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Strange Entry

Discussion in 'Medicine' started by Heather, Jul 27, 2019.

  1. Heather

    Heather LostCousins Member

    I have just seen what I think is a rather strange entry on the Deceased Online site. It reads under the heading Roman Catholic Portion, Register of Burials in the burial ground of Blackburn dated 1871 " Amputated Leg of James Marsden, The Infirmary Blackburn, 7th April" The Infirmary was the main Hospital in Blackburn into the 1970's. Has anyone ever seen a similar entry when searching burial records?
     
  2. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    Is the amputated leg as a cause of death - or is it a death certificate/burial for the leg itself?
     
  3. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Star

    The entry in the burial register indicates it was just his amputated leg that was buried.
     
  4. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Have you found his burial? Presumably the intention would have been to reunite him with his leg in death.
     
  5. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Star

    I don’t know about the intention but he is not listed as being in the same grave.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Heather

    Heather LostCousins Member

    James Marsden is not the person I was looking for when I came across this strange entry, the leg entry was just on the same page as my ancestor. There are lots of James Marsden burials in this cemetery after 7th April 1871 but as Pauline said he is not in the same grave as his leg, which I presume was buried before the rest of him. There is no relationship or address stated on the leg entry so probably it would be impossible to find out anything further about this poor man.

    Something else I found out whilst searching burial records was that some females were described as " Rel of John" which I took to be " relative of John" a strange way to describe someone who I knew to be John's wife. Yesterday I saw an entry which described an ancestor as being "Relict of William" not having come across that word before I now know that it means widow, you learn something every day.
     
  7. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Star

    With apologies to the more squeamish among us (which includes me!), the infirmary would have had to do something with an amputated leg, and incineration may not have been an option for them.

    Perhaps the surprising thing here is that the burial was recorded in the ordinary register, but maybe the person then in charge was erring on the side of caution, particularly if there might have been grave robbers around.
     
  8. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    You'll also see it on headstones and in wills. It's sometimes used to distinguish between someone who was 'a widow' and the person who was 'the widow'.
     
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  9. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    There were 4000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire according to The Beatles ("they had to count them all"), but I reckon this is probably the entry (from Deceased Online) for the remaining remains of James Marsden (it was a pauper grave and someone who had only one leg was unlikely to be able to earn an income - or survive very long):

    last name: Marsden
    first names: James
    burial date: 11 November 1871
    location:Blackburn Cemetery (Lancashire)
     
  10. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    Maybe there was some kind of religious reason for burying his leg and attempting to (presumably) reunite him with it?

    (Still can't get over the fact they buried the bloke's amputated leg in its own grave!)
     
  11. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Star

    It wasn't actually in a grave by itself - there was a stillborn child buried in the same grave about a fortnight later, and another (unrelated?) burial in it in 1907.
     
  12. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Star

    Unfortunately this isn't him - this James Marsden was apparently just 3 days old.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    There's another one a few months later in the same cemetery - maybe that's it.
     
  14. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Star

    The 1871 census shows a 22 year old James Marsden in the infirmary. Since this census was taken just a few days before the burial on 7 April, maybe this was him?
     
  15. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Seems very likely. The death of a James Marsden aged 23 was registered in Blackburn in the 2nd quarter of 1872, so he must be a likely candidate.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. jorghes

    jorghes LostCousins Member

    Obviously a spare grave for a multitude of things.
     
  17. Heather

    Heather LostCousins Member

    Yes this is possibly him, he was buried in the Catholic section and was 23 years old, son of William and Elizabeth of 9 Pickup Street, great detective work by all, thanks.
     
  18. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    But has anyone found William & Elizabeth? I had a quick look but neither of the couples I found were living in Pickup Street - indeed, when I searched the 1871 Census by address Findmypast didn't appear to have heard of it.

    I'd like to write about this unusual story in my newsletter.
     
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  19. Pauline

    Pauline LostCousins Star

    This is a tricky one as I think James' birthplace in 1871 - Wharton - may be incorrect. Also, his father may have married again in 1869. So my best guess for 1871 is : RG10 4179 Fo: 42 p25. And in 1861: RG9 3140 Fo: 89 p11.

    This assumes that "Wharton" meant Walton [le Dale].

    Don't forget a "squeamish" warning! :)
     
  20. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

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