Friday, 20 October 2017

Kirkcaldy Poor Law records on Ancestry

Ancestry ( has added some poor law records from Kirkcaldy in Fife, Scotland, to its site.

Kikcaldy, Fife, Scotland, Poor Law Records, 1888-1912
Source: Abden Poorhouse Record Book, Fife Library and Archives Service, Fife, Scotland.

About Kikcaldy, Fife, Scotland, Poor Law Records, 1888-1912

This collection contains Poor Law Union Records for Kikcaldy, Fife, Scotland ranging from 1888-1912. It includes records for those who received help from the Abden Home Poor Law Institution, originally named the Kirkcaldy Combination Poorhouse.

Details vary depending on record type, but you might find facts such as:

Date of admission
Date of discharge
Reason discharged
Marital status
Date of death

The record page unfortunately has a collection description which is just completely wrong, discussing the implementation of the poor law system in England from 1601 and 1834.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record... Scotland is not England!

The Old Poor Law Act in Scotland was passed in 1579, whilst the Poor Law (Scotland) Amendment Act provisions did not commence until 1845. There were never any Boards of Guardians involved in Scotland, instead, we had parochial boards which answered to a Board of Supervision in Edinburgh.

Ancestry may well wish to revisit this description....!

UPDATE 21 OCT: Ancestry has revisited the Historical Context description, and replaced a few paragraphs on the English poor law system with the following extremely short description of Scotland's set up:

"After the Poor Law Scotland Act of 1845, Scottish parishes were able to establish institutions to care for the poor, house them and give out relief. Whilst there was a Central Supervising body, each institution was locally run."

If you need a wee bit more on how Scotland's set up actually existed, do check out my book Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis (see!


My next 5 week long Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the OPRs course commences Nov 6th 2017 - details at For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

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