March 24, 2010

Weakly Featured Database: New York Almshouse Records 1819-1840

This week's featured free database is the New York Almshouse Records 1819 to 1840

This set of records is extracted from a Ledger Book containing residents of the Almshouse, the names of the ship each person sailed on, plus dates of arrival. This database includes arrivals in Canadian ports.

In the early 1800s port cities in the USA bore the burden of immigration. By the time they arrived, so many immigrants were tired, hungry and poor they ended up in the City Almshouse. This meant the citizens had to take care of them.

Dating back to the colonial era, New York City assumed responsibility for its citizens who were destitute, sick, homeless, or otherwise unable to care for themselves. The city maintained an almshouse, various hospitals, and a workhouse on Blackwell's Island (now called Roosevelt Island) for the poor.

There are 2 pages for each name in this ledger. Only portions of the left hand page have been extracted. There is more information in the Ledger, including Captain's Name, Owner's Name, Date of Bond, Sureties, Date Discharged, Death Date, Remarks, Bonded, Commuted & Total.

For example, under date 1820 March 11 the full record shows Elizabeth Kennedy age 34 is listed as having died June 14, 1820; her daughter Mary Ann died Nov. 5, 1820

The extracted portions are

Date of Admission; Foreigner (Surname); Foreigner (First Name); Age; Place of Birth; Vessel Name; Where From

Thus Elizabeth Kennedy's extracted record online shows

1820 Mar. 11 Kennedy Elizabeth 34 ; Ireland; Grey Hound ; Halifax

The suggested way to use this online set of extracted records is to search for your ancestor then consult the microfilmed Ledger Book for the full details.

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