Tuesday, March 9, 2010

He died of what?

Have you ever obtained a death record or other medical record of an ancestor, looked at the diagnosis and thought, "what was that"? For example - Bright's disease, white flux, herpes zoster or dumb ague. A small, but valuable source in the library's collection that will help you decipher these is A Medical Miscellany for Genealogists by Dr. Jeanette L. Jerger (Heritage Books, 1995). It tells me that Bright's disease is akin to nephritis, a kidney disease that "ranked high as the cause of death in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries". White flux was cholera. Herpes Zoster was shingles. Dumb ague, which had several other names, was a "form of malaria characterized by irregular attacks of fever without chills." Come take a look at this source for these other interesting terms: eclectic medicine, dropsy, Egyptian chlorosis, English disease, ship's fever.
The book can be found at R Gen 610.14 JER

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the suggestion. This is exactly the type of book I am looking for (and I do have a Bright's disease death certificate in my collection).

    If you ever have any genealogy events you want publicized, let me know and I'll put them on the Texas Genealogy Events calendar http://tinyurl.com/txgen