Question of the Week: Do you have any nurses in your family tree?

+33 votes

May 6 is National Nurses Day and May 12 is International Nurses Day.  

Do you have any nurses in your family tree? 

PS: Keep an eye on the Connection Finder to see how are connected to Florence Nightingale!

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asked in The Tree House by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
reshown by Chris Whitten
My father's sister dropped out of nursing school, my father's cousin was a registered nurse, another cousin's two daughters were registered nurses, one was an Air Force Nurse.  I have a 3rd cousin in her forties who just finished nursing school and finally, I have been a registered nurse since 1955. I supported myself by working all those years in many fields.  As an Air Force Captain, I became a Viet Nam Vet. I specialized in psychiatry, and public health,  but also worked in prisons, in schools.  I retired from my last job as an Adult Protective Services Investigator at age 79 yrs,   I still have a current nurse's registration at age 84 "just in case".
My relative, Dessie J. Rhoades Zingher, was a nurse serving in the U.S. Army Cadet Nursing Corps in 1945, graduated from Methodist Hospital in 1948.  Trained in delivering babies and spent two years studying anesthesia in Minniesota and Springfield, Illinois.  She married a Doctor Henry Zingher.
My Nana, Annie Lyle Wallace Mathewson, was a Nurse in Montreal and my mom, Anne Louise Mathewson Fulcher, was an NA in Edmonton. I am currently an LPN in Edmonton.
I am the nurse in the family tree-been a nurse for over 40 years. My mother was not a “nurse” but certainly provided nursing care to both her parents, family members and friends. Learned so much from her
I have been a nurse for 41 years. First a nurse’s aid, LPN, RN and now a BSN. Nursing is a “calling”, an art. A nurse’s touch is everything to those who need it. Family members can be unofficial nurse’s and provide that “touch”. You can be a nurse but never be fulfilled unless you are a nurturer by nature, never be satisfied. I hope our young nurses are in the field as a “calling”. I hope for all our sakes.
My Great-grandmother, Bernice McHenry was a Practical Nurse. I only remember her as being retired but I remember the stories she would tell about becoming a nurse.
Our daughter Maria is a nurse, my maternal first cousins, Bonni, Sherry and Eileen are nurses, and cousin Sherry's son Jeremy is a nurse.
I was a Registered Nurse employed in several different areas full-time (except for mat leaves) from 1966 to retirement in 2010. 43+ years.  Received award for Obstetrical nursing at Graduation. Started out in NICU. then DVA Hospital. then Float position in 2 general hospitals (2 different cities). then Gynaecology/High-risk pregnancy. Then Orthopaedics for 9 years. Finally geriatrics/long-term care for the last 22 years.   I enjoyed each stage in different ways. My maternal grandfather was a surgeon in the Royal Navy during the Boer War and then a family physician until his untimely death at 42 - he had lanced a boil for a patient. scalpel slipped and he developed septicaemia and died. My cousin was also a Registered Nurse & her father - my uncle - was a physician and surgeon - a specialist in Tropical medicine who took a new job when he retired at age 75 - doing medicals for an insurance company until age 92 - and was still reading his copy of the British Medical Journal until his death at 106 years!!
I finished my Masters in nursing a few years ago.  My grandmother Nina Nickerson Fritz was a nurse. My grandmother wanted someone to become a nurse.  My older sister Jane Vicario Fritz became a CNA, as did her second daughter. One of Janes granddaughters became a Medical Assistant in a daughters office.  I became a MSN RN, then our younger sister became a RN.  I know our grandmother must be beaming from heaven to know that so many of her granddaughters and great granddaughters have followed in her steps into healthcare.


96 Answers

+12 votes

My birthday is May 12th so I've always been aware of the association with Florence Nightingale. However, I am not a nurse, though my mother and my grandmother were both nurses.

My grandmother was from a background of Ag labs and shepherds, none of the wives worked officially though no doubt they did help  the husband  in his work. The family were like many, in and out of parish relief

She was the first in the family to train to do anything. In 1911 she worked as a machine seamtress sowing pinafores but somehow and I have no idea how she went to train in London,  qualifying as a midwife in 1919 and becoming the district nurse for Towcester, (Northamptonshire England)  Her daughters went on to do State registered nurse training, and I, the next generation was able to study for a degree. She died 10 years before I was born, so I never met her. I admire her for being the trailblazer in my family. I found this photo when I cleared out the house after my father's death in 2016


answered by Helen Ford G2G6 Pilot (184k points)
edited by Helen Ford
Happy Birthday a week early, Helen!!
Than you Robynne but they now come round far too quickly.
Actually, the post made me look out a packet of my mother's 'important documents' still unsorted. I found the letter awarding her with her SRN along with a 'permit' to enable her to  buy her uniform. She was told that she'd get her badge eventually but a shortage of metal meant that there was a delay in manufacturing. (1951, post-war Britain.)  Apparently the badge did not belong to her and was to be returned at her death.I think on this very rare occassion I won't be compliant.
I think the British Govt had an "emergency training program" for nurses in W W I, which would explain her being identified as a nurse by 1919.
i have the only know graduation picture of the class of 1916 from whence my GRandma gratuated.......they all look like angel which they probably had to be to endure medical and health conditions of that time.....thank-you for sharing your picture
+12 votes

My grandmother became a nurse circa 1962. She is the first nurse that I know of in the family. She initially did it because she needed a job to get away from an abusive husband, but she ended up becoming passionate about the career.

My mom is a nurse and she is also passionate about what she does. She has been a nurse for about twenty-two years and can't see herself doing anything else.

I just switched my major to health science, thinking about continuing the tradition. ;)

That's my grandma at her graduation ceremony, front row, second from the left.

My grandma at her graduation in the early 1960's.

answered by Jourdi Cleghorn G2G6 Mach 2 (26k points)
My mother is on the back row 3rd from the left Juanita Whitehead (b. Humble). Thank you so very much for sharing this photo.
You're welcome, Mary. I'm happy that you saw it. I actually have a free space profile dedicated to finding descendents of the people in the photo. I'd be happy to email a full-size version if you don't have one. How cool that our relatives knew each other. It's a small world.
What school or nursing program did your grandmother graduate from?
One thing I have loved about doing genealogy is discovering how many of my ancestors were nurses. Currently, there are four living (female) family nurses in my family.  The other common occupation in my family (among the men) is fire fighters. Currently, there are six living family members who are fire fighters; all of them are also trained as paramedics/EMTs.
Lisa, I'm not sure the exact name of the program. I know that she worked at Lucy Lee Hospital in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. I think they might have also run the nursing program.

I need to look more at my of my ancestor's career, but I believe they were mostly farmers who lived and worked on their own farms. My grandma is the "pioneer" nurse in our family as far as I know. A few of my recent male ancestors were military.
Jourdi, Thank you so much for the information. I love looking at my ancestors occupations.
+9 votes
I retired after 40 years as a registered nurse. My gg grandmother, [[Swanner-96|Mary Swanner]] was a midwife in Baltimore. She delivered over 3,500 babies during her career.
answered by Nancy Thomas G2G6 (7.9k points)
edited by Nancy Thomas
+7 votes
My mother and my older sisters were both nurses.

My mother gave up working as a nurse when she got married, becasue back in the late 1950s it was not the done thing for a woman to be working and raising a family. Social pressure, you know.

My older sister worked as a nurse for several years before she was married and continued even after she married until she became a mother. Then she cut back her hours and worked part time as a lab nurse. My understanding is that she drove around the district collecting required bloodwork from outpatients.

My fathers oldest sister, Dorothy, also trained as a nurse - I think this was during WW2 - but may have given that job up when she got married.
answered by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (435k points)
+8 votes

Yes, Mae Cavanaugh Bowman, born 13 Nov 1897 in Norwalk, Connecticut, 1st cousin, 1x removed.

Mae had been active in Virginia state nursing programs for more then 60 years. Mrs Bowman a graduate of the Alexandria Hospital School of Nursing, had served on the hospital corporations board since 1947.

Considered to be the first female bacteriologist in Virginia she also was an Alexanderia welfare officer for years. She was a leading organizer of soroptimist clubs in the Alexandria and middle Atlantic ares. Bowman was the club’s first president and a public health nurse in the City of Alexandria.


answered by Dorothy Barry G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
+7 votes
I have one but she is still living. While she is in my tree, she is still living. I do not know of any other nurses is in my family. Plenty of teachers but only one nurse.
answered by Jeff Howsley G2G Crew (620 points)
+6 votes

My step daughter is a nurse.

My half aunt Nellie was a nurse. She married a pharmacist. They started with a drug store in Fort Lupton (near Denver) Colorado, and also opened stores in Leadville and Naturita, Colorado.

answered by Kay Sands G2G6 Pilot (175k points)
+8 votes
Both grandma's nurses, mom and Aunt and an Uncle too. Had a great great grandpa was a physician in Civil War. Almost everybody did some type of healthcare work.
answered by
+7 votes
My mother was a nurse at Concord Repatriation Hospital as was a number of her cousins. My daughter is a Registered nurse  and I trained at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital,  Camperdown. I got my veil in 1976 and now I am in the process of slowing down  for retirement.
answered by Rionne Brooks G2G6 Mach 3 (35k points)
+7 votes
I'm not sure about historically, but 2 of my sisters-in-law are RNs and my sister is an LPN.
answered by Tina Chase G2G6 (8.5k points)
+7 votes
I'm  a nurse!
answered by Jeanie Roberts G2G6 Pilot (116k points)
+7 votes
My wonderful late wife of 38 years, was an outstanding RN, who served those she treated so very well until she became disabled. My hat goes off to all those that devote their time and energy to serve comfort to those in need. It takes something so very special...a special kind of Love. I know you are not paid enough for the bull the Dr's try to pull, the abuse by those you serve, the fact that you are underappreciated, and not being noticed for your heartfelt Love of what you do. You are Loved, anyway.
answered by Don Crum G2G6 Mach 1 (18.7k points)
+5 votes
My mom is a nurse.. been at it for about 40 years. Granted she's about ready to retire. :)
answered by Charlotte Shockey G2G6 Pilot (917k points)
+8 votes
answered by Norman Perry G2G2 (3k points)
+8 votes

Some of you might like this - Edith Cavell, my Mum and Me.


answered by
+6 votes
My aunt Cecile (Cece) Campbell and my granddaughter Shaylon Robb Freeman
answered by
+6 votes
My Mom went to nursing school at Sibley and was a nurse during WWII.
answered by Randy Williamson G2G2 (2.3k points)
+6 votes
"Mother Steward" a civil war and temperance movement nurse was my first cousin 5 times removed.  I found that interesting. She is buried in Mound Cemetery, in Pike County, Ohio. I just learned this information last week, which was very fitting.

Happy Nurse's week to all the nurses!!

Happy Teacher's week to all the teachers!!

Being a nurse is such a rewarding career, but as the nurse shortage grows and grows, the more difficult it becomes to provide the care we so want to give to our patients. Please, be understanding with the nurses, as many go without eating, drinking, and sometimes even going to the bathroom to meet the needs of our patients, and still there isn't enough time in the shift. Thank you too all of you that go without to make sure my family is taken care of in our time of need.
answered by Carla Mascara G2G5 (5.9k points)
+8 votes

Hi, my name is Peter, and I was a Registered Nurse from 1987 until 2015 when I retired. My training consisted of practical work on the wards, and attendance at periodical "study blocks". Many of the students lived in and I'm told a good time was had by all on more than one occasion!!

Even though I was the oldie of the group, we all got along as well as could be expected. We were all knackered by the end of the shift, so all had empathy for each other : hard bond-forming work!

I recall one day when I was looking after a gentleman after a hip replacement. I went into his room and he wasn't looking too fact he was unconcious! I did all the right things and it so happened that his surgeon was walking by outside the room. (This was a private Hospital, no residents, registrars, or resus teams. Unfortunately the man passed away. For most of us, it was the first time we had seen a dead body, and it was really weird in that we all went to the utility room (NOT together) to come to terms with it!

Later on I did a grad dip in cardiac nursing, and most unfortunately, death was around every corner!

My apologies for the rambling, but it's a little difficult to cram almost thirty years into a few paragraphs! If you have gotten this far, thanks for reading......

answered by anonymous G2G Crew (440 points)
+7 votes
I'm a nurse, my niece is a nurse and I have nurse ancestors in my family tree!
answered by

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