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Gloucester Lunatic Asylum

Gloucester Lunatic Asylum

Posted: 26 Jun 2011 1:26AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 26 Jun 2011 4:30PM GMT
Surnames: Smith, Dickerson

Hi, i have been doing some research on my tree and found a relative called mary ann smith (nee dickerson ) in gloucester lunatic asylum in 1871 & 91 cencus.In 1861 she is living in stonehouse with her husband and children, i was wondering if anyone would know why she might of been commited, many thanks raig

Re: Gloucester Lunatic Asylum

Posted: 26 Jun 2011 9:25AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 26 Jun 2011 4:30PM GMT
Can we have some names & DOB so we can help figure things out

Re: Gloucester Lunatic Asylum

Posted: 26 Jun 2011 11:15AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 26 Jun 2011 4:30PM GMT
Surnames: Smith, Dickerson
Hi, mary ann's husband was called joseph smith and was born in 1816 in minchinhampton,gloucestershire. Mary ann smith (nee dickerson )was born in 1822 in stonehouse, gloucestershire, they had three children called thomas d born 1845, margaret e born 1849 and lucy born 1850, all born in stonehouse. I am after any info on why she might of been commited

Re: Gloucester Lunatic Asylum

Posted: 26 Jun 2011 12:42PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 26 Jun 2011 4:31PM GMT

Re: Gloucester Lunatic Asylum

Posted: 26 Jun 2011 3:04PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 26 Jun 2011 4:31PM GMT
Hi
Just had a look at Mary Ann on the 1891 census lunatic asylum, it says she is a wid. and in the last column not very nice it says she s a lunatic, have you found her death may be her death certificate could help

Shelagh

Re: Gloucester Lunatic Asylum

Posted: 27 Jun 2011 2:13AM GMT
Classification: Death
Surnames: Hoare, Wakefield
Hmmm, Shelagh, that's interesting. How did you find a diagnosis? I have a grgrgrandfather who died at Barnwood Asylum, presumably the asylum to which our original poster was referring. He died in 1895, we suspect of syphilis, which results in "lunacy." He lived with his family in Cirencester until shortly before his death. I have communicated with "someone somewhere" in the past (I MUST track that communication down) and was informed that one must provide the identification proving my relatedness in order to obtain information about my family member.

It seems to me that as I read the response to my query I would be able to do this online somehow. Otherwise, a visit to the Gloucester Records Office, again with appropriate identification, would do the trick.

Thankfully, I have a cousin who lives a short distance from Gloucester and is going to attempt to follow-through, as a ten-hour flight and another 3-4 hours by land would be required for me to accomplish the same outcome.

Again, Barnwood Asylum is the name of the asylum in Gloucester, as I recall.

Good luck,
Linda

Re: Gloucester Lunatic Asylum

Posted: 27 Jun 2011 9:49AM GMT
Classification: Query
Hi

On the original page of the census not the transcribed version the end column states if a parson is 1:deaf and dumb 2: blind 3: lunatic, imbecile or idiot, on Mary Ann's page they are marked as Lunatic and just one Imbecile

If you a are wanting to buy birth death or marriage certificates from 1837 onward this can be done online have you tried the Fee BMD site find the person you are looking for and it will explain how to buy online
If someone is saying you have to prove you are related to the person who's certificate you are ordering, no you don't

Shelagh

Re: Gloucester Lunatic Asylum

Posted: 27 Jun 2011 11:59AM GMT
Classification: Query
Aaah, yes, Shelagh, you are correct with regard to the census. But I have only the 1891 census when he was last documented at his own property with his family, with no reference to blindness or cognitive impairment. In fact, as late as 1893 he was copyrighting material in London. That given, clearly his cognitive decline was rapid, as would be expected with syphilis, and followed his declining health. It seems doubtful that he would have had the capacity to manage the legalese required to undertake copyrighting his work as late as just 2 years prior to his death, even if his family was "protecting," "sheltering" him from outside his own small family-world, as it were. Obviously I am making some assumptions here, but they seem reasonable, especially as this was a man who married at age 42 and died at 56. Doubtless he was quite the ladies' man before marriage ;), leaving one pre-marriage child and 5 with his wife (13-years younger) of only 14 years, the youngest child only 7.

I've never seen handwritten versions of the Free BMD indices, and was not even able to bring him up at the BMD site, despite accessing the transcription through Ancest.com and including it in my tree, as a result. Doubtless I am doing something wrong in my site query. Hmmmm.

I was not as clear as I might have been about research and obtaining info as I described earlier. Again, if I recall correctly, the request was submitted in an attempt to clarify the actual diagnosis (ie. lunacy secondary to syphilis??) and made to the county of Gloucestershire, which is the holder of the records of Barnwood Asylum, which was closed a good time ago. So . . . any request for records from the county/asylum would require validation of familial or legal (conservatorship) relationship in order to obtain them. Again, as I recall, that would include my own birth certificate and current legal identification of some sort.

My earlier response was perhaps not as clear as it could have been related to either the census or the asylum data. My apologies. Sometimes I just get lost in all the detail we genealogists must sort through. And I am in GOOD company, aren't I? I learn so much from my fellows and am always grateful for that learning. I've only been at this for a couple of years and ALWAYS welcome my mentors' assistance and clarity.

If I've missed something again, please let me know. Heaven knows I won't live long enough to learn it all on my own {chuckling}.

Best,
Linda

Re: Gloucester Lunatic Asylum

Posted: 27 Jun 2011 4:01PM GMT
Classification: Query
Hi Linda

Sorry its my fault I got a bit side tracked there I was still looking at and for Mary Ann trying to find her death cert.
What is you mans name and so on may be we could look for him we may turn something up,

Shelagh

Re: Gloucester Lunatic Asylum

Posted: 30 Jun 2011 12:58AM GMT
Classification: Query
SIDETRACKED?!?!!! While only working with genealogy research!?!? Sheesh, Shelagh, I don't know anyone else who would get sidetracked in this venue {chuckling}.

So, OK, I've attached a snipped copy of the 1) England & Wales, FreeBMD Death Index: 1837-1915, and 2) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1861-1941 for my GrGrfather herewith. The family name is Hoare, not of the wealthy banking Hoare's, though, sadly. My GrGrandfather was Francis Hoare, born Cirencester Dec1838, died Gloucester 1Nov1895, buried Cirencester parish church.

Note that the probate index identifies him to be of Cirencester, but his death at "Barnwood house," while the death index simply states Gloucester. And the 1890 Census does not identify any cognitive or vision impairment. Interestingly, you will also see that there is a nurse in the 1890 residence, but with a 2-year-old in the household that might not be unexpected, perhaps.

I have other stories through newspapers & journals as to his seemingly 'normal' functioning in his community, despite his obviously emerging disability. An enormous fire on Coxwell Street which he helped to fight; his engagement in musical composition and acting throughout the Midlands, and his copyrighting of his photography artwork; finally, responsibility for the family business as the trade collapsed in England. He was buried in the family grave at the Parish Church in Cirencester, unlike many of his uncles/aunts, sibs and their families, many of whom were dissenters and buried elsewhere. He was quite the diverse gentleman, it would seem, even though not wealthy. If you can find something else with which to clarify his last five years of life that would be fun for sure.

But, I've taken this discussion off-track from Craig's original query. It looks like I've become sidetracked, myself. My apologies.

If you've gotten this far, I'm not sure if I've accomplished anything here for you, Craig. Hopefully I've highlighted some of the difficulty and potential opportunity in researching and clarifying death cause / location / relatedness. Doubtless everyone has already had that experience, tho {chuckling}. And perhaps my story helps to broaden thinking as to family history. That someone passed on in an 'insane asylum' doesn't need to mean they were 'lunatics' in the sense that we think of mental illness during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, wandering about, talking to themselves, seeing things the rest of us cannot see. There was so little available to help those suffering mental illness until only fifty-or-so years ago. I cannot even begin to imagine what life must have been like for those suffering, as well as their families, such impairment.

And remember, Mary Ann was a 70ish-year-old-widow, if I understand your description. Her children were grown, likely moved about and pre-occupied with their lives during a radically changing period in British history. Was the family close enuf to be supportive of an aged widow during her grief. Perhaps her mourning resulted in a deep depression, leaving her unable to respond to 'the world' in ways that others expected, thus the label "lunacy." [And, oh, BTW, I'm not sure I understand the distinction between lunacy (crazy?) and imbecile (stupid?).] Just trying think outside the box for you, Craig, in the event you are unable to find the information you seek right away. I mean, remember my Francis. He wasn't a "lunatic"; he had a medical illness which resulted in brain damage shortly before death. Your Mary may have been similarly labelled as crazy, when in fact she was not. Does that make sense? So keep noodling around.

Aaanyway, just some of my thoughts. I hope some if helps.

Linda



And, BTW, the attached file is a jpeg snip of a doc. I'm not sure it will be legible, but pass it along anyway.


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