What they shared was a sense -- among fellow citizens, families, doctors, judges, policemen, and in time social workers -- that they were, if not actually violent, then certainly aberrant. Their odd ways were often a burden to friends and loved ones, to others offputting at best: unconventional; unpredictable; unsettling. They were disturbing -- therefore "disturbed." And maybe dangerous.
The aberrances deemed most disturbing, even if not violent (most in fact not), were those seen linked to sex. Of women locked up at the Toronto Queen Street Asylum prior to 1900, a quarter were in for "female trouble" -- "childbirth, lactation, miscarriage, menstrual disorders, uterine disorders" and other natural conditions seen as "the predisposing cause of insanity."
The following database has been constructed from records of the Toronto (Queen Street) Insane Asylum. Each record in my index consists of the name of the inmate, the home residence of the inmate (ie District,county,town), and the age of the resident.
The COMPLETE insane asylum records contain a wealth of information on your ancestor that will not be found in any other records available.
Data that may be included (* inmate details vary from case to case) in the registers includes country of birth, by whom supported (ie friends,province), sex, age, stature (mainly in pre 1850 records), color of hair and eyes (mainly in pre 1852 records), temperament (mainly in pre 1852 records), original disposition and intellect (mainly in pre 1852 records), single or married, number of children, occupation, degree of education, religion, habits of life (ie. sober,sedate,intemperate), times admitted, date of admission, date of discharge (this often death date in asylum), time in asylum, age at first attack, number of previous attacks, duration of present attack, cause of disorder (ie. hereditary, life event), form of mental disorder, hallucinations, accompanying body disorder, results (ie. died, discharged), cause of death, general observations.
* Records now indexed from 1841 through 1891. Also see link below for new Kingston Asylum Database - 3000 records indexed February 2010, and the Malden and London Insane Asylums, Updated September 15,2011
* As far as locations are concerned, county, township, or town/village are recorded. Many were listed as being from Toronto, but researchers should keep in mind that most of these individuals probably were originally from elsewhere in the province. It also would appear that many of these individuals moved to or reported their residence as a nearby larger town such as Hamilton, or Ottawa...or any other town that may have been near their rural residence.
This web site is a copyright work. The reproduction, copying, downloading, storage, recording, broadcasting, retransmission and distribution of any part of these pages (including all text, compilations, graphics and source code) without the written permission of Michael Stephenson is strictly prohibited.
Copyright © 2010 Michael Stephenson. All rights reserved.
Toronto Insane Asylum Records Part 2
Toronto Insane Asylum Records Part 3
Also see link below for new Hamilton Asylum (Updated September 2012), London Asylum Databases, Malden Asylum, and the Kingston Insane Asylum
Kingston, Ontario, Insane Asylum Database
Malden Insane Asylum Database
London, Ontario - Insane Asylum Database
Hamilton, Ontario - Insane Asylum Database
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Upper Canada (Ontario) Toronto Insane Asylum Database
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