Find your ancestors in Scotland, Linlithgowshire (West Lothian), poorhouse records 1859-1912

Did your Scottish ancestor spend time in the poorhouse of Linlithgowshire (West Lothian)? The records may present you with your ancestor’s admission date, behaviour during stay, previous residence, and more.

Every result will give you a transcript of a poorhouse record created by the West Lothian Family History Society. Most records will comprise these basic facts:

  • Name
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Birth year
  • Event year
  • Place
  • Document type
  • Parish chargeable – the parish financially responsible for the individual
  • County and country

This collection of poorhouse records includes six different types of documents, and each type will provide additional details. The codument types include:

  • Linlithgow Poorhouse Admissions 1894-1910
  • Linlithgow Poorhouse Death Register 1859-1912
  • Linlithgow Poorhouse Deaths & Discharges 1894-1910
  • Linlithgow Poorhouse Lunatic Discharges 1860-1909
  • Linlithgow Poorhouse Register of Lunatics 1859-1909
  • Linlithgow Poorhouse Roll of Sick 1907-1910

Discover more about these records

The records in this collection were transcribed by the West Lothian Family History Society. They can give you details about your ancestor’s stay at the Linlithgow poorhouse including the length of stay, physical condition, behaviour during stay, and when your ancestor was discharged. In the records, we have found Jane O’Neill, a 66-year-old woman from Muiravonside. She had spent 13 days in the poorhouse. Her conduct was good and she was discharged at her own request. In some cases, you may find a number of records for one person. Many individuals passed through the poorhouse numerous times as they were trapped in a cycle of poverty.

The Poor Law (Scotland) Act of 1845 created a system of poorhouses or almshouses in Scotland. They were responsible for giving relief to paupers in the local area. However, a stay in the poorhouse was not meant to be pleasant and was only done as a last result. Despite the hardships of a stay in the poorhouse, they did provide regular meals and medical attention to those who needed it.

The records also include admissions to the lunatic section of the poorhouse. The term lunatics, although it sounds negative, reflects the terminology and beliefs of that time. In the early years of the poorhouses, individuals with mental health disorders were admitted to the poorhouses. Separate buildings or asylums were then built after 1875. In the records, you will find cases of individuals discharged from the poorhouse and then admitted to the asylum. For example, John Forrest, a pauper, spent 4 years, 2 months, and 2 days at the Linlithgow poorhouse lunatic section. He was sent to the poorhouse by the sheriff of Lothians. On 23 November 1883, Forrest was discharged and sent to the parochial asylum in Lenzie because his condition had not improved.