This database spans over 90 years from 1853 to 1943. The records provide a fascinating insight and invaluable resource to anyone researching the background of any family member who was a doctor, a dentist or midwife. The Familyrelatives website is available free at the SoG library
Copies of the Medical Directory from 1847 and the Medical Register from 1859 can also be found at the Society of Genealogists Library. In addition the Society of Genealogists has also published online for its members an index to what is possibly the earliest list known as the Medical Register 1779. Compiled by Dr R J Hawkins, this surname index lists all those appearing in the rare 1779 Medical Register, a copy of which is held in the Society’s library. It is hoped to include scanned images of the register in due course.
A dedicated team at Familyrelatives.com spent several months painstakingly scanning and indexing original medical registers allowing them to be searched on different criteria including surname, forename and date to provide one of the most comprehensive and accurate databases available. The records pre-date the foundation in 1858 of the General Medical Council, set up in a back room of what is now the University of Worcester to protect, promote and maintain the health and safety of the community.
Prior to 1858 anyone could call themselves a medical practitioner with some of the treatments worse than the disease and devices resembling ancient instruments of torture but it gave an insight into Victorian imagination and ingenuity. The years 1853 to 1943 saw remarkable developments in the field of medicine and notable medical practitioners:
John Snow (1813-1858) – Discoverer of the means or transmission of Cholera
John Snow (1813-1858) – was voted in 2003 as the greatest Physician of all time some, 145 years after his death, for his evidence based investigation and tracing of Cholera in Soho in 1854. He was the first person to dispel the myth that Cholera was caused by miasma or poor air. He traced the source to a public hand water pump in Soho . Those who drunk from it were infected by bacteria although remarkably all those that worked in the nearby brewery (where water was heated and subject to a separate water source) were not affected.
Joseph Lister (1838-1912) Discovered Carbolic Acid (Antiseptic)
In 1865 Joseph Lister (1838-1912) discovered that by using carbolic acid as an antiseptic during surgery and by ensuring hygienic conditions in theatre and around patients greatly improved chances of survival.
Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) – His discovery saved 200 million people
Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) is arguably responsible for saving in excess of 200 million lives having in 1928 discovered the antibiotic-penicillin, which although accidental has been hailed by many as possibly the greatest advance in medicine. He was Knighted in 1944 and won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1945.
He was also recognized by being awarded the Honorary gold medal from the Royal College of Surgeons, received a fellowship from the University of London, a fellowship from Toronto, Philadelphia, and many other institutions including from Harvard, USA and from Spain. He is buried in St Pauls Cathedral, London.
Sir Ronald Ross (1857-1932) – Identified mosquitoes as the cause of malaria
Another Nobel Prize winner Sir Ronald Ross (1857-1932) identified the mosquito as the cause of malaria during his service in India and distinguished himself in tropical medicine and the prevention of malaria in Indian, Africa , Egypt , Cyprus and Mauritius