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Week 7: My ancestor was a Doctor/Surgeon

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  • Week 7: My ancestor was a Doctor/Surgeon

    Week 7: Doctor/surgeon

    This is an opportunity to showcase a doctor or surgeon in you family tree, you might want to offer a short biography and speak about their work eg
    Birth location/date
    Family background
    Where you've found them on the census
    Their workplace/employer
    Any tips on researching this occupation?

    [Next week: Servant]

  • #2
    John Norman was my husband's 7x great grandfather, his will says he was a surgeon, and the contents reflect that.

    He was the son of a mercer, Walter Norman, and came from Maresfield in Sussex where he was born in 1663. He married his wife Anne in Horsted Keynes by licence in 1690 though they were both from Maresfield, they had three children at Maresfield, William b1692 who also became a surgeon in Horsham, Mary b1694 and Anne b1696 (my husband descends from Anne, she lived to be 98!).

    One of his granddaughters, Hopestill Norman (daughter of William) married a surgeon called Matthew Pierpoint in 1750 and they lived in Lindfield, two of their sons John Pierpoint and Norman Pierpoint were surgeon and apothecary surgeons respectively, the house near the church is still called Pierpoints. Descendants were surgeons well into Victorian times.

    Returning to John Norman, in his will made 26th Feb 1735 and proved 27 Feb 1737 (old style) at Lewes he bequeathed "unto my Son William Norman All my Medecines Books and Instruments in Physick and Chyrurgery Pots Drawers Shelves Utensils and Implements in the Surgery And also my Counters Drawers and Shelves in the Shop and Warehouse And also my other books and great Bible to be delivered unto him".

    John Norman died in Maresfield and was buried on 5th Jan 1738, we visited and found his grave on the south side of the church, the inscription reads "Here Lieth the Body of JOHN NORMAN Gent of the/Parish who Departed this Life January the [?] 1737/in the 75 Year of his Age"

    His widow is buried in the cemetery, but has no gravestone. John's is the stone version of the wooden post and rail gravemarker which was popular in Sussex but rotted away so are usually only seen in old illustrations. Beyond his grave is that of his father in law, Nicholas Berry.

    I found John Norman's will on Familysearch, the original with his signature also mentions other family members and can be seen here.


    • #3
      Jill, you have such interesting people in your family and it must be great to still live in the area that they came from.

      For anyone who hasn't heard them, there are some excellent podcasts here https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcas...t/id1568990766 in particular one called Life of a Surgeon - Apothecary 1750-1850. She interviews a woman called Suzie Grogan who has written books on the subject too. If you don't have access to Apple Podcasts just google Suzie Lennox Digging up 1800.
      Main research interests.. CAESAR (Surrey and London), GOODALL (London), SKITTERALL, WOODWARD (Middlesex and London), BARBER (Canterbury, Kent), DRAYSON (Canterbury, Kent), CRISP (Kent) and CHEESEMAN (Kent).


      • #4
        Sorry Jill but no Doctors or nurses in my family. Might be better next week!!

        Searching Lowe, Everitt, Hurt and Dunns in Nottingham


        • #5
          Originally posted by Lin Fisher View Post
          Sorry Jill but no Doctors or nurses in my family. Might be better next week!!
          Next week is servants, so I think a lot of people will have had some in their tree, it's quite a broad description so should cover both males and females in various capacities.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Jill on the A272 View Post

            Next week is servants, so I think a lot of people will have had some in their tree, it's quite a broad description so should cover both males and females in various capacities.
            You know, no doctors that I know of, not even midwives, but I have a many-great-aunt who attended many births. It's why I started looking at her more closely

            Are you also going to do AgLabor and Farmers? That will go on forever!


            • #7
              PhotoFamily farmer is planned for week 34, though shepherd will come up before that, as will carter. I've tried to come up with both broad and specific occupations and tried to include women's work too over the year so our female ancestors can be included.

              People can add anyone in their tree to these Occupation posts, it doesn't have to be a direct ancestor.


              • #8
                The nearest I can get to a doctor or surgeon close to my direct line is Robert Defrayne a barber surgeon who lived at the White Hart Inn, Bedford Street in Woburn in 1635. If we have the correct line, he was my great x9 uncle

                Descendants of the de Fraines from Woburn were listed as barbers and hairdressers in Aylesbury in the 1840s. From memory, my great x4 grandfather Luke de Fraine's will in 1847 mentions his barber tools which could just be scissors etc. or may be surgeon's equipment. I need to fish out the will to be more accurate.

                Wikipedia: Barber surgeon.
                Caroline's Family History Pages
                Meddle not in the affairs of Dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.


                • #9
                  Gardengirl Another interesting list of ancestors and sadly no Doctor's on my tree and like GardenGirl stated you have some really interesting ancestors Jill.

                  Now servants I can do! I think all my family are servants, including me waiting hand and foot on this lot............
                  My Family History Blog Site:



                  • #10
                    One of my oldest friends is a descendant of edward jenner, who developed the smallpox vaccine.


                    • #11
                      One of my ancestors was richards brown MD (1770-1798) who studied at edinburgh university in the 1790's, he wrote an essay on tuberculosis and was believed to have died of it. His maternal grandfather was john rowning (1701-1771), a mathematician whose theory is apparently still taught. Definitely some ability in that family!


                      • #12
                        Dr. Esther Carling was a pioneer in the treatment of tuberculosis and one of the first women doctors. She is not related to me – her connection to my family is that both my parents worked at the sanatorium/hospital she founded. My father was the head gardener there for about 30 years and my mother was a nurse. As children, my sister, brother and I spent a lot of time at various events there.

                        Dr. Esther Carling (née Colebrook) was born in Reading in 1870 the daughter of George Colebrook, a one-time mayor of the town. She attended the London School of Medicine for Women and obtained her MD in Brussels in 1896, before practising in Edinburgh. By 1901, she was running a small private sanatorium for nine patients in Sonning Common, near Reading (my home village). A year later, she purchased Kingwood Farm and had it altered and enlarged for paying patients. In a letter to the British Medical Journal in June 1911, Dr. Carling stated that the cost per bed of erecting Maitland Cottage Sanatorium, as it was originally called, was approximately ₤175 p.a. At that time the sanatorium had sixty patients from across the country, and included a 40 acre farm, various buildings including a children’s house and several sleeping shelters. She was the first person in the country to offer treatment to ‘patients of small means’. At the end of WW1, there were 200 beds.

                        She was very active in the medical community as can be seen from her many letters to the British Medical Journal and the articles she wrote.

                        The farm, which had produced milk, eggs and vegetables for the sanatorium, closed just after WW2, but the gardens, orchard and greenhouses remained. The hospital, then called Peppard Hospital, closed in 1980 and executive houses now occupy the site, except for the orchard, which in spring is full of the daffodils my father planted. The ashes of both my parents are scattered there, and a chair erected in their memory.

                        Because of my connection with the hospital she founded, I always found her fascinating and I’ve written a couple of articles about her. One of them can be found here.

                        6 Esther Carling.png


                        • #13
                          My husband's 7x great grandmother had twin brothers, one, William Lester (1692-1738) was a surgeon in Horsham, Sussex and lived and worked in a premises conveyed to him in 1733 by his mother, this he left to his widow Eleanor and it was to pass to his son, also called William who was a minor at the time of his death. Eleanor survived him by two years, William junior had been apprenticed to an apothecary in London but ran away and joined the army. His grandmother mentioned this in her will because she only left him a small amount on account of his undutiful behaviour to his mother. William junior left a will leaving everything to the wife of his sergeant.

                          An inventory of William the surgeon's goods exists

                          An Inventory of all and Singular the Goods & Chattells and
                          Personal Estate of William Lester late of Horsham in the
                          County of Sussex Chirurgeon Deceased taken the
                          fifth Day of October in the year of our Lord One
                          Thousand Seaven Hundred and Thirty Eight

                          First His Wearing Apparell and Money in Purse 5 .. .. .. .
                          Also His Watch 2. 2. 0
                          Also Book Debts where of must appear desperate 30. 0. 0
                          Also Debts in Bond and Note 50. 0. 0
                          Also Stock in his Shop Shelves and Draws 30. 0. 0
                          Also In ???? ?? ??? In Surgery 3. 3. 0
                          Also Two payer of Silver Spune 1. 10
                          In the Kitchen
                          One Dresser Nyne Pewter Dishes Two Dozen of Plates
                          One Warming Pan Six Knives & Forks One
                          Earthern Punch Bowle Five Do. Plates Four Do.
                          Basons & other Small Earthen ware Four Glass
                          Muggs Two Do. Decanters Four Do. Glasses a
                          Parcell of Books One Brush One Jack Chain
                          and Weights Two Guns One Pair of Bellows
                          One Brass Skimer One Fish Slice one Tinn
                          Candlebore One Brass Flower box Two Do. Pepper
                          One Brass Morter & Pestle One Pair of Brass
                          Candle links One Seeing Glass Two Round Tables
                          One Joynt Stoole Six Chairs Two Payer of Pott
                          Hooks One Pair of Andirons One Payer of Doggs
                          Two Fire Pans Two Payer of Tongs One Pair of
                          Tobacco Do. One Payer of Stoks Do. One Pott s????
                          One Shoeing Iron One Payer of Sun Fers One
                          Flesh Forke One Pistole Tinder box One Iron
                          Fender One Payer of firehooks Two Payer of
                          Gridions & One salt box 10. 01. 06

                          In the Buttery
                          One Shoebrush four Iron Candlesticks One
                          Safe Two old S??? Twelve Pewter Plates Three
                          Do. Dishes Two Do. Porringers a Parcell of Corks
                          and Pans & other small Earthen Ware Two Trugs
                          One Iron Pott One Fender Two Spitts One Copper
                          Tea Kettle Four Brass Skilletts One Tin Dripping
                          Pann One Tinn Broyler One Brass Serve Panne
                          One Wooden Bowle Four Patty Panns Three
                          Brass Spoons One Basting Ladle One Box Iron
                          Two Hooters [?] & one Goodhussey [?] 2. 2. 10

                          In the Brewhouse
                          Two Brass Funnels One Brewfatt One Frying
                          Pann One Still and wormetubb [?] Two Tunn
                          Tubb One Flaskett Three Coul??? One Sheet
                          One Bankett One Hand Dish Three Stands
                          One Copper S??? Pann one Brass Boyler &
                          other small things 6. 15. 00

                          In the Beere Buttery
                          One Frying Broyler One Iron Chaffing Dish
                          Tenn Beere Cask One Wooden Funnell Two
                          Old Chairs Thirteen Pewter Poringers
                          A parcell of Galley Potts a Parcel of
                          Vialls Two Stands One old Bottle
                          Rack 2. 3. 0
                          Total 142. 17. 4.

                          [page 2] Brought over 142. 17. 6
                          In the Cellar
                          One Hogshead One Fourty Gallon
                          Beere Tubb Two Stands one Tinn
                          Funnell 1. 0. 6

                          Out Doors
                          A parcell of Wood and Faggotts One
                          Bottle Rack and Twenty five Dozen of
                          Bottles good and bad One Rideing
                          Mare Bridle and Sadle & One Chair 13. 12. 6

                          In the Kitchen Chamber
                          One Bed and furniture Thirteen
                          Chairs One Mantle Glass One
                          Swing Glass Two window
                          Curtains & Vallance One Square
                          Table One Tea Table One Corner
                          Cupboard One Pair of Doggs One
                          Pair of Bellows One Brush
                          Fourteen Cheyney Cupps & Saucers
                          Three Do. Basons Two Silver Spoons
                          Two Do. Tea Spoons One Chest of
                          Drawers 14. 13. 6

                          In the Shop Chamber
                          One Bed and furniture nyne Chairs One
                          Cloaths Press One Cupboard One longhandle
                          Brush One Desk & Frame Two old ?y??
                          Four window Curtains & Vallence Three Chamb.
                          Potts & other Odd Things 7. 17. 8

                          In the Second Shop Chamber
                          One Trunk one Bedsted One Bed One Bolster One
                          Coverlett One Blankett Three Deale Boxes 1. 8. 0

                          Nyne Payer of Sheets Eight Table Cloaths
                          Twenty Four Towells & Four Pair of
                          Pillowberrs 3. 10. 0
                          Tot.. 184. 19. 6
                          Taken the Day and year
                          aforesaid by us
                          Edw: Curtis
                          Zack Miles
                          John Satcher
                          December 21 1738
                          Last edited by Jill on the A272; 09-03-23, 18:26.


                          • #14
                            I have several Philbrick relations from Colchester, Essex, who were doctors/surgeons during the 19th century. One was Cornelius James Philbrick (1816-1885). He was the 7th child and fourth son of Samuel Philbrick (also a surgeon) and his wife Mary. Of the five sons, three became solicitors and two were surgeons.

                            Cornelius became a MRCS in 1838 and a FRCS in 1850: he emigrated to Toronto shortly afterwards. Cornelius was a key witness at the coroner's inquest and the Emily Stowe abortion trial in 1879. He was described as a 63 year old English physician who trained in London, Edinburgh and Dublin before immigrating to Toronto. He was highly respected and held the position of Professor of Surgery at Trinity College. However, his testimony "deeply troubled some observers" and at the trial it was obvious he was carrying on a personal vendetta against Emily Stowe, who was eventually acquitted. Article on the trial:

                            Cornelius’ older brother, Samuel Adolphus Philbrick (1808-1871), was also a surgeon in Colchester. He became President of the Colchester Medical Society in 1856.

                            There's also a James Philbrick, surgeon who is mentioned in newspaper reports in 1804 and although I'm sure he's related, I haven't been able to connect the dots.


                            • #15
                              This is a bit of a long shot but the family are so interesting that I have followed them through. My 3 x G Grandmother had a brother Slater and this is his family.

                              Agnes Fielding Murray Bayles married Geoffrey Tabuteau in 1941 Nottingham. who was Lieutenant in the RAMC. 1939 he is a Medical Practitioner in Hull. They divorce before 1947 as she remarried by then in Khartoum and became a lady.

                              Geoffrey was born in South Africa in 1914.

                              Searching Lowe, Everitt, Hurt and Dunns in Nottingham