Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Relatively Speaking - Caught in a Time Warp.

It seems that my OCFRD has struck again. For the past week, I've been working on death certificates. The bulk of these are in Kentucky between 1902 and 1953.  Not only am I finding children of the Chinn lines I've been working on but also spouses.

The internet over the years has been a blessing and a curse. Right now I am not swearing at it to hurry up and load a page, but marveling over what you can find online now as opposed to 1994-ish when I installed our first modem, a 14.4 kbps model.

Since my research is centering around the early 20th century, the causes of death sometimes have names we aren't familiar with or maybe the meaning has changed. One of the former is Sydenham's chorea. I was a medical secretary for 12 years and never heard this term. Apparently it could follow scarlet fever, and was not uncommon in children. The person who had this was 52 when she died.

This one threw me for a bit though:

1. Immediate cause of death:  apoplexy - ok - that's a stroke.
2. Due to HB Pres.  Ah - I get it High Blood Pressure.
3. Due to Kidney inf. (infection?) and senility.

By far the most common cause of death seems to be tuberculosis. Then there is pneumonia, bronchitis and interstitial nephritis. Then the random suicide and someone who lost a race with a train.

I find the older records - previous to 1900 can really be a test of one's ability to translate the record into a readable document. 

Using Google search, I can even find diseases that I've misspelled or that was misspelled on the document. Thanks to the Merriam-Webster online Medical Dictionary, I can even hear the diseases pronounced.

Sometimes the internet is a wonderful thing.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

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