Are you missing an ancestor in the late 19th and early 20th centuries? Perhaps they were in Gloucester Gaol? My book containing photographs and criminal records for prisoners held in Gloucester Gaol during 1870 and between 1883 and 1906 is now available. Entitled ‘Victorian Prisoners in Gloucester Gaol – A Rogues’ Gallery’ it costs £14.99 from all good bookshops. Published by The History Press it has ISBN: 978-0-7524-5129-9. It contains information and mugshots of men, women and children from all round the world, not just from Gloucester or Gloucestershire. Perhaps your ancestor was there …..
Poor Law was administered by each parish following an Act of Parliament in 1597. It authorized the parish to levy a rate to be paid by those who could afford to so do. Collection of the rate was the duty of the Overseers, who also distributed the money to those in need, either in cash or in kind. Overseers had to keep accounts and they are very useful for finding out more about the poorer members of society.
As well as distributing money, the Overseers could organize apprenticeships for poor children and orphans, could question single mothers and order reputed fathers to pay maintenance so that the illegitimate children were not a charge on the parish, and could examine and remove people to their parish of origin who were in need of funds but who perhaps were not qualified to belong to that particular parish. So Overseers Papers include apprenticeships, bastardy bonds, settlement examinations and certificates and removal orders as well as rates for the poor and details of poor relief.