Vaccination registers are a fabulous way to research your ancestors' childhood, and they are the subject of my latest feature, for the July issue of Discover Your Ancestors. Smallpox was a killer disease and your ancestors' families were very likely to have known someone who had suffered from it even if they were lucky enough to escape the disease themselves. Smallpox inoculation was first popularized in England by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Dr Jenner helped to develop the use of cowpox material instead of smallpox matter; people sometimes died after being immunised.
In Regency Cheshire, Dr John Haygarth (1740–1827), helped to promote inoculation, He was the author of An Inquiry How to Prevent the Smallpox (1784), and pioneered separate wards for fever patients.
Images: Dr Edward Jenner, Beeton’s Dictionary of Universal Biography, Ward, Lock and Tyler, 1870. Author’s collection.
John Haygarth. Engraving by W.Cooke from a painting by J. H. Bell. Gentleman’s Magazine, Vol. XCVII, Part 2, London, 1827. Author’s collection.
The Smallpox Hospital, King’s Cross, London in 1800. The Hospital, founded in 1746, was founded to treat smallpox patients and to provide vaccinations. Old and New London Vol. V., Cassell, Petter & Galpin, c.1890. Author’s collection.