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The Poor Laws were a system of poor relief which existed in England and Wales until the emergence of the modern welfare state after the Second World War. The 1601 Poor Law Act empowered overseers, appointed in parishes across the country, to collect a poor rate, or tax, from wealthier members of the parish and distribute the funds among residents in need. Because responsibility for destitute residents fell to the parish itself, authorities kept close tabs on who had a right to claim the parish as a legal place of settlement. People who could not legally claim the right of settlement and were deemed “likely to be chargeable” to the parish poor rates, could be sent back or “removed,” to their last legal parish of settlement.

The 4,909 records in this collection contain the details of individuals removed from the county of Lincolnshire under the 1662 Poor Law Relief Act between 1665 and 1865. The level of detail varies, but the records can include information such as name, parish, age, name of spouse, names of children, where removed to and from, plus occasional details about their circumstances.