Bedlam Hospital Records now online

I have just finished reading “Inconvenient People: Lunacy, Liberty & The Mad-Doctors of Victorian England” by Sarah Wise and jolly interesting it was too. There must be something in the air because FindMyPast has today released the hospital records for Bedlam, one of the world’s oldest mental health hospitals. The hospital has had a chequered history and I am sure that the release of this dataset will bring forth many stories.

imageFindMyPast is scanning both staff and patient records.  The records released today go into detail about each patient, in many cases documenting their mental state and including photographs of the inmates once photography became available. The records also detail the reasons why they had been deemed insane, with first-hand accounts of the behaviour of the inmates and their families.

“These records provide an extraordinary level of detail about the patients of the Bethlem Royal Hospital as far back as the 17th century,” said Debra Chatfield, family historian at Findmypast.  “Containing letters written in their own words and handwriting, photographs at different stages of their illness, and reports on their day to day behaviour by close family members and the medical staff at the hospital, these records provide, for the very first time online, real insight into life in this infamous institution. It’s hard not to empathise with the inmates as you learn about their often harrowing and tragic stories. Publishing these records online allows those stories to be told for the first time to a wider audience, and you might discover that you had an ancestor who was sent to Bedlam.”image

Also of interest is the website of the Bethlam Museum of the History of the Mind which offers background history and information on Bedlam.

Exciting National Library of Ireland Project

imageIt has been a long held belief, with some substance, that researching family history in Ireland isn’t easy. I can tell you that it has got a whole lot easier in the last decade or so ! The newly announced project from the National Library of Ireland is an exciting addition to the online Irish genealogy data.

The project aims to digitise and place online – FREE – the Library’s collection of Catholic parish registers that are now available only on microfilm. The date for access for these records is Summer 2015 so not long to wait.

The earliest register dates from 1740 through to the 1880’s, the collection consists of 1,091  parish from throughout Ireland and are mainly baptisms and marriages with a few burial registers. So something to look forward to along with your summer holidays Smile

Every Man Remembered

WW1 genealogyThis website run by the British Legion allows anyone to commemorate those who fought in the First World War. Also available is a search facility to find out if someone else has recorded details of an ancestor.

Entering our family members details is the least we can do to remember those who made the greatest sacrifice.

Bunhill Fields Burials now online

One of most fascinating burial grounds in London is now online – Bunhill Fields. North of the square mile of the City of London this is where your non-conformist/dissenter ancestors may well have been buried. The original records are kept at the National Archives under RG4. The time span for this collection is 1713 – 1854.

Wikipedia has a good page on Bunhill –

As does the Blake Society –

It looks as if it might be a sunny weekend so nothing like a new set of genealogy data to browse whilst in a deck-chair in the garden Smile

Image – Creative Commons David Williams

Spectator Archive

Spectator Archives, GenealogyIsn’t the internet marvellous ? Always something popping up that you weren’t aware of that will be useful in your genealogy. This time it is the Spectator Archive website. This publication started in 1828 and for the period 1828 – 2008 every page has been scanned and digitised, each article tagged and extracted, so that you can search the whole archive by content, keyword, topic, location, and date. Plus this is online free of charge Smile