Sunday, 5 September 2010

Hospital admission registers

My new blogging theme is 'Sources Sunday'. I will talk about a source that I have used for genealogy, such as a specific source or series in a record office, a book, or a library, museum etc as a source in the broader sense.

If you only follow some of my blogs (which are listed in the sidebar), you won't see 'Sources Sunday' every week. For example, sometimes I will use my UK/Australia Genealogy blog to talk about a source in London or NSW or whatever. Remember that information about Queenslanders may be in record offices in other States and countries (and vice versa, as per the example in Genealogy Leftovers).

This week I want to emphasise the value of hospital admission registers, which have provided a solution to many genealogical dead ends and brick walls. Registers survive for only a few towns, but we live in hope that more may be discovered and deposited at Queensland State Archives. Many people spent time in a hospital far from their home. This applies especially to Brisbane (a large hospital capable of handling difficult cases), Cooktown (many miners and sailors from ships in port) and Croydon (people came from everywhere during the local gold rush).

The registers for Brisbane, Burketown, Cooktown, Croydon, Ingham and Muttaburra are printed volumes with space for these details: name; date admitted; age; birthplace (town, State/county, country); occupation; religion; ship of arrival; how long in the colony; place of residence; marital status; place of marriage, at what age, and name of spouse; names and ages of children living; number and sex of children deceased; father's name and occupation; father's present residence if living (or 'father dead'); mother's maiden name; disease or reason for admission; date of discharge or date and cause of death; and remarks (which may include medical history, social circumstances etc.) Some Brisbane registers also give details of employment, wages, other sources of income, other wage-earners in the family, property, membership of clubs or benefit societies, and name and address of relatives or friends.

Dates of surviving registers, and thousands of names from my indexes to hospital records for those six towns, are on a series of Web pages accessible via my Hospitals page.

Indexes to hospital records for other States are listed in Specialist Indexes in Australia: a genealogist's guide (1998 edition and 2006 supplement), which is available in many libraries.

P.S. - Some of my hospital indexes are now on FindMyPast.

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