Investigate causes

This guide was last updated in 2012

Building a picture of your ancestor’s life will also involve acquiring some insight into the condition that forced them into the asylum.

Selina Leythorn was admitted as a 'person of unsound mind', but other genealogical details add to the picture – for example, that she was a member of the strict Bible Christian religious group and possibly witnessed the death of her 'imbecile' brother from convulsions. Might she have seen this as a sign of God's wrath against her, which contributed to her mental decline?

You might also investigate the kind of treatment your ancestor would have received in the asylum and how it might differ from likely treatment today, or how attitudes to the mentally ill have changed between your ancestor’s day and our own.

Other records
previous Step
Visit the asylum
next Step
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