Family History at the Wellcome Library

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April’s edition of the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? magazine includes a feature on the best websites for researching medical ancestors in the UK.

Rather pleasingly, the Wellcome Library’s website is chosen as the ‘Best Overall’ site. Our free to download Biographical and family history sources guide is described as “a useful general introduction to family history research, touching on doctors, physicians, surgeons, apothecaries, nurses, midwives and dentists”.

Also flagged for attention is the “captivating” Wellcome Images and also our Medical Archives and Manuscript Survey (which gathered information about medical records from 1600-1945, held in Greater London repositories).

Ranked just behind the Wellcome Library’s website is that of the Hospital Records Database (HRD), which is jointly maintained by the Wellcome Library and the National Archives. The HRD holds information on the location of hospital records (as opposed to the actual records themselves), and focuses mostly on records which have been transferred to local record offices or are still administered by health authority archives.

Genealogical researchers have become much more aware of the rich resources that the Wellcome Library can offer and this accolade is the gratifying product of a concentrated campaign to widen our readership in these areas: also of note recently was a large feature in the January 2009 issue of Family History Monthly.

We can also add that as part of our range of user workshops, the Wellcome Library also offers a popular introductory “Hunt the Ancestor” session for those wishing to trace their (medical) family history.

Ross Macfarlane

Ross Macfarlane is the Research Engagement Officer at the Wellcome Library.

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