Useful Sources

If you are searching your family history, the local history section of the library nearest to where your ancestors lived is often a very good place to start. If you want a certificate of a relative who was born, married or died in Scotland then follow this link to the National Records of Scotland See the bottom of the page for more advice on researching NHS staff, particularly relating to the Lothian and South East Scotland region kindly supplied by Lothian Health Services Archives.

For hospitals in the Highlands of Scotland see Jim and Stephen Leslie have researched and written on hospitals in this area, and have published booklets on the hospitals on Skye, and in Lochaber and Nairn, with another on Inverness due for publication in 2016.

Peter Higginbotham’s is a brilliant database of poor law buildings in Britain

Malcolm Shifrin’s is very similar to the workhouses website, and has a mine of fascinating information about Turkish baths. Water therapy and medical baths are an aspect of medical history and featured in a number of hospitals.

The Wellcome Library:  and 

National Library of Scotland has a wonderful collection of maps which can be accessed online 

SCRAN is a subscription site, although much can be viewed free of charge.

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland’s site has a wide collection of photographs and architectural drawings as well as site records

ScotlandsPlaces has many digitised documentary sources, including OS name books and some Medical Officer of Health Reports amongst others.

Our NHS Scotland has an overview of the establishment of the National Health Service

University of Dundee Archives: Hospitals and Medicine adminstrative and biographical histories  histories

A comprehensive list of former asylums in England and Wales with varying accounts of their construction history can be found here

Urbex folks post loads of photos of abandoned and derelict hospitals, one really interesting website I came across recently is this one it covers some former English asylums, and other building types as well.

Information from Lothian Health Services Archives (LHSA) on researching NHS staff: for any information after the mid to late 1940s (when Data Protection would kick in), researchers would need to look at open-to-access resources only rather than staff registers etc. LHSA do no hold ‘personeel files’ on individuals.

Researching Doctors: The Medical Directory can be searched for doctors. LHSA has physical copies right up to 1970s/80s, or they are available on up to 1942 (you would need an account to see results). This was a list of doctors kept by the General Medical Council. It was voluntary to contribute to, but (unlike the Medical Register) it does list appointments for hospital doctors, or their surgery addresses if GPs:  LHSA does not have much on doctors, apart from in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh collections, in which there are appointment lists for more senior posts. LHSA also has images of Residents, junior doctors in their first year after qualification who would train on the hospital site:  Sometimes, appointments would be mentioned in minutes, but this tended to be prior to 1948. LHSA has medical staff committee minutes for certain hospitals post-NHS, but this very much depends on the hospital, and how much detail they went into.

For medical education, people would need to ask University archives, since they organised medical education. LHSA has registers of student tickets for the Royal Infirmary. These were entrance tickets to clinical training sold prior to the NHS to raise funds for the hospital.

Researching Nurses: Up to about the 1960s, training was organised by hospitals. After that, the local Lothian colleges took over (these would morph into the courses at Napier University). LHSA has nurse training records for a number of Lothian hospitals. These tend to be more about exam marks and a short comment about the performance / character of the student from Matron, than a full portrait of someone’s character. People can look on the General Council nursing registers on to see where someone was trained for some periods: will be mentioned in wage books, but this only does say how much they were paid. Hospital magazines could also be a good place to look to see if particular nurses were mentioned (the same with doctors).

Other staff: Very little information survives. Before the NHS, LHSA may have entries for staff in wage books. For post-1948 non-medical/administrative staff, there is usually nothing at all. Sometimes, if people served on a committee, they may be mentioned in minutes, but only as a member.

Further guidance from LHSA:

Other sources: Royal College of Nursing – family history; Who do you think you are – tutorials on researching doctors and nurses; Royal College of General Practitioners – on researching medical ancestors

There’s a link to a book here:

3 thoughts on “Useful Sources

  1. Hello thankyou for your information, i had a grandfather died in scotland and was sent, some where to have a look at him this was in 1873. is there a place i could find his records. please thankyou

  2. My brother and I were both born at Fordbank Maternity Hospital , Milliken Park Lochwinnoch in 1942 and 1945 . Where would I get a record of this .

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