Other records

This guide was last updated in 2012

Have a look at other records relevant to the asylum. The range and survival of material varies from asylum to asylum, but it is worth having a thorough look at all surviving records, whether or not they are likely to mention your ancestor by name.

You may be lucky enough to find a detailed case file about your ancestor, or you may be able to read the reports of inspectors who visited and reported on conditions in the asylum during your ancestor’s term of residence. You might find pictures or eyewitness accounts of the kind of lives that were lead inside, or ascertain from visitors’ books how often, if ever, your ancestor’s family visited. Details as to whether inmates were chained or otherwise forcibly confined, the type of diet, whether work and social activities were laid on, and other information may emerge.

Remember to search for secondary sources, too – perhaps a history of the asylum – where some of the research will already have been done for you.

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