Over 1.6 million nursing records hit the web

By Jon Bauckham, 11 August 2016 - 10:56am

Three collections of nursing registers and application forms held by the Royal College of Nursing and the Wellcome Library have been published on Ancestry

Hampstead smallpox hospital
Nurses attend to patients in the Hampstead Smallpox Hospital, 1871 (Credit: Getty Images)

Over 1.6 million historic nursing records have been made available to search online for the first time.

Ancestry has published three new collections, each providing information about people in the profession as far back as the 19th century.

The largest of the record sets has been digitised from an assortment of material held by the Royal College of Nursing Library and Archive Service (RCN) in London, listing nurses employed in the UK and Ireland between 1898 and 1968.

Accompanied by scans of the original documents, the collection can provide an array of details about a nursing ancestor, including their home address, education and previous employment history.

Similar information can be found in the second online record set, which has also been created from material found within the RCN vaults. Fully searchable, it comprises application forms submitted by people in Scotland who registered as nurses after state registration for the profession was introduced in 1921.

Among the famous names found within the records is that of Dame Joanna Margaret Cruickshank, who went on to found the Royal Air Force Nursing Service, as well as Dame Emily Mathieson Blair, who became matron-in-chief of the British Red Cross Service.

Both women appear in the records several times throughout their career: one entry shows Cruickshank living in Tunbridge Wells in 1931, shortly after being made a dame, while another from 1925 records Blair living in Dunbartonshire after training at the Western Infirmary, Glasgow.

Agnes Gwendoline Hunt
An entry for Agnes Gwendoline Hunt in the Queen's Nursing Institute roll. Hunt is generally regarded as being the world's first orthopaedic nurse (Credit: Ancestry/Wellcome Library)

In addition to the RCN records, Ancestry has also uploaded over 10,000 records from the Wellcome Library, providing details of nurses registered with the Queen’s Nursing Institute between 1891 and 1931.

Founded as the result of a fundraising campaign to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887, the charitable organisation was responsible for training district nurses across Britain up until the 1960s.

Dr Crystal Oldman, chief executive at The Queen’s Nursing Institute, said the collection was a “wonderful resource for genealogists and social historians”.

“The original Queen’s Nurses worked in almost every part of the United Kingdom and Ireland, from the largest cities to the most remote villages,” she said.

“They were nursing pioneers in the community, and were often trained as midwives and health visitors too, treating patients of all ages in their own homes before the advent of the NHS.”

In addition to The Queen’s Nursing Institute material, Ancestry will be releasing further medical records from the Wellcome Library later this autumn. Full details will appear in a future edition of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine and on the news section of our website.

Genealogy news round-up: Free Irish parish register resource launches
previous news Article
TV and Radio highlights: 12-18 August 2016
next news Article
Genealogy news round-up: Free Irish parish register resource launches
previous news Article
TV and Radio highlights: 12-18 August 2016
next news Article
We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here