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Legacy of past nurses preserved in digital record

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The Royal College of Nursing’s records of more than 1.5 million nurses have been digitised for the first time by a specialist family history website.

The new resource, which spans two world wars and several continents, will give families and historians the chance to uncover the previously untold stories of nurses, said the RCN.

“This unique project will help preserve their legacy for many more years to come”

Janet Davies

The records span registrations and appointments from 1891 to 1968, providing a rare glimpse into nursing and women’s history in the UK, it added.

The online resource, which is being launched in the college’s centenary year, includes the records of its founder and first member Dame Sarah Swift.

Other famous nurses to be preserved on the Ancestry UK website include Dame Joanna Margaret Cruickshank, the founder of the Royal Air Force Nursing Service, and Dame Emily Mathieson Blair, former matron-in-chief of the British Red Cross Society.

Royal College of Nursing

Legacy of past nurses preserved in digital record

Sarah Swift

Janet Davies, RCN chief executive and general secretary, said: “It’s wonderful to see the records of so many inspiring nurses being digitised for the very first time, especially during our centenary year.

“This resource gives people the chance to travel back in time to discover the real lives of their nursing relatives,” she said.

She added: “Caring for the nation for generations, often through wars and crises, these nursing staff deserve to be remembered, and this unique project will help preserve their legacy for many more years to come.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Ancestry have also just digitised the Roll of Queen's Nurses from 1891 to 1930. The Queen' Nurse roll contains the training records of tens of thousands of district nurses who trained under the auspices of the Queen's Nursing Institute. The Roll is held at the Wellcome Library in London. The digitised resources will be of huge interest to social, nursing and family historians.

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