General Collection Information
This collection contains asylum registers for Cardiff, Wales from 1845 to 1920. Included within this database are admission and discharge registers, burial records, and indexes to case notes. The details can be a great stepping stone to tracing your ancestors and learning more about them.
Using this Collection
The details come from an online database which includes the following items:
Asylum registers often contain a wealth of useful information. Admission and discharge registers may have extra details including what was recorded about the patient’s symptoms and diagnosis, who admitted them, their occupation, and more. This can help you connect relatives and know where your ancestor was at a specific time.
Burial registers contain fewer details but can help identify an ancestor’s religion, where they were buried, or if they were exhumed.
History of the Collection
Prior to the 19th century, care for someone with a mental health history fell to families and was usually dealt with at home. People with mental illness whose families couldn’t care for them often found themselves destitute, imprisoned, or in workhouses. Asylums were privately owned and expensive.
In 1845, the Lunacy Act established the Lunacy Commission to oversee both private and public asylums. It worked in conjunction with the County Asylum Act, which obligated counties to build county-run asylums for the poor and criminally insane. It also set guidelines for what was to be monitored within the asylums.
The Lunacy Commission oversaw not only the condition of patients, but also conditions at the facilities themselves. It was also responsible for identifying individuals in workhouses or prisons who would benefit from psychiatric care and moving them to institutions for treatment.
The records in this collection were originally housed in the Glamorgan Archives.
Glamorgan Archives. “DHGL - Glamorgan County Lunatic Asylum/Glamorgan County Mental Hospital/Glanrhyd Hospital, Records - 1858-2011.” Last Modified 2020, http://calmview.cardiff.gov.uk/Record.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&id=DHGL.
Historic Chronicles. “Bridgend Asylums, South Wales.” Last Modified September 9, 2013, https://hchroniclesblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/09/bridgend-asylums-south-wales/.
Science Museum. “A Victorian Mental Asylum.” Last Modified June 13, 2018, https://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/objects-and-stories/medicine/victorian-mental-asylum.