Family History Research at LHSA

Was your ancestor a Doctor?

With the exception of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, survival rates for records of doctors are not good.   We would recommend that you start by looking at the series of annual Medical Registers and Medical Directories which note doctors liscensed to practise, and where and when a doctor received his/her qualifications and list his/her various posts (unfortunately without covering dates).  Both these volumes are available to consult in the Research Support Collection in the Centre for Research Collections(6th floor, Main Library, University of Edinburgh). Alternatively, older editions of both Registers and Directories are available online via Ancestry.

Please note that personnel records created within the last 100 years may be covered by the UK Data Protection Act.

Further information on Restrictions on Access

Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh

The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh kept a very complete list of Resident doctors from 1838 -1937 along with an extensive series of photographs of the Residents from the 1850s-1970s (with some gaps).  Many of these photographs are available to view on the SCRAN website if you search under surname AND resident AND Edinburgh.


The Infirmary also kept registers of Medical and Surgical Staff Appointments from c.1844 -1954, although they do not tend to be very detailed.  There are also files of applications for, and appointments to, particular posts.

Other Lothian Hospitals

In most hospitals it may be worth looking at minutes, annual reports, press-cuttings books and salary books to find appointment and resignation dates for doctors.  Some hospitals such as the Royal Edinburgh Hospital for Sick Children hold files of applications for, and appointments to, posts of Resident Physician, Resident Surgeon, etc.          

Dr Who Files

LHSA has a collection of obituaries/brief biographies relating to eminent Edinburgh and Lothian doctors, we can check this for 'your' doctor and if successful we can either provide a copy or make it available for you to consult in the reading room.                 

To get started

1) Look up the collection catalogue for the particular hospital you are interested in to find out what records are available.

Edinburgh and Lothian Hospital Catalogues

Dingleton Hospital

Advice on Searching our Catalogues

2) Contact us to make an appointment to come in and consult the records, or to make an enquiry.

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