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.

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

West Yorkshire Reform Schools 1779-1914

imageDo you have ancestors that might have, through bad deeds or plain bad luck, ended up an inmate at a West Yorkshire Reform School ?  This new database from Ancestry covers

Calder Farm Reformatory

East Moor Community Home School

Shadwell Children’s Centre.

And includes admissions, commitments, and discharges records, so a wide range of data. The information you can expect to find is


  • name
  • age
  • birth date and place
  • father’s name
  • mother’s name

Also if you are lucky you might also find

  • Photo
  • Physical description
  • Baptism details
  • School attended
  • Criminal history
  • Admission details
  • Religion
  • Other relatives and addresses
  • Trade or occupation

The privacy cut-off date for these records is 1914.

Canada 1921 Census

1921 Canadian Census - MadAboutGenealogy

Ancestry has added the1921 census for Canada to it’s Canadian and Worldwide Collection. Many people emigrated from the British Isles to Canada in search of a better life and more opportunities to further themselves. Some came back, but many stayed so it is always a good idea to run family names through the Canadian Collection to see if anyone familiar shows up. In fact the population of Canada rose by 1,581,840 between the 1911 and the 1921 census so all those people belong on someone’s family tree !

Fully indexed the census is easy to search, simply put in family names and press “search”. The information collected by the Canadian authorities was much more extensive than the English census so many details of the person can be discovered.

Well worth running family names through, enjoy this more recent census.