Sylvia Valentine

Finding Your Way Around Workhouse Records

This talk introduces many of the various examples of the types of records created by the Poor Law amendment Act of 1834 in England and Wales. It does not cover Scottish Records.

The presentation will explore a little of the history and context of the legislation, its structure before exploring some examples of the various types of records and how they might help you develop your family history. It will also provide advice about locating records and make suggestions for on line resources and other reading which could help you find your way around workhouse records.


Sylvia Valentine is an experienced family history researcher and has been researching her family tree for more than 40 years. After retiring from a career in the not-for-profit sector, she enrolled as a Masters Distance Learning student in Family and Local History with the Centre for Archive and Information Studies at Dundee, graduating with an MLitt in 2016.

Her particular areas of interest of are the records created by the introduction of the New Poor Law from 1834, including the records relating to compulsory small pox vaccination. She has presented at numerous family history societies in the UK and spoken at national events in the USA and Canada in addition to the UK.

Sylvia is now a PhD candidate at the University of Dundee and she is researching Opposition to Compulsory Vaccination in Scotland 1864 – 1914.