Clifton House has become a popular destination for those tracing their family history due to the vast records held by Belfast Charitable Society. While many other sources have suffered a loss of records due to either fire or civil war in Ireland, the Belfast Charitable Societies records remain intact, and date as far back as 1752 when the charity was originally founded. It is one of the most important genealogical archives in Belfast, recording information for generations before civil registration was introduced.

Admissions to the Poor House were entered in our Minute Books from 1774 until the 1800s when the charity commissioned separate Admission Books. The detail recorded varies by time, but typically includes the date of admission, name, age, address, religion and the date of discharge of people admitted to the Poor House. Later entries also include observations of  behaviour in the institution and in the case of children, who they were apprenticed to, or if a family member removed them from the institution. In many cases, where an individual died in the Poor House the place of burial is recorded, as well as if the funeral was organised by friends or relatives. The archive also houses the admissions to the Old People’s Home from 1882 onwards.

With the help of our staff, we can help you find out if your relatives ever entered Clifton House or if their final resting place was Clifton Street Cemetery. We may also be able to shed some light on what their time in the house was like.

Research can be conducted in person by appointment, or research can be undertaken on your behalf. Please note we charge a fee for conducting research based on time, not the outcome.

Please contact us for more information, email