Attendees can learn more about family history research from a range of experts

Date posted

10 May 2024


A unique event that will give participants the chance to research family ancestry within nursing and midwifery is to take place in Edinburgh next month.

Hosted by Edinburgh Napier University, The Royal College of Nursing and the National Library of Scotland, the event will give attendees the chance to research a nurse or midwife of any era who worked in any setting - hospital, community, asylums, industry, prisons, military - under the watchful eye of a range of experts.Photo of student nurses in the 1950s

The event will also include a number of short presentations, including introductions to family history research from researchers and archivists as well as opportunities to learn about online searching.

There will be a chance for attendees to ask questions and get guidance on how find to find out more about their nursing or midwifery ancestors.

Those attending are invited to bring along a photo, or other small memento, of the person(s) they are interested in finding out more about and would be happy to show on the day.

The event – which will take place at the National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge Edinburgh from 10am-4pm on 5 June – will welcome a number of guest speakers and contributors:

  • Teresa Doherty: Joint Head of Library & Archives and RCN Professional Lead for History of Nursing who will talk about nurse registration and how to access nurse registers.
  • Nicola Ring: Professor of Nursing and Nessa McHugh Midwifery Lecturer at ENU will talk about their experiences of finding 19th century nurses and midwives and searching for early nurses and midwives accused of Witchcraft in 16-17th Century Scotland.
  • Sana Bilgrani: Film Lecturer at ENU who has researched nurses in her family history and produced a film about her search.
  • Lucy Church, Dora Petherbridge and Patrick Hart: Will talk about how the National Library of Scotland and its collections and resources can help people find their family histories.
  • Rosie Al-Mulla: NHS Forth Valley Archivist, University of Stirling who will talk about using NHS archives to find nurses and midwives.

Chair of the RCN History of Nursing Forum Dianne Yarwood said: “It’s not unusual to hear people say: “oh yes, my great gran was a hospital nurse, or my uncle worked as a mental health nurse”.  Often, they would like to know more about this person’s nursing career but have no idea where, or how, to start searching. 

“Do join us for this exciting, informative one day event and learn how to find that elusive ancestor. You will meet experts, gain advice and guidance and leave with the knowledge and confidence to find that nurse or midwife of yesterday.”

Those attending will be given notebooks, pens, and lunch free of charge.

To sign up to this in-person event, please follow the link:

People interested in attending who require disability adjustments on the day, should contact

Those on low income and not entitled to free bus travel, may be eligible for some travel compensation. Please contact: