The Magherafelt and Ballymena Workhouse Databases

By the 1840s the various Poor Law Unions had built their workhouses and were admitting the poor. Initially, few people were prepared to enter the workhouse but with the onset of the Potato Famine in 1845 the numbers began to increase and by the winter of 1846-47 all were full to capacity. Like all good Victorian officials detailed records were kept of all persons entering the workhouse and this information is contained in what are known as the Admission and Discharge Registers.

As an example of the kind of information that these registers can contain, I have created a database of persons who were admitted to the Magherafelt Workhouse during the period 25th April to 4th August 1847 [240 persons] and a database of the persons who were admitted to Ballymena Workhouse during the period 13th May to 8th July 1847 [631 persons]. The names are arranged alphabetically by surname and date of admission. This will allow you to identify families within the lists.* Note that the the "Comments" column in the Magherafelt database give much more information on the condition of each person on entry than the Ballymena database.

Click here for a paper that will provide some background to the Famine in the Magherafelt and Ballymena Poor Law Unions. There is more information on Magherafelt with which I am more familiar. Also, you might find this information from the Ordnance Survey Memoirs for the parishes of Maghera and Artrea in South Derry.

Click here for a map that shows the distribution of the District Electoral Divisions [DEDs] in Magherafelt PLU and Ballymena PLU.

You might find these three maps useful - Some Townlands in the Magherafelt/Moneymore Area of South Derry & Townlands in the Parishes of Killelagh, Maghera & Termoneeny in South Derry & Townlands within the Parish of Ballynascreen in South Derry.

* Note that if you sort the Excel database by Reg. No. it will list the admissions by date.

Copyright 2011 W. Macafee.