Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Friday, July 24, 2015

Have You Thought About Hospital Records?

1916 - WW1 photo of Ward M1 at the Beaufort War Hospital in Fishponds, Bristol, England.
Granted, many of our ancestors probably never saw the inside of a hospital, but what if they did? How do we go about finding hospital records? Well, that depends. If your ancestor was a soldier or other military veteran, his or her medical records could be located along with any existing service records. If the ancestor was treated and died, then death records will reflect the place of death and sometimes the cause. If an ancestors was merely treated at a hospital and then released (escaped) finding the records might take some intensive detective work.

Hospital records are basically business records. Business records may or may not be preserved, but in some cases the hospital may have been in operation for a very long time. For example, Bellvue Hospital in New York has been in operation since 1736 and is celebrating its 275th anniversary. Just as with any other business-type records, very old records may have ended up in any type of repository, such as a state library or archives, historical society or museum. Also remember to check college and university special collections. A search on in the FamilySearch Catalog for the keyword "hospital," returns 2,422 results. Here is a screenshot of some of those results:

In another search on, I found a list of 37 collections.

Here are few more resources:


  1. Hope they weren't in a hospital in NY. They're applying HIPAA retroactively. You won't get it.

  2. Hospitals - especially long-term places - are in census records as well.