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Full helpers description

Medical Examinations in connection with the Colonies and Protectorates

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine


Medical records of people who emigrated to the colonies between 1898 and 1919. If you have a relative you can't trace during this period, then this archive may show where they went. The records also hold a small amount of information about the interviewees' immediate relatives.

Detailed usage description

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine holds an archive of the medical examinations of people who emigrated to the British colonies and protectorates between 1898 and 1919. As well as giving a detailed account of the subject's health, each record gives a small amount of family history parents, children and siblings) as well as some details about their current job, the job that they were intending to take up in the colonies and its location.

If you have a relative who apparently 'disappeared' at the end of the 19th Century, e.g. they're in the 1891 census, but not in the 1901 census, they may have emigrated, and this collection may give you a clue as to where and when they went. Also, although the family history on the record is brief, it could be useful to give supporting evidence to clarify ambiguities in your family history.

How to tell if the collection is useful

If you know that a family member emigrated between 1898 and 1919 then this collection is clearly useful. If you don't know for sure, but suspect that you may have an ancestor who emigrated, you may email a query to LSHTM's , giving as much detail as possible.

The minimum details you'll need to supply are:

Over half of the volumes are indexed by name and approximately one-third of records have been added to an Access database which is available to use at the LSHTM archive.

If you plan to email the archivist with a query we suggest that you read our tutorial on how to do this most effectively.

Access arrangements

The LSHTM archive is open to the public (see the LSHTM web site for detailed access information).

If you are planning to make use of the medical examinations archive, please make an appointment with the Archivist beforehand.

More Information

The records are part of the Sir Patrick Manson archive (Sir Patrick founded the School and was a pioneer in the study of malaria). A collection level description is available on AIM25 and the LSHTM website.

Example(s) of the holdings

A scan of a sample document from the LSHTM medical records archive
Figure 1: a sample document from the LSHTM medical records archive. (Clicking on the image shows it at full size.)

Figure one shows a scan of a typical document from the medical records. The interviewee's name, age, marital status and occupation are given on the top line, and the results of the examination are on the bottom half of the document. Of most interest to family historians would be the information on the top half: it details where the interviewee was emigrating to, and what job they would be doing when they got there. Section 5 gives family details: the age of parent, number of siblings and children etc.

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Abstracting information

Usage Themes Geographic area covered Size of collection Dates
  • Family history
  • Mobility
  • Genealogical data

International (shows where British subjects emigrated to within the British empire and colonies).

The archive holds information about approximately 12,000 people.

1898 -- 1919


The Helpers system is developed as part of the Accessing our Archival and Manuscript Heritage project, at Senate House Library, University of London, funded by the Laser Foundation and the EARL Consortium. Please see the project website for further details.