Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming this year’s Centre for Research Collections Summer School attendees who came to the centre to gain a sense of the different areas of work that we do here. The summer school aims to help those who are interested in a career in the heritage, museum, and libraries sectors and they were provided with a week-long schedule of activities including tours, talks, and practical exercises.
At LHSA we decided to treat them by introducing them to the world of enquiries. We receive hundreds of enquiries every year from people wishing to learn more about individuals, hospital history, local history and the history of medicine. Many of the people who contact us here at LHSA are family historians who wish to learn more about their relatives who perhaps were patients or staff in a Lothian hospital. We decided to let the group do the research for a selection of family history enquiries in order to see how much information they could find.
The Summer School group were split into four groups with each group given a set of records and an enquiry to solve.
One group was given records from the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and asked to find out as much as they could about a patient who was admitted there in 1902. From the General Register of Patients, Register of Deaths, Certification Papers and a Casebook they were able to learn about how he came to be admitted to the hospital, the nature of his illness, the cause of his death, and even details such as hair colour and weight.
Another group were asked to find information about a woman who worked as a housemaid at Rosslynlee Hospital. They were not given a specific date but were told that she stopped working there in 1908 when she married. Using the Register of Attendants Leaving and Register of Attendants Engaged and working back from 1908 they were able to find her employment record. They also read the rules and regulations for staff in order to provide the enquirer with a little background information on what it would have been like for their relative to work in the hospital.