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Genealogical research

Do you think you may have a vet in the family or are you interested in the history of your practice and the people who worked there?

We have a range of resources to help you.

Our starting place is usually the card catalogue of members of the RCVS which contains handwritten records of members of the RCVS from the 1870’s to 1970’s.  The cards record details of qualification and place of practice. 

We also house a complete set of the RCVS Register of Veterinary Surgeons from 1844 to the present day.  This lists the name, date of qualification and register address of all Members of the RCVS. 

Obituaries can often be found in the Veterinarian (1828-1902) and The Veterinary Record (1888-present) and for those who served in the Army Veterinary Corps in the Journal of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps (1929-1971).

If you would like us to carry out the research on your behalf, contact us at [email protected] or 020 7202 0752 and let us know the name and dates of your ancestor, or the name of the veterinary practice, and we will send you photocopies of any information we find. 

The charge is £30.

If you would prefer to visit us and carry out the research yourself then please let us know when you plan to visit so that we can make sure the relevant material is available.

Records prior to 1881

Please bear in mind that, before 1881, it was possible to practise veterinary surgery without being a Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and without having a degree from an approved university.   Even after the 1881 Act it was possible for persons other than members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to practise veterinary surgery, but they were not able to go to court to recover fees and charges for doing so.  It was not until the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1948 that it became an absolute requirement for anyone practising veterinary surgery to be a registered veterinary surgeon, and even then there were a number of exceptions.

This means that we will not always hold information on people who describe themselves as veterinary surgeons on official documents such as marriage certificates.