New service aids researchers tracing nurses


24 November 2016
Xmas-p6-nurse-pic-(c)-RCN-Archives-94702.jpg RCN launches family history service
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is launching a family history service

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is launching a family history service following the recent digitisation of its key nursing registers by Ancestry.

The RCN made records of more than 1.5 million nurses from 1891-1968 available via the genealogy website in August, allowing family historians to start tracing their nursing ancestors online. The registers provide a unique insight into nursing and women’s history in the UK with information including the nurse’s name, registration date and number; sometimes a home address, place and date of qualification and other personal details.

At the time of writing, details of the new service were expected to go live at on 23 November. From here, researchers will be able to submit a web search request form. Once this is received, archives staff will provide 15 minutes of free searching for any RCN member and, after that, the service will be £20 per hour. Katharine Baumgartner, customer services information assistant at the RCN Library and Archives, explained: ‘Within this, we will search up to four names. If a particular search proves difficult we will contact the requestor and ask if they wish to pay for a further hour of searching.’

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Only details compliant with the Data Protection Act will be supplied and terms and conditions will be available online.

The Ancestry collection and family history service will be officially launched at a reception on 8 December at the Royal College of Nursing, 20 Cavendish Square, London W1G 0RN. Attendees will be able to explore and discover the new service and learn about the digitised nursing records. Free places can be booked online at

The RCN is celebrating its centenary year and is running a free exhibition at its Library and Heritage Centre until March 2017 – A healthful form of work: The History of Public Health Nursing – shining a light on public health nursing from the 1800s to today; see

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