Sooner or later the family historian is likely to come across evidence suggesting a family member spent time in some type of mental institution. In earlier times, this information was very hush-hush. In her article, "Asylums, State Hospitals, and Private Institutions
," Gena Philibert-Ortega not only gives some ideas for researching family members that may have live and/or died in an institution, but also gives a little insight into how people might end up there. You might be surprised, for example, to learn that a husband could have his wife committed for no particular reason. And while you may not be able to learn all you would like to know, owing to privacy laws governing such records, beyond death, some resources are available that may at least help you confirm family lore and pinpoint time and place.
Labels: family health history, mental institutions