Boards of Guardians were empowered under an Act of Parliament 1849/1850 to apply part of the Rates and to borrow money ‘for the purpose of defraying or assisting to defray the expenses of the migration of poor persons’. Power was given by The (British) Treasury to borrow from public funds and authorise the Commissioners of Public Works to grant aid the Boards of Guardians, the sums granted were not to exceed £5 per person. See list of Emigrant Travel Costs here
While we have these statistical figures from each Board of Guardians of the five Unions in the County of Kerry, we do not have any names of any of the people who were granted assistance to emigrate, or their emigrant destination. We can see from the figures below that Cahirciveen Workhouse had the greatest number of people assisted – 1097 persons in these two years. (Dingle has only eight people in this period, but this is because it was a new Union, having been formerly attached to Tralee).
Even these figures should be a help in answering that question that I advise every descendant to ask themselves – ‘who paid the fare?’. So for example, if you have descendants who immigrated in 1883 or 1884, and you have no idea of how they came to afford the fare, perhaps this may be the answer. There were usually only three ways you could get the fare together – get a remittance from a relative who had already emigrated, State aided or Landlord aided emigration or in the case of an entire family, a sale of their livestock, farm equipment and anything that readily brought in cash, even the end of a precious lease if they were lucky to have one.