Plague and Pestilence

Discussion in 'Research Hints' started by Blackmogs, Apr 5, 2021 at 11:58 AM.

  1. Blackmogs

    Blackmogs Moderator. General Dogs(cats)body. Staff Member

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    I'm off piste again this morning. Do any of you have any suggestions about how to find out if there were any outbreaks of disease in local populations? For example, at the moment I am obsessed with the Jennings family who lived in Dunwear, Somerset late half of 1800s and they do seem to have lost a few children including some twins who lived about a year and then both died. I wondered whether there was any local outbreak of something nasty and if so, where to look. Thanks as ever.
     
  2. AnnB

    AnnB Editor in Chief who is Hot off the Press!

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    Newspapers :D
     
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  3. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    When I was researching the deaths of my great grandmother's young sisters, I discovered that there had been a diphtheria outbreak in the area. I popped the name of the town in Google with the year and the word epidemic and it came up.
     
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  4. AnnB

    AnnB Editor in Chief who is Hot off the Press!

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    I’ve just had a very quick look at the papers and there seems to have been a small-pox outbreak in the 1870’s and one of measles in the 1890’s in the Bridgwater area which covers Dunwear. If you want to give me more information...;)
     
  5. Bay Horse

    Bay Horse Can be a bit of a dark horse

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    I managed to find not only the outbreak of typhus that claimed members of my family but also a description of the house, describing it as filthy.:eek:
     
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  6. burt

    burt Where there's a will there's a way!

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    The Dunwear area would not have been that healthy
    anyway as besides the river there were pits where clay
    was dug for making bricks.
    It is that point at the north end of the flyover that
    carries the M5 over river, railway and canal.
     
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  7. Blackmogs

    Blackmogs Moderator. General Dogs(cats)body. Staff Member

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    Ok twisting my arm (not). Anyone called Jennings. William Jennings was the father he was a brick yard labourer but he lived to a ripe old age. His wife Mary died 1894 after having had 13 children poor lass. Some of their deceased children were twins William and Thomas 1883, Charles 1884, Elizabeth 1893
     
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  8. Blackmogs

    Blackmogs Moderator. General Dogs(cats)body. Staff Member

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    :eek::eek::eek::eek:
     
  9. GrannyBarb

    GrannyBarb Custodian of the Family Accounts

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    I've had luck with town or church histories, even parish records, that mention high deaths from outbreaks.
     
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  10. Blackmogs

    Blackmogs Moderator. General Dogs(cats)body. Staff Member

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    Spot on, William Jennings was a brick yard labourer and I found an article on strikes that went on in 1890s because of the terrible conditions.
     
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  11. AnnB

    AnnB Editor in Chief who is Hot off the Press!

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    Well, I've had a good rootle through the papers and really can't see any 'epidemics' in the Bridgwater area during those dates. It looks like, sadly, the deaths were probably due to the common diseases prevalent at the time, especially scarlatina and whooping cough. There are reports in the papers by the Sanitary Officer such as this from the Bridgwater Mercury 25th August 1886
    Ninety-eight births and sixty-nine deaths were registered in this borough during the past quarter, as against 115 and 60 respectively in the corresponding period of last year, representing an annual birth-rate of 31.7, and a death rate of 19.9, calculated in the estimated population (12,360) to the middle of the year. Four deaths from scarlatina occurred during the early part of the quarter, but none since. I feel confident, therefore, that this troublesome zymotic has certainly left us. One death from fever was registered, and one from whooping cough. Two deaths occurred at the Bridgwater Infirmary, and nine at the Union House. Sixteen persons died aged 60 years and upwards, and ten under one year of age.
     
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  12. Blackmogs

    Blackmogs Moderator. General Dogs(cats)body. Staff Member

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    Thanks Ann, since this morning I have discovered that William likely married Elizabeth in 1868 but by 1871 he was a widower. Then I found a death for Elizabeth Jennings in 1869. How terribly sad.
     
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