Almshouse of Suffolk County:
A Finding Aid to the Records 1871-1953

Description of Almshouse Records

Admission Records and Registers
Date 1871-1940 1871-1952
Name of Documents Record of Inmates Register of Inmates
Content of Documents

The documents that were maintained about the people who were admitted to the Poor House, the Almshouse or the Suffolk County Home and Infirmary are included in the series, Admissions Records and Registers. The Records of Inmates are arranged by record number based on chronologically on the date of admission. The Records of admission include information about: name, sex, age, color, civil state, last residence, birthplace, time living in the USA and New York, citizenship of husband/father, occupation, education, religiion, habits, physical condition, cause of dependence, mother's maiden name, father's name, birthplace of father, occupation of father, financial condition of parents, ability of person to perform labor, mental/psychological status, history of receiving public relief, history of admission to the Almshouse or other institution, names and addresses of friends and relatives, the date of admission, discharge and re-admission. An alphabetical index ordered by the first letter of the last name and then in chronological order of admission was created in some records to locate the record by record number.

The Register of Inmates in the series is a listing of persons with information similar to the Record, but it may also include the following information: the date of birth, disease, the cause of poverty, and date of death. Some of the older reasons for admission included: lunacy, intemperance, destitution, child, pregnancy, weak mind, cripple, consumption and love sick. Later registers described the physical condition in medical terms such as arthritis, cancer, cataracts, and peptic ulcer. The Registers of Inmates are organized by the year, then by town and finally in chronological order by the date of admission. One Register documents indentured servants in 1872. Some admission and operational data for the total number of days in residence were summarized by the person's name and by the name of the Suffolk County town.

Death and Cemetery Records
Date 1871-1953 1871-1953
Name of Documents Deaths at the Almshouse Cemetery Records and Map
Content of Documents

Records were maintained for people who died while in residence at the the Almshouse. A journal was kept to record the name of the person, age at the time of death, the date of death and the burial location in the Almshouse cemetery in Yaphank, NY. Notations in the record indicate when a child from the Suffolk County Children's Home was buried in Potter's Field, when a body was removed from the cemetery, in addition to notes pertaining to the race of the deceased. Also included in the series is a map of the cemetery and a listing of the names of the persons interred along with the associated sequential grave marker numbers.

Pauper Indians
Date 1904-1921
Name of Document Register of Pauper Indians
Content of Documents

A separate Register was maintained for Indians who were admitted to the Almshouse. The record is very brief and includes a listing of personal information as well as the tribal affiliation. The register documents the members of the Shinnecock tribe who spent time in residence at the Almshouse.

Financial Records
Date 1888-1910 1932-1936 1900-1936
Name of Documents Almshouse Invoices Cash Accounts Physician Register
Content of Documents

The financial records in the collection document the monetary transactions of the Almhouse. The record reflects the payments made by family and friends on behalf of individuals residing at the Almshouse. Invoices record the purchase of food and supplies. Financial records are missing for the periods between 1911-1931 and 1936-1953. The Physician Register is a log of the visits of a physician to the Almshouse. The record is primarily a sign-in log to document the financial obligation to the physician on duty.


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