Library Blog - Further Q & A on Orpington Institute

 Query and Answers to further queries following Orpington Institute request.

  • 1) You discovered "Two patients online who died at Orpington Institute. Obray, John Robert, Born 1872 in Sheerness, Kent, England, Died Jun 27 1939 and Alice Mary Maude Louise LOPEZ was born about 1862 in Jamaica, Died on 8 Dec 1937…". Where did you find the death information on Orpington patients and why would they be listed as dying at the Orpington when it changed it's name in 1936? It is like a lot of us, we don't accept changes readily. I still call places by the name I knew them as a Kid but officialdom or development of areas have renamed them. That's why local knowledge of Family Historians and Local Historians is so important. Example 'Botany Bay' at Crayford, Kent near where the brickworks and saw mill were. It i is now the junction of Thames Road and Iron Mill Lane where the Jolly Farmer PH was. The information on the deaths was on the Internet, but Googling it needs a little lateral thinking sometimes.
  • 2) Is it possible to access patient records from 1937? Lots have been destroyed but if they still exist you will come against the 100 year closure regulations. The Society does hold some Asylum admin records. While they occasionally give patients names its mainly the names of medical staff, suppliers and contractors. NWKFHS does not hold Orpington Institute records.
  • 3) Would she have been buried on Institute grounds or a regular cemetery? Some institutions had their own graveyards; like Stone Hospital; but others would send them to the local municipal cemeteries unless the families claimed the bodies for burial. Have you looked at our Ladywell and Brockley cemetery database?
  • 4) Would a GRO death certificate tell me cause of death? Yes most definitely. In addition you will get the address and the name of the informant. Any good English 'how to do family history' book will have examples. The form changed occasionally but the data is basically the same.
  • 5) The certificates are generally from the later part of 1837 as you know, but there are overseas certificates especially for the military from 1796-1955 all under the Army Chaplain Births, Deaths and Marriages. So, your 1881 Jamaica marriage may well be in these indexes and therefore can be ordered from the ONS as the others certificates. These don't always give all the same details but very occasionally more.
  • 6) I've never ordered a certificate because of the prohibitive cost! I'm afraid this is sometimes unavoidable as you need to verify and prove a descent. If the family have not kept copies then we are all stuck with this problem. Sometimes there are ways around this problem but the accuracy, even of 'Newspaper' articles is not always to be relied upon. Have you read the American author Elizabeth Shown Mills 'Evidence Explained', if not have a look at her web site about verifying research. It along with Michael Whitfield Foster's 'A comedy of errors' or 'The marriage records of England and Wales 1837-1899' are eye openers.
  • 7) Does your society organize cemetery transcription/headstone photo projects? It's very big over here. Some family history branches sell this information but others post it for free on Findagrave.com. Yes. The Society has done a lot of work on MIs (Monumental Inscriptions) and recently we have been helping the CWGC with the military graves found in the local cemeteries. Our publications and project volunteers can answer questions on them. Email publications@nwkfhs.org.uk for details if you cannot find them in the publication lists and our eshop.
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