Tag Archives: tracing relatives

Was your relative a #doctor #researching #familyhistory

The medical profession has changed out of all recognition since the 18th century and if you are searching for a relative who was once a doctor or medical professional, there are a number of useful sources to check which may lead you in an intriguing direction.

In the 18thcentury, only physicians were called MD, doctor, with the status of being a gentleman. They charged for their advice and remedies but did not dispense medicines. They were university educated in contrast to surgeons and apothecaries who were trained via apprenticeships. Surgeons did not give medicines to patients, instead they specialised in pulling teeth, lancing boils, blood-letting, and amputations. Apothecaries dispensed and sold medicines from a shop, charging for their medicines not their advice. There was ample opportunity for quacks. The turning point came with the passing of the Medical Act in 1858. This meant that in able to practise medicine, all qualified medical professions had to be listed in the new Medical Register, and also licensed by one of 19 licensing bodies.

If you are tracing a relative in the 19thcentury who you suspect worked in the medical professions in the UK, the two places to check are the Medical Register, from 1859, and the Medical Directory, from 1846. Both list full name, address and date qualifications attained, but include different additional information. It is worth checking both. The Medical Register was published by the General Medical Council and all practising medical professionals had to be registered in it.  It states where each individual was registered. The Medical Directory was a non-compulsory commercial enterprise that is a useful source as it provides different information from the Medical Register, including additional posts held, lists of previous posts, and papers written for medical journals. However it was up to the individual to keep the entries on both directories updated, so be wary of misleading information. The Medical Register and the Medical Directory can be viewed in large city libraries and specialist archives such as the Wellcome Library. Selected records are also available online at Ancestry, The Genealogist and Family Relatives. Some editions can be viewed free on the Internet Archive.

If your ancestor was an army surgeon, check the Army List [from 1754] and Hart’s Army List [1839-1915] at the Internet Archive or Google Books. Read more about your medical ancestor’s service record at The National Archives. For naval surgeons, check the Navy List [from 1782] and the New Navy List [1841-1856], available at large reference libraries. Some editions are free online at the Internet Archive or Google Books.

If your ancestor worked in a hospital, check the staff records at the Hospital Records Database at The National Archives, and for Scotland look at Clinical Notes.

The Lancet

The Lancet, issue dated July 6 1872

British Medical Journal

British Medical Journal, issue dated October 30 1948

If your ancestor was a GP, try your local newspapers or at the British Newspaper Archive for mentions in obituaries, letters to the editor, inquests. Specialist medical journals are also worth checking for articles or letters written by your relative, obituaries or appointments. Search the British Medical Journal archive, back copies of The Lancet are held at the Wellcome Library.

If you know where your relative trained, trace the location of the medical college records by searching Discovery at The National Archives, or for Scotland check the Scottish Archive Network.

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, 1900 portrait by John Singer Sargent

Apothecaries Hall

Apothecaries Hall, entrance on Blackfriars Lane EC4

For information about apothecaries, check The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson [above], for example, was the first woman to gain a medical qualification in Britain. She created a medical school for women, having herself studied privately with physicians, finally obtaining her medical credentials via a loophole with the Society of Apothecaries.

This post is inspired by an article in the February 2018 issue of Who Do You Think You Are?’ magazine.

If you want to read more about family history research, try these articles:-
Using photographic archives
Understanding your relatives’ #babyname choices
Was your relative an apothecary 

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Was your ancestor a #doctor #familyhistory https://wp.me/paZ3MX-82 via #AdoptionStoriesBlog

Did your relative belong to a #tradeunion #adoptionreunion #searching

We all remember learning at school about the Tolpuddle Martyrs and their importance at the beginning of the trade union movement in the UK. They are still remembered today. Current online databases of union records include a wealth of information useful for anyone searching for a relative with a trade who may belong, or have belonged, to a union.

family history

[photo: alva2634.blogspot.com]

The history of working life can be exciting and the excitement of researching your family tree is not about filling in spaces on a sheet of paper, it is about discovering real people and understanding their lives. If one of your relatives belonged to a trade union you could find out more about their working life, and also the time in which they lived. Searching can be time-consuming, but rewarding.

Here are some UK-based links to get your started:-

The Modern Records Centre – held at the University of Warwick is the UK’s biggest repository of trade union records. Records vary from union to union, and year to year, but includes membership records, records of sickness and unemployment benefits, local branch meetings, social events and even some apprenticeship certificates.

Trade Union Ancestors – it is estimated that more than 5000 trade unions have existed at some time or another, this website includes an A-Z guide of unions, union histories and biographies of union figures.

Working Class Movement Library – as well as trade union histories and records grouped by occupation, this website has a fund of information about working lives such as Object of the Month and personality profiles. The international section includes India and Ireland.

family history

[photo: tuc.org.uk]

London Metropolitan University – this website tells the story of the TUC, the Trades Union Congress, with sections on the General Strike, Match Workers plus three sister websites – Workers’ War, Winning Equal Pay, and the oral history Britain at Work 1945-1995.

For more about the Tolpuddle Martyrs and that pivotal time in the history of the trade union movement, click here.

Trade union membership registers – you can search the three million trade union membership registers at Find My Past. Includes admission books, annual reports and membership lists.

Bishopsgate Institute Library – holds a variety of records, some digitised, including the General Federation of Trade Unions. Includes minutes, annual reports, proceedings, financial reports and copies of the Federation News journal.

This post is inspired by an article in the December 2016 issue of ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ magazine.

For more articles about researching family records, try:-
The #paternity question
Further information #AdoptionReunion #HelpfulLinks
Where to start your #adoptionreunion search 

family history

Throughout the ‘Identity Detective’ series of novels of adoption mysteries, journalist Rose researches the history of her birth mother and subsequently attempts to trace lost relatives for clients.
BUY

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Did your relative belong to a #tradeunion #adoptionreunion #searching https://wp.me/paZ3MX-3D via #AdoptionStoriesBlog