Lawyers, teachers, doctors were among victims of the Great Famine

The victims of the Great Famine were not just the poor, as new research shows that many middle-class people, including lawyers and doctors, ended up in the workhouse.

Lawyers, teachers, doctors were among victims of the Great Famine

Newly digitalised records also reveal tragic tales of forced migration of young female orphans to Australia.

The British-based family history website Findmypast yesterday released more than 2.5m Dublin Workhouse Admission and Discharge Registers and Minute Books.

The records provide a unique view of the impact the famine had on all aspects of the population, as hundreds of thousands of middle-class Dubliners — alongside the working classes — were institutionalised in the workhouses between 1840 and 1919.

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These records will be the first in a series of Irish Workhouse records released by Findmypast in partnership with the National Archives of Ireland — the first step in the creation of a national resource of all the Irish workhouse and Poor Law Union records.

“Workhouse records are an essential tool for family history research,” said Brian Donovan, Irish records expert at Findmypast.

“They provide extraordinary detail and incredible heart-wrenching stories about some of the most poorly documented people who lived in Ireland.”

Professionals institutionalised in the Dublin workhouses included 1,130 doctors and nurses, 1,056 teachers, 321 soldiers, 175 lawyers, 125 artists, 32 clergymen, and 24 policemen.

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