Thursday, 27 October 2011

Royal Historical Journals Free Access

Researching historical medical and scientific matters has been greatly enhanced with the news today that the Royal Society has digitised and made available journals greater than 70 years old for free access.

The Royal Society journal was founded in 1665 and eminent scientists and men of enquiring minds have been submitting information to the Society ever since (women also submitted but much later in the piece). The journals are searchable at  Historical Journal Search

You are able to access PDF copies of articles such as this one:

An Account of Several Persons Seized with the Goal-Fever, Working in Newgate; And of the Manner, in Which the Infection Was Communicated to One Intire Family; by John Pringle, M. D. F. R. S.Phil. Trans. 1753 48:42-55; doi:10.1098/rstl.1753.0007  ( spelling as per the journal)

It is interesting to look at the evolution of science since 1665. The Journal is the first ever peer reviewed journal and it is fantastic that everyone have been granted free access.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Update on Surgeon's Logs

Recently I wrote about the value of   Surgeon's logs  to health research. Apart from the 14 Journals available for download from the UK National archives previously there was not much available online, apart from an occasional transcription.

However that has now changed with announcing the release of two record sets of Surgeons reports on their blog. An excerpt is shown below.

"These collections are journals that were penned by ships’ medical officers, who were required to keep a record of all patients, treatments and outcomes during a sea voyage.
UK Royal Navy Medical Journals, 1815-17 and UK Surgeon Superintendents’ Journals of Convict Ships, 1858-1867 include over 43,000 records depicting vivid and often gruesome details of ‘contemporary’ treatments and medical practices, as well as stories of life aboard convict ships, from the perils and prevalence of grog-related accidents to a simple chronicle of the daily routine on a 19th century sailing vessel."

They are fully indexed with images.

These are a valuable addition to our research but do not cover much of the early convict transports. To get a picture of the conditions and illnesses aboard some of the earlier convict ships, the UK National Archives have four early journals available for download. These are not indexed but the image quality is good

ADM101/1/9  Albion male convict ship to New South Wales 9 May-14 September 1828
ADM 101/23/3  Eliza male convict ship to New South Wales 19 June- 26 November 1822
ADM101/38/2  John Barry convict ship to New South Wales 16 May- 10 November 1821
ADM 101/57/8 Ocean convict ship to New South Wales 21 June 1817 - 16 June 1818

Whilst earlier than the new release from Ancestry these are still later than the very early voyages which are primarily available on microfilm of the  Australian Joint Copying Project and should be available at your State Library and in many Family History Society Libraries.

Other journals have been transcribed and are available on the Net, often as a PDF file and so worth doing a Google search.   
From a health perspective it is excellent to see these type of resources becoming available for research.