Tracing disabled children’s lives in nineteenth-century Scotland through public and institutional records

Hutchison, I. (2023) Tracing disabled children’s lives in nineteenth-century Scotland through public and institutional records. Genealogy, 7(3), 50. (doi: 10.3390/genealogy7030050)

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Records of asylums, schools, and benevolent organisations that intervened in the lives of disabled children in Scotland during the long nineteenth century have survived to varying degrees in public and institutional archives. This might suggest the existence of detailed primary source material that stands in contrast to the sparse data about those disabled children who ‘escaped’ the attention of organisations that aimed to support and direct their lives. However, the records of these formal organisations are inconsistent in what they reveal about the lives of the children under their patronage. This article explores the challenges presented by the records of three organisations, namely, the Scottish National Institution for the Education of Imbecile Children in Larbert, Edinburgh’s Gayfield Square blind school, and East Park Home for Aiding Infirm Children in the Maryhill district of Glasgow. Among the deficiencies of surviving institutional records are the frequent paucity of insights into the lives of their young residents. This article will consider how some of their life journeys can nonetheless be researched by marshalling data from the likes of mandatory registration records and decennial census enumerators’ books. In addition to benefits afforded to genealogists, such records provide historians with materials from which disabled lives can be reconstructed and analysed.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hutchison, Dr Iain
Authors: Hutchison, I.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Journal Name:Genealogy
ISSN (Online):2313-5778
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 The Author(s)
First Published:First published in Genealogy 7(3):50
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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