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Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Child Lost ~ Introduction

Toward the end of the 19th century it was common for 20% or more of all infants in many populations to die before they reached their first birthday. Often mortality rates were even higher for children between the ages of one and five.

Genealogists researching in the US are probably familiar with the 1900 census and the columns headed "Mother of how many children born" and "Number of these children living". Too often the numbers recorded in each column are different. Obituaries of infants and children are sprinkled over many pages of archived newspapers.

As a parent and grandparent these notices break my heart. As a genealogist I wonder how many of these children are missing from family histories. Anyone who was born and died between census years could easily be overlooked.

I devote a fair amount of time to 19th century obituaries and Find A Grave. I won't be able to reunite all the children in those notices with their parents. But maybe I can guide one lost child to the family history in which they belong. Wouldn't it be wonderful if it was yours?


mjhellman said...

Keep up the good work! Yes - I agree with you. The lost children are such sad stories. The pain the family's went through. Back then, people did not talk about it. I just found out my Grandmother had a sister that died before 2 years or age. I was shocked!

Laura said...

Thanks for the comment Mary! It's a topic close to my heart. My grandfather lost four young siblings ~ two as infants. Such a tragedy.

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