Wednesday, 16 November 2011

A visit to the Wellcome Library

I blogged about the Wellcome Library back in September and put a visit there on my to do list for my next trip to London.  That happened on Tuesday.

The library is a short walk on Euston Road from the British Library, and even closer to the Warren Street underground station where I exited off the Northern Line. Euston Square underground station is yet closer.

The library forms only part of the institution The Wellcome Trust. I had limited time. There was much ìn the building I didn't explore including the bookstore and cafe on the ground floor.

On the second floor (it would be the third in North America) is the main entrance to the library where I registered as a reader. That took filling out a form plus two pieces of identification, a passport and driver`s licence worked, and I ended up with another plastic card with my photo on. There was no charge.

The main purpose of the visit was to get the card, valid for three years, so I could access their registered patrons-only online resources, including the 19th Century British Library Newspapers, Illustrated London News Historical Archive : 1842-2003, and Times Digital Archive.

I had previously identified an item in the collection I wanted to look at which required some time to retrieve. I browsed the collection. Recall that it`s a library based on an original private collection on the history of medicine. What did I find of genealogical interest?

Register of Nurses, the first dated 1916/23
Medical Register, 1859-2003 (broken)
Medical Directory, starts 1846, 1870-2012
Midwives Roll, 1901-1978/79
Physiotherapists Register 1963-1964 ; 1970-1974
Opticians Register 1960-63

plus, numerous parish register transcriptions.

My most surprising find was a run of the Journal of Family History.  The current editor is from the History Department at Carleton University! It's an academic definition of Family History, more the history of the family, full of articles that may be of interest in putting context to your own family history. An example is this article by Sandra Rollings-Magnusson in the most recent issue:

Flax Seed, Goose Grease, and Gun Powder: Medical Practices By Women Homesteaders in Saskatchewan (1882-1914) 
Various studies conducted over the past three decades have highlighted the social, political, and economic impact that women homesteaders had on the western prairie region. Their involvement on the family homestead, whether taking part in subsistence and domestic chores or as workers in the fields, was a necessary aspect of the development and success of family farming and an agriculture-based economy in Western Canada. This paper reveals details of another aspect of family labor that often fell on the shoulders of women, that is, the provision of medical care needed to ensure the health of themselves, their spouses, and their children. Given the labor-intensive nature of the frontier lifestyle, the associated physical hazards, the number of disease-susceptible children in the region, and the scarcity of medical institutions and personnel, women were often called upon by their families and neighbors to deal with outbreaks of disease, injuries, and health crises. Using survey data collected by the Saskatchewan Archives Board in 1955 to illustrate the nature of the work performed, this paper argues that women's health care labor efforts were vital to the preservation of homesteading families in the prairie region.

1 comment:

Barb said...

Hi John,
Your readers may like to know that they can access these and many other on line resources by applying by email for a Lancashire England Library card. When I did it there was no cost, or residency requirement.