Poor Law records: Cases of Settlement

As mentioned in the previous Poor Law blog posts, the liability for the poor usually lay with the parish of their birth.  It was therefore in a Parish’s interests to try and prove that a pauper wasn’t from their Parish so as not to be financially liable.  Such cases where liability was disputed were referred to as Cases of Settlement.  The archives hold such volumes for Stornoway and Barra parishes.

Cases spread across to pages of the volume and two pages are show below.

Extract from Stornoway Cases of SettlementExtract from Stornoway Cases of Settlement

As you can see the records cross-referenced to the Applications for Parochial relief volumes, meaning further information can be easily found.  The last column of the first page shows the parish thought to be liable for the pauper.  The second page shows the date of the meeting where the liability was decided, meaning that there may well be discussion in the Minutes for that date.   The liable parish would then be charged for whatever help was given to the Pauper.  The final columns demonstrate that some paupers were physically removed back to their home parishes.

These volumes are not only useful for family historians but what I find fascinating is the range of Parishes from which people came to Stornoway from.  Even on this first page, we see Greenock, Kilbride, Bower, Crieff, Portree, Lochs, Harris, Durinish, Peterhead, and Barony (Glasgow).  Stornoway drew people from all over!

About David Powell

Project Manager and Archivist with Tasglann nan Eilean Siar
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