Nearly a year ago, I wrote a blog post detailing a large importing project I had begun to undertake. (Sadly?) As I publish this it is my final day Gloucestershire Archives. I will be jumping across the country to West Sussex, and so I thought it would be worthwhile to write about all the hard work our volunteers have contributed to our catalogue. Many of these collections have now been listed to piece level, providing greater detail with names, occupations, dates and other information that will undoubtedly come in handy for family and house historians. To list them first crudely, these collections have now had additional information added to their series and items:
A page from DA26/226/1 – Record of Arrivals by Dursley Rural District Council during World War One, now listed at piece level entry on our Online Catalogue
A recent addition of the personal collection of Mary Doyle, Nurse Dundon McGuane, District Nurse of Brockworth, led to interesting questions regarding ownership of case registers, the history of district nurses, the Central Midwives Board and trends in pregnancy care. It can be found on our Gloucestershire Archives online catalogue under D14737. It’s a small collection, but covers a fascinating time in British and Irish medical and social history.
To establish context, we begin in 1902, with the passing of the 1902 Midwives Act, which was designed to regulate the practice of midwifery. It ordered that midwives be certified practitioners and established penalties for those without certification. The exception to this was those giving assistance in emergencies. The act established the Central Midwives Board, which continued to exist until 1983, whereupon updated legislation and multiple mergers with other nursing organisations formed the current Nursing and Midwifery Council. The Central Midwives Board was responsible for the regulation of the certification and examination of midwives, admission to the Roll of Midwives and annual publication of the Roll, along with regulating the practices of the midwives and the appointment of examiners. Training would take at least three months, whereupon certified midwives were encouraged to keep case registers of their attended deliveries. These registers passed from district nurse to district nurse, each successor picking up where the last left off, often hopping across the country during her working life.
- Innocuous covers, but holds information on: the name and address of the patient, her age, date of booking, and expected date of delivery; the name of the doctor, when they were booked, if they were called in case of an emergency and if they were present at the delivery; the previous number of children and miscarriages the patient has had; any antenatal care given, the date and time of the midwife’s arrival/patient’s admission; the date and hour of the baby’s delivery; the weight, sex and health of the infant; the date of the last visit/discharge; the condition of the mother after giving birth; along with any drugs given during labour and finally any additional remarks. It’s a lot of information for such small books, and obvious why the closure periods are necessary!
My colleague Roz and I have in recent weeks begun to undertake a project which will hopefully increase the usage and visibility of the archives – importing volunteer enhanced records onto our database. Over the next few months, we aim to import much of the hard work our volunteers have put into making our collections more detailed and accessible for researchers.
Our first project was marriage licence allegations and bonds. These are useful additions to marriage registers, as an allegation or bond can provide details such as place of residence, occupation, age, and the occasional family member. As such, they can be a great resource. Or rather, they can be a great resource once you have sifted through thousands upon thousands of entries. To help mitigate this, our volunteers had painstakingly listed each and every entry for the usage of our visitors, and now they have been imported onto our online catalogue for you to see. If you click this link, then enter GDR/Q1, or GDR/Q2, or GDR/Q3 in the Finding Ref field, then click search, you can see for yourself the records, and refine the search by year, narrowing down the massive series.
Therefore, if you search for GDR/Q1, you will find over 21,300 individually recorded entries for each marriage bond we hold, from 1730 to 1823. If you search GDR/Q2, you will find over 18,400 marriage licence allegations (or affidavits) sworn before surrogates, from 1747-1837. Some of the allegations from September 1822 to March 1823 have certified copies of the baptismal entries of both parties attached, as required by the Confirmation of Marriages Act 1822. If you search for GDR/Q3, you will find over 36,800 entries from our volumes of marriage licence allegations (or affidavits) sworn at the Diocesan Registry in Gloucester before the Chancellor and his surrogates between 1637 and 1823. The records have been transcribed in their entirety, and as such there is now no need for the originals to be brought out to view in person. All the information provided in these documents is contained in each entry on our database.
So, let’s provide some context and more details for these records.