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Causes of Death (Late 19th Century)

Discussion in 'Medicine' started by FamilyHistoryGal, May 2, 2014.

  1. FamilyHistoryGal

    FamilyHistoryGal LostCousins Member

    Causes of Death

    Causes of death mentioned in Register of Deaths 1893 - 1907
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 3
  2. CarolB08

    CarolB08 LostCousins Member

    This is an interesting list thank you for posting it FamilyHistoryGal, however it does not list the cause of death that featured on a death certificate I received recently for a 20 month old child.
    The cause of death was Tabes Mesenterica which I had never heard of and I made some enquiries on a different forum and was told it was Tuberculosis of lymph glands inside the abdomen. An illness of children caused by drinking milk from cows infected with tuberculosis. Now uncommon as milk is pasteurised.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. DavidP

    DavidP LostCousins Member

    My great great grandfather died of 'Natural Decay' in 1875. Mind you he was 81 and in the 1871 census was still farming 112 acres. I've also got a couple of ancestors who died of 'Old Age', which just about covers everything.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Susan48

    Susan48 LostCousins Star

    When my mother died a few years ago on her 96th birthday the doctor gave 'Old Age' as cause of death, so it's obviously still a valid term to use on a death certificate.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  5. CarolB08

    CarolB08 LostCousins Member

    I got a death certificate in the week for a 22 year old woman and the cause of death was as follows; Renal disease duration unknown, Pregnancy, Coma 8 days. This was in 1863, such a sad way to die, I wonder if she died in pregnancy or after delivery?
  6. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    The existence or otherwise of a birth certificate for the child might answer that question?
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  7. CarolB08

    CarolB08 LostCousins Member

    That is a possibility, I shall have to look at the birth refs and see if anything shows up. Good idea Alexander thankyou.
  8. Gillian

    Gillian LostCousins Star

    My mother, who died age 94 as 'recently' as 1993, also has Old Age on her death certificate.
    Re the death of a great-aunt in 1895, her death cert gives Apoplexy. According to the The Register of Deaths
    Apoplexy (Apoloplexy/ Apop. Fit/ Apoplepy/ Appolexy)
    1. A sudden diminution or loss of consciousness, sensation, and voluntary motion, usually caused by extravasation of blood or serum into the brain or spinal cord.
    2. The condition of any organ or tissue marked by an effusion of blood into its substance as in of the lung. Cerebral: disturbance of brain circulation as by hemorrhage, embolism ot thrombosis
    Could someone tell me what it might be in modern terms? Would it be Stroke?
  9. Heather

    Heather LostCousins Member

    Yes Gillian, if no organ is named, apoplexy usually means a stroke. Bleeding into the pituitary gland is pituitary apolexy, bleeding into the ovaries is ovarian apoplexy etc.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 2
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  10. NancyV

    NancyV New Member

    I have a 4G-grandmother whose cause of death was "worn out constitution." And she was only 58 -- what a difficult life she must have lived.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  11. MaggyC

    MaggyC LostCousins Member

    When my grandmother died in 2005, old age was given as the cause of death. Mind she had reached 107 so I suppose it was fair comment.
    The infant son of my great great grandfather died of teething in 1862.
  12. Gillian

    Gillian LostCousins Star

    Here's an interesting article giving doctors guidance about completing death certificates. They are advised not to use 'old age' alone as cause of death. Surprise, surprise, teething isn't mentioned, though it was in the late 19th century list given us by FamilyHistoryGal, which started off this discussion! Your poor great-granduncle, Maggy. I wonder what the real cause of death was.
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  13. MaggyC

    MaggyC LostCousins Member

    His mother, my direct ancestor, died just a month before he did, aged 6 months. I have heard that patent remedies for teething contained all sorts of nasties that might have contributed to his death. You can imagine a working, single father with two children under three might well have turned to something to help his infant with teething. The following year he remarried the lady in my photograph.
    (I had another look at gran's death certificate and Old Age is given at 1(a) and Generalised Atherosclerosis as 1(b).)
  14. Gillian

    Gillian LostCousins Star

    I'm glad the story has a happy ending. It does, doesn't it?
  15. MaggyC

    MaggyC LostCousins Member

    They went on to have a daughter, Auntie Meggy. Johann died in 1893 and Maria, wife number 2, in 1916, although her last years were blighted by being a German, albeit naturalised, in England during WW1.
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  16. dirk112

    dirk112 LostCousins Member

    Some time back I looked-up the Burial Record of an ancestor at the old Ardwick Cemetery in Manchester and I was fascinated by the vast range of 'deaths' that were listed.

    There were all the usual suspects, including every conceivable and inconceivable form of Bowel Complaint, but some caught my eye;

    Mortification, Killed by a Fall of Earth, Abscess of the Armpit (my ancestors) and my favourite-Water in the Head. This one reminds of one of the late Benny Hill's old jokes. " What do you recommend for water on the knee? A tap on the head".
  17. Gillian

    Gillian LostCousins Star

    I think the term "water in the head" is actually still used, though the Latin hydrocephalus is certainly preferred. See this website.
  18. Liberty

    Liberty LostCousins Megastar

    I recall reading (years ago) re Elizabethan times, that teething was a dangerous time of life, as the infant ceased to get the nutrition of milk and was weaned onto anything from flour-and-water paste upward. So the death may have been malnutrition/starvation!
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2015
  19. ann42

    ann42 LostCousins Member

    One of my ancestors was in the RN & died in 1877 off the coast of East Africa from "perforation of the bowels caused by worms" - horrifying !
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. palfamily

    palfamily LostCousins Member

    My great great grandmother died in 1881 in Chester Lunatic Asylum of Exhaustion from chronic mania and cancer of the breast. It’s horrifying to think what she went through.
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