Sources for family history

What information can be found about patients?

We may be able to help you if you have definite evidence that an ancestor was a patient in one of the hospitals; a death certificate would be an example. However, if you have no such evidence but are hoping to find a familiar name by a random search this could be very time consuming and ultimately yield very little information. There are thousands of people mentioned in the records and very few entries have any details. If anything is found at all it is often only a note of a patient's name on admission to a hospital, and possibly a note of the date of discharge or death. In most cases there will be no home addresses and no names of relatives. There is no record of where a deceased patient was buried, apart from those in the burial grounds at the Radcliffe Infirmary (in use 1815-1855) and Littlemore Hospital (in use 1882-1954).

Access to patient case records is governed by several statutes, including the Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act. Usually records will be available for general access 100 years after the death of the individual concerned. The following are the only hospitals for which any patient records survive before 1920. For further information see under the appropriate hospital in the List of hospitals

  • Brackley Cottage Hospital
  • Horton General Hospital
  • Littlemore Hospital
  • Oxford Eye Hospital
  • Radcliffe Infirmary
  • Warneford Hospital

And what about hospital staff?

The appointments of senior staff are usually recorded in minute books, but early nurses and all junior and support staff are hard to trace. It is unlikely that we can help you unless you have a name and approximate date.

Generally the best you can hope for is dates of appointment and of departure or death for senior administrators, doctors and matrons. For members of staff and of the public who were on hospital committees it is likely that the dates of their membership of the committee can be found, and possibly minutes of their participation in meetings.

The survival of a few account books means that occasionally nurses or junior staff can be identified for a short period. If a member of staff was dismissed or disciplined there may be details of the offence in the minute books.

The following are the only hospitals for which any records of individual staff survive (apart from entries in reports and minute books for senior staff) before 1920. For further information see under the appropriate hospital in the List of hospitals

  • Littlemore Hospital
  • Radcliffe Infirmary
  • Warneford Hospital