User Feedback and Questions
We’d like to thank all our users who have emailed us with their impressions of the site, questions about the hospital, its patients and staff and corrections to or additional information on individual children’s records. Please keep sending them in, we will attempt to answer all your questions as quickly as possible, and your feedback is very useful in support of future funding applications to extend the project.
1. Parents’ Names
Several users have written asking for details of the children’s parents. Unfortunately the hospital did not record this information in the admission registers, and the only piece of information to link the child to potential parents is the address they provided on admission. If you have access to the census returns it is possible to trace the children using their name, age and address on admission. This is how we have composed the short patient stories posted on the website. However, this is not an infallible method, and many of the children simply cannot be identified from the information available.
2. Missing Patient Names
A large number of users have written to us asking why they cannot find relatives in the database even though it is a recorded piece of their family history that the person was in hospital. Due to confidentiality rules we cannot release information on named individuals which is less than 100 years old. Although we have patient records in our database which extend through to 1914, any records under 100 years old are anonymised in the website, and hence not searchable name.
3. General Questions about the Hospital or Admissions after 1914
We have received a number of questions relating the general running of the hospital, its staff of doctors and nurses and to admissions after 1914. We will do what we can to answer these questions but as most have to be forwarded to the archivist at Great Ormond Street, so you will get a quicker response if you write to him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Corrections to Data
Thanks to everyone who has sent in corrections to data in the database. Keep sending them in! We will check each one out against the original registers and if there has been an error in transcribing it will be corrected in the next load of the database. However, sometimes, the clerks made their own mistakes and we are keen to reflect the original registers in our transcription process. In this case the database entry will remain intact but will make a note about the new information received.
5. Rebecca Novis
Several users have responded to our contemplative question at the end of the story of patient Rebecca Novis, where we ponder on the cause of her unusual combination of symptoms. The editor suggested that she may have been ‘faking’ it in a bid for attention, but others disagree. Someone suggested she may have selective mutism brought on by anxiety, another suggested it was a typical profile of abuse. The real underlying cause lies buried in the mists of time and obscured by 19th century medical understanding.
Your feedback has been most generous, and we encourage you to continue to send us your experiences of using the website and suggestions for improvements. We have been particularly struck by the large number of users from overseas, particularly Australia and Canada. Here are some examples …
'What a delight to discover this website through my daily reading of the Guardian Online …Your website will give me hours of enjoyable browsing which will add to my knowledge and understanding of the history of medicine.' (MG)
'Congratulations on a fantastic site.’ (MM, retired graduate nurse)
'This is a brilliant site for Aussies, whose ancestors came from England. ... Thank you for providing this wonderful information ... I always appreciate anything for free [and] have found … so many willing to help, that I do transcribing on a voluntary basis & I believe that helps to pay back a bit for what I receive...’ (CA, Australia)
'Just a brief note to thank all responsible for the data being available online for your early hospital records ... Congratulations.' (Sandra, Australia)
‘Congratulations on this site, excellent layout.' (JG)
‘Congratulations on a wonderful website. We will be promoting it to our clients for both social history and family research. We also plan to use it in our school education programme.' (LH, librarian, Australia)
'This is a marvellous website and thanks to everyone involved in preparing the data and website.' (GN)
'Just logged on to your web site and just had to tell you I think its brill, the history sections and photographs are truly great.' (JD)