Many family historians find gaps in their family tree, someone may suddenly disappear, either for a period of time or more permanently. There are many explanations for such disappearances, but one of the more common reasons is mental illness. Then, as now, many people had breakdowns in their health which necessitated a spell in an institution, either temporarily or for a permanent stay. In the past, little distinction was made between the mentally ill and the mentally handicapped, indeed they were usually lumped together in the same institutions.
This handbook will help family historians to locate surviving medical records about the mentally ill, ancestors with disabilities or about ancestors who cared for and treated them