. Nevertheless, as a single woman without means of support and a pauper, it is likely that she was in and out of the workhouse for periods with some regularity. She may well have had brief periods of employment as a cook or domestic servant when she was able to support herself.
Information about the Billericay workhouse is here http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Billericay/ Records are held at the Essex Record Office.


I’ve already been in touch with the Essex records office and sadly the records for the Billericay workhouse haven’t survived
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Re: Workhouse inmates

Postby ianbee » Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:12 am

BT of Lucy's baptism in Great Burstead in 1839 is here. Daughter of Sarah.
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903 ... cat=489231

Have you got her birth certificate?
1841 has Lucy Burrell, 2, Sarah Burrell, 20, in the household of John Burrell in Great Burstead (at Tye Common)
John Burrell, living Tye Common, is in the Great Burstead rate books, could be him. Here he is in April 1839
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903 ... cat=617480

You could reassure yourself perhaps by looking at England and Wales, Long-Term Workhouse Inmates, 1861 on ancestry (adult paupers resident in the workhouse for five or more years).

Jenaheldd wrote:I’ve already been in touch with the Essex records office and sadly the records for the Billericay workhouse haven’t survived

Typical for Essex! The Billericay Board of Guardians Minute Books do survive. Generally, not many individual paupers are named in the minutes, but you do get lucky sometimes.

The situation is more promising for the workhouse at Gravesend, with admission/discharge registers and birth registers available.
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Re: Workhouse inmates

Postby Jenaheldd » Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:11 am

I don't have Lucy's birth certificate but I know there was no father on the scene.

I have checked the long-term workhouse inmates list and there are no Burrells either at Billericay or Gravesend. I was thinking that for Lucy she woudn't appear on this as she was only 21/22 in 1861 so in the five years previous, she would have been a minor for some of that time so not counted??? Her mother Sarah who was in the workhouse with her in 1851 disappears by 1861, so at the moment, I've presumed she died.

Yep, I thought it was typical of Essex as well. Quite disappointed when they said the records hadn't survived, but I'm going to contact Kent Records and see if the Gravesend records are on line.

It does strike me as odd that on Lucy's daughter Julia's birth certificate, it says place of birth Gravesend workhouse and Lucy's address is given as Billericay workhouse. What did she do, pop over the Thames for a day out and to give birth??? (sorry, very tongue in cheek there!!)

Even more crazy is that these people aren't even my ancestors, this is a tree I'm doing for a friend but this workhouse bit has peaked my interest (there are other Burrells in the Billericay workhouse and we think they're related, but not sure how yet).
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Re: Workhouse inmates

Postby AdrianB38 » Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:09 pm

As I think that I've said elsewhere, we need to think of the possibility that, despite being described as a pauper / inmate, she's earning her keep as a cook / domestic in the workhouse during this era. On that basis, going "home"(???) to have a child might make sense.

Maybe the Guardians' minutes might help to illuminate what they did there - just ages to read through.

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Re: Workhouse inmates

Postby ianbee » Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:09 pm

Another one -
Baptism, 15 August 1841, Great Burstead, of Stephen John, Son of Sarah Burrell, Single Woman
BT here (could say Barrell perhaps)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903 ... cat=489231

Burial at Great Burstead, 27 April 1845, Stephen Burrell, age 4 years. Abode Billericay Union House.
BT
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903 ... cat=489231

Marriages in Billericay district, Dec 1854, potentially include William Green and Sarah Ann Burrell. Could be worth following up.
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Re: Workhouse inmates

Postby Jenaheldd » Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:19 pm

ianbee wrote:Another one -
Baptism, 15 August 1841, Great Burstead, of Stephen John, Son of Sarah Burrell, Single Woman
BT here (could say Barrell perhaps)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903 ... cat=489231

Burial at Great Burstead, 27 April 1845, Stephen Burrell, age 4 years. Abode Billericay Union House.
BT
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903 ... cat=489231

Marriages in Billericay district, Dec 1854, potentially include William Green and Sarah Ann Burrell. Could be worth following up.


Thank you Ian, I will look into this. Lucy definately had at least one other child while in the workhouse, again no father listed & it seems her eldest daughter got pregnant & gave birth to a son in the workhouse as well
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