Midwives and Nurses – a gift from VAFHO

Midwives and Nurses are a great way to track down female ancestors and family – you might be surprised at how many were involved in one or both of these occupations.  You could find them in various references, certificates, and newspapers throughout the 1800s and 1900s but the gold-mine of information can be found in the Victoria Government Gazettes when the official registers were published annually for many years.  This photo is of Midwife and local nurse, Grannie FERRIS – Grannie died before the official registers commenced so she doesn’t appear in them but is typical of a country midwife.  These traditionally female occupations – midwives and nurses – were some of the very few that were open to both single and married women.

One of the ‘Aims & Purposes’ of VAFHO is: To promote and arrange easier public access to public records and record repositories throughout Victoria.  To celebrate our Family History Expo in Sale this Saturday, 21 April 2018, VAFHO is giving a gift to all Family History Groups and all Family Historians – better access to these Registers.

About these Registers

It wasn’t always easy to locate the Midwives Registers and the Nurses Registers in the Victoria Government Gazettes – Susie Zada, VAFHO Committee member, spent a long time identifying and downloading them all.  Lists of both sets of registers were made available so everyone could locate and download the registers from the online Government Gazettes.

What these Registers contain

Midwives Registers: 1916-1956

Nurses Registers: 1925-1956

Each set of Registers – separate registers for Midwives and for Nurses – could contain:

  • Those added to the Register – alphabetical within each section
  • Those removed from the Register
  • Those who changed their names (by getting married – often showing maiden and married names)
  • Those who changed their address
  • Names, addresses, registration number, dates (of addition, change or removal from the register), and hospital (for nurses training)

Registrations were not limited to Victorians – many nurses were from interstate or overseas but did their training at Victorian Hospitals and were therefore included in the Registers.

The lists of all the registers (follow the link above) also include the number of pages – this often indicated that the particular Register included the entire list of those registered at that time and not just additions, removals and changes.

Why you need the VAFHO copies of the Registers

The Government Gazettes for these Registers can be downloaded in PDF format.  You can search online and find individual Midwives or Nurses however the PDF file that can be downloaded is generally not text searchable as it is a smaller version of the file.

Due to numerous enquiries from family historians, Susie converted all of the relevant PDF files to text searchable PDF files.  And of course one of the benefits of PDF files is that you can search ALL PDF files in a folder on your computer in one search and not have to do individual file searches.  NOTE: Obviously this works better if you have a processor with big rubber bands!  If your computer struggles, you may need to split the files into different folders – perhaps group by years.

How to access the Registers

The fully text searchable PDF files have been uploaded to VAFHO’s Google Drive.  The link below will give you access to the files – there are more than 80 files totalling about 132 Mb.

IMPORTANT: Search in the Nurses and Midwives.pdx file – this is the global search for ALL the files.

A few guidelines of what you are or are not permitted to do:

  • You MAY NOT sell these files
  • You MAY NOT charge for searches of these files
  • You MAY NOT share the link to VAFHO’s Google Drive
  • You MAY download and store these files on your society’s or your personal computer
  • You MAY share the link to this Blog for other’s to access the link and the files
  • You WILL ENJOY and BENEFIT from using these files!


More access to databases, indexes and local knowledge will be available to all people coming to the VAFHO Family History Expo.

VAFHO – Victorian Association of Family History Organisations

eMail: Use our Contact FormsBlog Contact Us OR Website Contact US

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VAFHO-Victorian-Association-of-Family-History-Organisations-853001631548704/

Website: https://www.vafho.org.au/

Blog: https://vafho.com/

Postal Address: PO Box 52, Yarrawonga Vic 3730

Submitted on behaf of VAFHO: organiser of the VAFHO Family History Expo, Sale, 21 April 2018.

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