Births in the workhouse

Births in the workhouse

The master begs to report that on Sunday morning last he admitted a female infant believed to be about 3 days old that was left the night before at Mrs Fraser’s hall door in the townland of Killyneil. At Mrs Fraser’s request the child has been entered on the workhouse register as a Methodist and baptized by the Reverend Mr McConnell Methodist minister in the name of Mary Hall. [Journal of Thomas Tackaberry, Workhouse Master, 1894]

The first child to be born in the workhouse belonged to James Campbell and Jane Nelis on 11th December 1842 but unfortunately, the baby only survived a few minutes.

Between 1842 and 1881 516 children were born in Dungannon workhouse and both the birth and death register for the workhouse provides information about these children.  Most of them were baptised by local clergy of the denomination that their parent(s) belonged to. The surviving Birth register for Dungannon Workhouse runs from 1842-1881.

Almost 60% of those born in the workhouse (59.6%) were Roman Catholics, numbering 308 children, while the other denominations listed included: Established Church (115); Irish Church (41); Presbyterian (23); Protestant (18); Episcopal Church (9); Christian Israelite (1) and Quaker (1).

Remarkably, the breakdown of male to female births in the workhouse was almost identical with 258 male children born and 256 female, while two births were not identified. The top names used were Mary (36); John (35); James (33); Thomas (18); Elizabeth (16), and William (16).

An analysis of the electoral division from which the mother (or parents) came from indicates that 48% or 246 children were not connected to any division, and were simply listed as being from the ‘Union at large’. The remaining births were from  Drumaspil (45); Dungannon (41); Tullyniskin (33); Mountjoy (24); Donaghmore (19); Meenagh (17); Moy (16); Bernagh (12); Castlecaulfield (10); Derrygortreavy (9); Clonaneese (9); Benburb (7); Crossdermot (7); Ballymagran (6); Brantry (5); Minterburn (4); Altmore (2); Aghnahoe (1); Clonavaddy (1); while ‘no division’ was assigned to two births.

For a list of births in the Dungannon Workhouse see the page ‘List of births in Dungannon Workhouse’. The column ‘whether legitimate or illegitimate’ has been omitted, as has the date of baptism and the name of the person who officiated at the baptism. 

Please also note, it has not been possible to decipher some names in this list.