Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - GRAVE ROBBERS -

NEWS­PA­PERS News­pa­pers are rich sources of in­for­ma­tion about res­ur­rec­tion­ists but bear in mind that re­ports tend to be sen­sa­tion­alised. Find out whether there were any cases of bodys­natch­ing in the area in which your an­ces­tors lived by search­ing the Bri­tish News­pa­per Ar­chive ( www. british­news­pa­per­ar­ Th­ese news­pa­pers are also avail­able on Find­my­past ( find­my­ CON­TEM­PO­RARY SOURCES The 19th- cen­tury bi­ogra­phies of em­i­nent sur­geons re­veal their con­nec­tions with res­ur­rec­tion­ists and even their di­rect in­volve­ment in bodys­natch­ing as med­i­cal stu­dents. Many are avail­able for free on Google Books ( Try The Life of Sir Ast­ley Cooper by Bransby Blake Cooper and A Sketch of the Life and Writ­ings of Robert Knox, the Anatomist by Henry Lons­dale.

An­other fan­tas­tic re­source is The Di­ary of a Res­ur­rec­tion­ist, 1811-1812, which in­cludes a later ac­count of res­ur­rec­tion men in Lon­don. The writer of the di­ary was be­lieved to be Joseph Naples; he had been in the Navy, be­came a gravedig­ger and was drawn into bodys­natch­ing by an­other man. He con­tin­ued it un­til the pas­sage of the Anatomy Act when he be­came a ser­vant in the dis­sect­ing room at St Thomas’s Hos­pi­tal. PARISH RECORDS You may find ev­i­dence of bodys­natch­ing in burial records or parish com­mit­tee min­utes if the vicar or min­is­ter saw fit to make a note of any il­le­gal ex­huma­tions. Ref­er­ences to the ac­tiv­i­ties of res­ur­rec­tion­ists in Scot­land might also be found in the Old and New Sta­tis­ti­cal Ac­counts of Scot­land (1791-1799 and 1834-1845) writ­ten by the min­is­ter of each parish. They can be searched and browsed on­line at ed­ina. scot.

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