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What did being in an "institution" mean in the 1900's?

(10 Posts)
Makingachange2019 Sat 18-May-19 16:27:13

Started on ancestry this week, and I've come across a record for my great grandmother.

In the 1911 Census, she's not listed in the family home with her parents and brother, but is listed as being a "patient" elsewhere.

Where it says she's a patient it says "relationship to head of family or position in institution". So if she was a patient, I'm guessing that means she was in an institution, so is that a hospital? A work house?

Just wondering where I go now about finding out where she was, and why she was there.


DecomposingComposers Sat 18-May-19 16:28:35

Presumably an asylum or the work house. Is it not named on the census?

FizzBuzzBangWoof Sat 18-May-19 16:32:23

I imagine it could be a hospital or a mental asylum

Makingachange2019 Sat 18-May-19 16:34:37

It's not named, no.

She was 3 years old at the time.

ProfYaffle Sat 18-May-19 16:37:44

How are you accessing the record? On ancestry you can scroll through the pages. If you view the image there are arrows on either side of the screen, you click on these to go to adjacent pages.

It seems to be usual to have a communal census return for a workhouse type institution. If you scroll back to the beginning of the document it should name the institution.

Seeline Sat 18-May-19 16:39:07

Could be an isolation hospital then - scarlet fever, TB and possibly polio at that time resulted in long stays in hospital. Or she could have just happened to be in hospital for something minor by chance in census day.

LemonMousse Sat 18-May-19 16:54:23

As Seeline says it could be something as simple as her being hospitalised on the day of the census rather than in a workhouse or asylum.
The census only records who was at a particular address on that day.

DecomposingComposers Sat 18-May-19 17:19:45

Can you find her on subsequent census returns? So does she return to the family?

Weren't children placed in institutions for what are today, common medical conditions eg epilepsy?

Might be useful to see if you can find out what happened to her.

stellarparallax Fri 24-May-19 19:42:09

If she’s not on the 1911 census, there’s no later census to check, as the 1921 one hasn’t been released yet.

My guess would be a temporary hospitalisation. In any case, the hospital should have included her on their census return. Maybe consider possible misspelling of her name if you haven’t found her by doing a search already?

isthatabloborwhat Sun 02-Jun-19 15:03:01

They used the word institution to cover all manner of different places - hospital, workhouse, sanatorium, asylum etc.

It was used instead of the word 'household' I think.

Have you looked at all the pages for the same address as her entry? If it was an institution then there could be quite a lot. You need to find the first one, which should give the name of the place.

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