G U I D E    T O    G E N E A L O G I C A L    M A T E R I A L S     
in the New Orleans Public Library's Louisiana Division & City Archives     

          H O S P I T A L   and   I N S A N I T Y   Records

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Hospital & Insanity Records
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Additional Sources
Appendix A: Ordering By Mail
Appendix B: Genealogical Periodicals
Appendix C: Soundex/Miracode System
Appendix D: Orleans Parish Civil Courts

Hospital Records | Insanity Records

Hospital Records

Charity Hospital (New Orleans). Admission Books, 1818-1899.
Records name, age, dates of admission, discharge or death, occupation, marital status, length of time in New Orleans, last place lived in, and birth place, often listing the town or country as well as the country of origin. Some slaves are included in the antebellum admissions to Charity. Most volumes are indexed. The earliest volumes are labeled “Register” and appear to overlap the Admission books for several years. mf GS36-31 to 71

  Selections from the Charity Hospital Admission Books are being added to the Orleans Parish U.S. GenWeb Page at www.usgwarchives.org/la/orleans.htm.

Charity Hospital (New Orleans). Death Records, 1835-1904.
Records patient's name, number of ward, date of admission, nativity, occupation, residence, place last from, age, color, residence in New Orleans, marital status, date of death, malady, and by whom buried. Indexed. mf GS36-72 to 77

Hotel Dieu Hospital (New Orleans). Patient Registers, 1858-1900.
The registers include some or all of the following information: name, place of birth, “reference” (often an address, or name, presumably, of the person to be contacted), dates of admission and discharge, date of death (if appropriate), and diagnosis. A partial index (letters K-W) is filmed at the front of the volume. Ante-bellum records include entries for slaves. mf GS36-309

New Orleans (La.) City Smallpox Hospital. Record of Patients, 1874-1879.
The City Physician was authorized by ordinance to inspect the City Smallpox Hospital daily, as well as any other hospitals where smallpox patients were confined, and to keep a record of all smallpox victims. He was also authorized to order their discharge from quarantine once they had been cured.

This volume, arranged chronologically, lists the name, date of death or discharge, occupation, place of birth, age, last place or residence before coming to New Orleans, length of time in the city, length of illness, diagnosis, and date admitted. Many of those listed are patients transferred from Charity Hospital; a number were transferred from the Workhouse or the House of Refuge. [Filed under call number mf FNS410]

Touro Infirmary (New Orleans).
The Golden Book of Life, 1859-1899.
This volume records memorials to the dead, made by those who contributed to Touro and the Hebrew Benevolent Association. The entries include name and (usually) date of death, along with the name of the contributor and the amount of money contributed.
Record of Patients in the Touro Infirmary of New Orleans, 1869-1891.
Provides for each patient, name, age, conjugal relation, place of birth, occupation, and information about the patient’s condition. Dates of death are given, if appropriate.
Record of Deaths, Touro Infirmary, 1869-1916.
Provides the name of the patient, date of admission, place of birth, occupation, place last from, age, color, length of residence in New Orleans, marital status, date of death, diagnosis, and by whom or where buried.
Admission Book of Touro Infirmary, 1855-1860.
Provides name, place of birth, occupation, last place from, residence in New Orleans, time and date of admission, date of death or discharge, age, and additional information about the patient’s condition and the cost of treatment.
mf GS36-214


Insanity Records     Finding Aid

In New Orleans, the City Insane Asylum, the Coroner’s Office, the Department of Police and Public Buildings, the Civil Sheriff and the civil courts all assumed responsibility of some sort for people judged to be insane. Researchers should be aware that 19th- and 20th-century definitions of insanity differed markedly from current definitions. Alcoholics, the mentally retarded, or those suffering from various physical disorders were routinely committed to asylums during the period covered by these records.

New Orleans (La.) Insane Asylum. Record of Entries and Releases, 1858-1882.
In 1854, the New Orleans City Council established a "temporary asylum for the indigent insane" and gave Recorders of the various districts the power to commit patients to this facility "until provision can be made for their admission into the State asylum at Jackson." Although apparently intended as a stop-gap measure, the New Orleans Insane Asylum continued to admit patients until 1883, when it was closed and the remaining patients were transferred to Jackson.

Volume 1 (1858-1875) includes the patient's name and a number assigned at entry, date of entry, age, place of birth, "how afflicted," name of person who committed the patient, length of stay, date of discharge (or death), and "remarks." Remarks include notes concerning the patient's release. Also included is an insert headed "Men's Department," listing the inmates of each cell.

Volume 2 (1871-1882) contains the above information plus additional columns designating sex, "civil condition," height, complexion, color of eyes and hair, "special remarks" (i.e., other physical characteristics or a note that the patient died), and "general remarks" (date and cause of death are sometimes noted here, along with the doctor's name; also sometimes included are occupation, name of person requesting the patient's release, religion, and place to which the patient was transferred – Work House, Louisiana Retreat, Charity Hospital).
mf FM410

New Orleans (La.) Insane Asylum. Monthly Register of Patients, 1866-1882.
Monthly record of all patients in the asylum, including the patient's name and number, date of release (or death), and, for patients entering that month, the name of the person who committed the patient, and the date of entry. Microfilm of volume 1 (April 1866-August 1872) is filed under call number FML430 1888-1912; volumes 2 (September 1872-December 1878) and 3 (December 1878-August 1882) are filed under call number II LM430 1836-1842.

New Orleans (La.) Insane Asylum. Record of Next of Kin, 1875-1877.
Includes the patient's name and the name and address of the person to be referred to – i.e., the next of kin. The volume is in very poor condition, with many pages either cut or torn out. Most of the entries are overwritten with "died," "removed," "released," etc. [Filed under call number mf FML430 1888-1912]

  A transcription of this volume is available online at at neworleanspubliclibrary.org/inv/next of kin.htm.

New Orleans (La.) Insane Asylum. Record of Patients, 1882-1884;1888.
This volume contains information on insane patients visited by the City Physician and recommended for commitment to the State Asylum. For each patient, the record includes name, race, sex, age, place of birth, type of insanity, and sometimes a description of the patient's behavior. An index is included at the end of the volume. mf FK850

  A transcription of this volume is available at neworleanspubliclibrary.org/inv/cityinsaneasylum.htm.

Orleans Parish (La.) Coroner’s Office. Description and Record of Insane Persons, 1900-1918.
Information includes name, sex, age, color (also color of hair, beard, and eyes), occupation, marital status, residence, place of birth, and descriptive details of the manifestations of insanity exhibited by each patient. Later records held by the archives are restricted for a period of 75 years; consult with an archivist about availability of such records. TH427 Unfilmed

New Orleans (La.) Department of Police and Public Buildings. Register of Indigent Insane, 1888-1912.
Grouped together by first letter of surname, the entries include date received, date discharged, and remarks. The remarks include references to transfers to other institutions, deaths (sometimes with date), and, in at least one instance, elopement of an inmate. Most, if not all, of the entries appear to be for persons delivered by personnel of the Department to the Louisiana Retreat (later De Paul Hospital). [Filed under call number mf FML430]

  A transcription of this volume is available at neworleanspubliclibrary.org/inv/ta/tainsane.htm.

Orleans Parish (La.) Civil Sheriff. Register of Patients Transported to the State Insane Asylum, 1882- 1917.
The Civil Sheriff was responsible for transporting to the State Insane Asylum at Jackson persons judged by the Civil District Court to be insane. In these records the Sheriff recorded the number of the suit record ordering the patient to be sent to Jackson, the date that he took the patient into custody, the patient’s name, age, sex, color, address, nativity, occupation, marital status, disease, duration and cause of insanity, and remarks. Remarks usually are limited to certifications of delivery of a patient or group of patients to the asylum at Jackson, including the date of delivery.

Starting in about 1906 the Sheriff began to enter names of victims of leprosy in addition to insane persons. Those individuals were received by the Sheriff on court order for eventual delivery to the newly opened camp for lepers at Indian Village in Iberville Parish, which later evolved into the Gillis Long Hansens Disease Center at Carville, La. mf VF350i

  A transcription of this volume is available at neworleanspubliclibrary.org/inv/civilsheriff/vf350.htm.

Note: At the time of the publication of this Guide, the transcription of these records was in progress.