One type of records give family historians clues about possible mental illness in their ancestry. We will look at what kinds of records there are and where to look for them. The subject of insanity was often surrounded with shame, guilt and secrecy – and may be still is – a taboo subject for some families. This talk covers how insanity and mental illness were regarded in the past and how sufferers from insanity were cared for. Dr Kathleen Chater is an author and a trainer in research skills for the media and for family historians. She continues to work on a database of black people in Britain up to the beginning of the 19thcentury – now numbering 5000.