This is a series of Madness Monday posts that describe my research into my 2x great grandfather George Thomas GASSON and his time spent in the Sussex County Asylum (Haywards Heath, Sussex) and the East Sussex County Asylum (Hellingly, Sussex).
It was very challenging work on so many levels, but ultimately very rewarding to uncover a story that had been lost (or hidden) over the intervening generations. It may seem politically incorrect now to refer to him as a lunatic, but this was how he was referred to in the 1901 census, when I found him in the asylum.
- How I discovered my ancestor was a lunatic – how a chance discovery in a WW1 service record lead to the discovery that I had a lunatic in my family tree.
- My first steps in researching George Thomas GASSON and the Sussex County Asylum – more questions than answers as I begin to investigate the asylum records and prove that my ancestor was a lunatic.
- George Thomas GASSON, at last some answers – the admission registers for the Sussex County Asylum reveal more about the nature of his mental illness.
- Notes from an asylum case book – some excerpts from the case notes of George Thomas GASSON during his time at the Sussex County Asylum.
- A lunatic at the wedding? – considering the possibility that I might have a photo of George Thomas GASSON in an unidentified wedding photo.
- Learning about lunacy whilst waiting to move on – discovering some background reading, whilst waiting for permission to view the next set of records.
- Using non-asylum sources for asylum research – a couple of sources to help with my research that I didn’t need permission to access.
- A little light relief in the asylum records – where I discovered that George Thomas GASSON and I had something in common.
- George Thomas GASSON the end of the trail – finally I reached the end of my research, but one question still remained.
- George Thomas GASSON wasn’t just a lunatic – just to prove that George Thomas once had a normal life.