Family History

If you have a medical professional in your family history, one of our member museums may be able to help with your research.  Some museums offer the opportunity to carry out the research yourself while others will investigate their records on your behalf.  Some charges apply for specific museums.  Please contact the relevant museum to find out more.  Museums not specifically listed on this page may also be able to help with your requirements - just get in touch.



Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum
St Mary's Hospital
Praed Street
W2 1NY

Contact: Kevin Brown, Trust Archivist and Curator
Tel: 020 3312 6528

Relevant material: Archives of St Mary's Hospital, St Mary's Hospital Medical School.
Services for family historians: Access to archives by appointment.



Bethlem Museum of the Mind
Bethlem Royal Hospital
Monks Orchard Road

Contact: Colin Gale Tel: 020 3228 4053

Relevant holdings: Family historians may find information on patients in the Admission Registers and Medical Case Books. The Salary Books and Character Books may provide details about staff. Additional information can be found in the Court Books and the documents relating to Bethlem tenants and governors. Whilst using the wifi at Bethlem Museum of the Mind you can also access Find Your Past for free. Access to archives is by appointment only. Please fill out an online form detailing your request, available here .



BDA Dental Museum
64 Wimpole Street

Contact: Melanie Parker
Tel: 020 7535 5860

Relevant holdings and services for family historians: The BDA Dental Museum offers a free research service for family historians. Using the Dentists’ Register we can trace dentists back to 1879 and sometimes earlier. We can also search for obituaries. Unfortunately we do not hold personal records relating to other dental professionals such as nurses, technicians and hygienists. Researchers are also welcome to book an appointment to search the registers themselves. For further information please see our website page 'Was your ancestor a dentist?' (link above).



British Optical Association Museum
The College of Optometrists
42 Craven Street

Contact: Neil Handley, Curator
Tel: +44 (0)20 7766 4353

Relevant holdings and services for family historians: The Museum offers a free service for family historians interested in researching the professional careers of sight-testing opticians (optometrists) from the 1890s onwards and may be able to offer limited advice for research into other aspects of the field including dispensing opticians, chemist-opticians and people working in manufacturing optics.

As an amalgamation of several prior organisations we hold a wide but incomplete range of records for several defunct professional bodies and specialist societies. These include registers, examination records, returned certificates and journal articles such as personal tributes and obituaries. We also hold a complete set of published General Optical Council Registers 1960-2005. These list individuals or bodies corporate registered to test sight and/or supply and fit spectacles. You can request by email a copy of our fact sheet: 'Was Your Ancestor an Optician?'



The Royal College of Surgeons
35-43 Lincoln's Inn Fields

Relevant holdings: Printed sources relating to surgery and medicine such as The Medical Directory, College membership lists, the Lives of the Fellows, and access to online catalogues for the Library and the Archives.

Services for family historians: The Library at the Royal College of Surgeons of England is open every weekday to genealogists interested in tracing the history of family members with a surgical background. Please contact the archives by email at to book an appointment. We ask you to contact us at least two days in advance so that we can warn you of any closures, or disruptions, and because spaces are limited. If you are unable to visit us we provide a limited enquiry service (£15.00 per name) if your ancestor had clear College connections. We will acknowledge receipt of your enquiry within 5 working days and endeavour to answer your queries within 10 working days (at times of high demand).
Contact: Genealogical Enquiries, The Archivist, The Royal College of Surgeons of England, 35-43 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3PE


Royal Pharmaceutical Society Museum
66 East Smithfield

Contact: Keeper of the Museum Collections
Tel: 020 7572 2210
Website: www.rpharms/museum-services/research-service.asp

Relevant holdings: The Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain was founded in 1841. From 1868-2010 it was compulsory for all individuals in the business of compunding and dispensing medicines to meet criteria which qualified them to register with the Society.

The Society published the List of Members and Associates from 1841-1868, The Register of Pharmaceutical Chemists from 1868-2010, and The Register of Premises from 1935-2010.

Services for family historians: The Museum of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society offers a pre-paid research service to family historians and others seeking to trace the careers of individuals or the history of pharmacy premises. 

All clients are supplied with a free copy of the Museum's information sheet 'Tracing people and premises in pharmacy', which explains the sources available and lists other possible research centres.



Royal College of Physicians
11 St Andrews Place
Regent's Park


Relevant holdings: the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) is an institution made up of and representing medical practitioners who specialise in clinical subjects not involving surgery. The RCP collects and publishes obituaries containing biographical information on all past Fellows from its foundation in 1518 to the present day.

Services for family historians: to search for whether an individual was a fellow, search Munk's Roll. If the individual was a fellow, their biographical details will either be available online or a reference to the hard copy entry can be provided. To receive a photocopy of the hard copy entry for an individual, please email the RCP with the details of the entry requested, providing a current postal address.



Royal London Hospital Museum and Archives

Relevant holdings: Resources likely to be of interest to family historians may be found on the hospital website.



St. Bartholomew's Hospital Museum and Archives

Relevant holdings: Resources likely to be of interest to family historians may be found on the hospital website.



Wellcome Library
183 Euston Road

Contact: Library Enquiries
Tel: +44 (0)20 7611 8722

Relevant holdings: Much of the material in the Wellcome Library can be useful to the biographer or family historian. The Biography and Family History guide [PDF] includes the following information: types of material and how to search them, printed matter (books, journals etc.), electronic resources (databases and websites), archives and manuscripts, pictorial works, background reading, and other resources.

Services for family historians: The Wellcome Library is freely open to the public. Please bring one form of identification and proof of your address on your first visit and allow ten minutes to complete the registration process.


Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London
Apothecaries' Hall
Black Friars Lane


Relevant holdings: The apprenticeship bindings and membership records (from 1617), and candidates' entry books and the lists of Licentiates and pharmacy technicians (originally examined as 'Assistant to an Apothecary'), 1815-late 20th century, especially are very useful sources of information for family historians and genealogists.

Services for family historians: Details of the kinds of records held, and guidance and advice for family historians, are posted on the Archives webpage. All enquiries should be made in writing and addressed to the Clerk. Details of any information already known, and the sources used, would be very helpful. Emails are acceptable but full contact details, including home or institutional postal address, must be supplied by the enquirer.