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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course US: Occupational Records  by Beverly Rice, CG. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Occupational Records - Finding Aids And Resources - A Basic Overview


The American Medical Association (AMA) keeps the largest collection of records relating to physicians. The AMA has been gathering information on the personal and professional background of licensed medical practitioners since the late 1880s. The original records for deceased physicians, that includes individuals that practiced from 1906 to 1969, (some records may exist before 1906 however they are not complete) are housed at the National Genealogy Society (NGS) and can be searched for a fee.

From the Internet site of the National Genealogy Society at:

Deceased Physician Research

Research from the comfort of your home...

NGS has a collection of cards originally created by the American Medical Association. They provide information for physicians who died between 1906 and 1964. Most cards include date and place of birth, information about education, information about licensing and place(s) of practice and place, date and cause of death. The cards include no information about parents, spouses or children. Whenever possible we include information from published medical directories, and the 1880 Federal Census record. The fee is $15.00 and there is a $5.00 surcharge for non-members.

The Family History Library microfilmed these records before they were turned over to NGS. The 237 microfilms are in alphabetical order. To locate the film numbers enter “deceased physicians” under the title search then select the appropriate film for your research.

A two volume directory of deceased physicians, Directory of Deceased American Physicians, 1804-1929 (Chicago, Illinois: American Medical Association) is also available and can be accessed in book form, CD-ROM or on the subscription site This can also be located at larger research libraries.

In addition to this large collection by the AMA, some areas will have a directory of doctors with biographical sketches. Or an individual might be listed in the “Who’s Who” for a specific area.

Other sources that should be considered include census records, newspapers, city and business directories and business licenses.

A few things to remember about the title Doctor. This can also refer to veterinarians, army medical corps personnel, a dentist, an individual with a Ph.D, or as in my family just a nickname “Doc” that has often been mistaken as his job title.


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course US: Occupational Records offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.