Genealogy Tidbits

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This is not an error: It is the number to remember when you want to find the birthdate
of someone when you only have the date of death and age.

How do you figure the birthdate?

Suppose the person died May 6, 1889, at the age of 71 years, 7 months, 9 days.

1. Write the year, month, day as: -----------> 18890506
2. Subtract the age at death: ----------------> 710709
3. This gives the figure: ------------------------> 18179797
4. Now subtract 8870: --------------------------> 8870
5. The result is: -----------------------------------> 18170927

Year 1817, 9th month (Sept), 27th day or 27 Sept, 1817

Source: Platte Co, MO Historical/Genealogical Society

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Old Occupations

Here is a list of old occupations compiled by a Dan Burrows who put these 130 items together from many sources. Some of the words have evolved to mean other things in modern times. Hope they are of help to you, especially when reading census records or wills..

  • Accomptant-- Accountant
  • Almoner-- Giver of charity to the needy
  • Amanuensis-- Secretary or stenographer
  • Artificer-- A soldier mechanic who does repairs
  • Bailie-- Bailiff
  • Baxter-- Baker
  • Bluestocking-- Female writer
  • Boniface-- Keeper of an inn
  • Brazier-- One who works with brass
  • Brewster-- Beer manufacturer
  • Brightsmith-- Metal Worker
  • Burgonmaster-- Mayor
  • Caulker-- One who filled up cracks (in ships or windows or seems to make them watertight by using tar or oakum-hem fiber produced by taking old ropes apart
  • Chaisemaker-- Carriage maker
  • Chandler-- Dealer or trader; one who makes or sells candles; retailer of groceries, ship supplier
  • Chiffonnier-- Wig maker
  • Clark-- Clerk
  • Clerk-- Clergyman, cleric
  • Clicker-- The servant of a salesman who stood at the door to invite customers; one who received the matter in the galley from the compositors and arranged it in due form ready for printing; one who makes eyelet holes in boots using a machine which clicked.
  • Cohen-- Priest
  • Collier-- Coal miner
  • Colporteur-- Peddler of books
  • Cooper-- One who makes or repairs vessels made of staves & hoops, such as casks, barrels, tubs, etc.
  • Cordwainer-- Shoemaker, originally any leather worker using leather from Cordova/Cordoba in Spain
  • Costermonger-- Peddler of fruits and vegetables
  • Crocker-- Potter
  • Crowner-- Coroner
  • Currier-- One who dresses the coat of a horse with a currycomb; one who tanned leather by incorporating oil or grease
  • Docker-- Stevedore, dock worker who loads and unloads cargo
  • Dowser-- One who finds water using a rod or witching stick
  • Draper-- A dealer in dry goods
  • Drayman-- One who drives a long strong cart without fixed sides for carrying heavy loads
  • Dresser-- A surgeon's assistant in a hospital
  • Drover-- One who drives cattle, sheep, etc. to market; a dealer in cattle
  • Duffer-- Peddler
  • Factor Agent-- commission merchant; one who acts or transacts business for another; Scottish steward or bailiff of an estate
  • Farrier-- A blacksmith, one who shoes horses
  • Faulkner-- Falconer
  • Fell monger-- One who removes hair or wool from hides in preparation for leather making
  • Fletcher-- One who made bows and arrows
  • Fuller-- One who fulls cloth;one who shrinks and thickens woolen cloth by moistening, heating and pressing; one who cleans and finishes cloth
  • Gaoler-- A keeper of the goal, a jailer
  • Glazier-- Window glassman
  • Hacker-- Maker of hoes
  • Hatcheler-- One who combed out or carded flax
  • Haymonger-- Dealer in hay
  • Hayward-- Keeper of fences
  • Higgler-- Itinerant peddler
  • Hillier-- Roof tiler
  • Hind-- A farm laborer
  • Holster-- A groom who took care of horses, often at an inn
  • Hooker-- Reaper
  • Hooper-- One who made hoops for casks and barrels
  • Huckster-- Sells small wares
  • Husbandman-- A farmer who cultivated the land
  • Jagger-- Fish peddler
  • Journeyman-- One who had served his apprenticeship and mastered his craft, not bound to serve a master, but hired by the day
  • Joyner / Joiner-- A skilled carpenter
  • Keeler-- Bargeman
  • Kempster-- Wool comber
  • Lardner-- Keeper of the cupboard
  • Lavender-- Washer woman
  • Lederer-- Leather maker
  • Leech-- Physician
  • Longshoreman-- Stevedore
  • Lormer --Maker of horse gear
  • Malender-- Farmer
  • Maltster-- Brewer
  • Manciple-- A steward
  • Mason-- Bricklayer
  • Mintmaster-- One who issued local currency
  • Monger-- Seller of goods (ale, fish)
  • Muleskinner-- Teamster
  • Neatherder-- Herds cows
  • Ordinary Keeper-- Innkeeper with fixed prices
  • Pattern Maker-- A maker of a clog shod with an iron ring.
    A clog was a wooden pole with a pattern cut into the end
  • Peregrinator-- Itinerant wanderer
  • Peruker-- A wig maker
  • Pettifogger-- A shyster lawyer
  • Pigman-- Crockery dealer
  • Plumber-- One who applied sheet lead for roofing and set lead frames for plain or stained glass windows.
  • Porter-- Door keeper
  • Puddler-- Wrought iron worker
  • Quarrier-- Quarry worker
  • Rigger-- Hoist tackle worker
  • Ripper-- Seller of fish
  • Roper-- Maker of rope or nets
  • Saddler-- One who makes, repairs or sells saddles or other furnishings for horses
  • Sawbones-- Physician
  • Sawyer-- One who saws; carpenter
  • Schumacker-- Shoemaker
  • Scribler-- A minor or worthless author
  • Scrivener-- Professional or public copyist or writer; notary public
  • Scrutiner-- Election judge
  • Shrieve-- Sheriff
  • Slater-- Roofer
  • Slopseller-- Seller of ready-made clothes in a slop shop
  • Snobscat / Snob-- One who repaired shoes
  • Sorter-- Tailor
  • Spinster-- A woman who spins or an unmarried woman
  • Spurrer-- Maker of spurs
  • Squire-- Country gentleman; farm owner; justice of peace
  • Stuff gown-- Junior barrister
  • Stuff gownsman-- Junior barrister
  • Supercargo-- Officer on merchant ship who is in charge of cargo and the commercial concerns of the ship.
  • Tanner-- One who tans (cures) animal hides into leather
  • Tapley-- One who puts the tap in an ale cask
  • Tasker-- Reaper
  • Teamster-- One who drives a team for hauling
  • Thatcher-- Roofer
  • Tide waiter-- Customs inspector
  • Tinker-- Am itinerant tin pot and pan seller and repairman
  • Tipstaff-- Policeman
  • Travers-- Toll bridge collection
  • Tucker-- Cleaner of cloth goods
  • Turner-- A person who turns wood on a lathe into spindles
  • Victualer-- A tavern keeper, or one who provides an army, navy or ship with food
  • Vulcan-- Blacksmith
  • Wagoner-- Teamster not for hire
  • Wainwright-- Wagon maker
  • Waiter Customs officer or tide waiter-- one who waited on the tide to collect duty on goods brought in.
  • Waterman-- Boatman who plies for hire
  • Webster-- Operator of looms
  • Wharfinger-- Owner of a wharf
  • Wheelwright-- One who made or repaired wheels; wheeled carriages,etc.
  • Whitesmith Tinsmith-- worker of iron who finishes or polishes the work
  • Whitewing-- Street sweeper
  • Whitster-- Bleach of cloth
  • Wright-- Workman, especially a construction worker
  • Yeoman Farmer-- who owns his own land

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Glossary of Genealogy Terms

by Dan Burrows

  • ABSTRACT - Summary of important points of a given text, especially deeds and wills.
  • ACRE - See measurements.
  • ADMINISTRATION (of estate) - The collection, management and distribution of an estate by proper legal process.
  • ADMINISTRATOR (of estate) - Person appointed to manage or divide the estate of a deceased person.
  • ADMINISTRATRIX - A female administrator.
  • AFFIDAVIT - A statement in writing, sworn to before proper authority.
  • ALIEN - Foreigner.
  • AMERICAN REVOLUTION - U.S. war for independence from Great Britain 1775-1783.
  • ANCESTOR - A person from whom you are descended; a forefather.
  • ANTE - Latin prefix meaning before, such as in ante-bellum South, "The South before the war"
  • APPRENTICE - One who is bound by indentures or by legal agreement or by any means to serve another person for a certain time, with a view of learning an art or trade.
  • APPURTENANCE - That which belongs to something else such as a building, orchard, right of way, etc.
  • ARCHIVES - Records of a government, organization, institution; the place where records are stored.
  • ATTEST - To affirm; to certify by signature or oath.
  • BANNS - Public announcement of intended marriage.
  • BENEFICIARY - One who receives benefit of trust or property.
  • BEQUEATH - To give personal property to a person in a will. Noun -- bequest.
  • BOND - Written, signed, witnessed agreement requiring payment of a specified amount of money on or before a given date.
  • BOUNTY LAND WARRANT - A right to obtain land, specific number of acres of unallocated public land, granted for military service.
  • CENSUS - Official enumeration, listing or counting of citizens.
  • CERTIFIED COPY - A copy made and attested to by officers having charge of the original and authorized to give copies.
  • CHAIN - See measurements.
  • CHATTEL - Personal property which can include animate as well as inanimate properties.
  • CHRISTEN - To receive or initiate into the visible church by baptism; to name at baptism; to give a name to.
  • CIRCA - About, near, or approximate -- usually referring to a date.
  • CIVIL WAR - War between the States; war between North and South, 1861-65.
  • CODICIL - Addition to a will.
  • COLLATERAL ANCESTOR - Belong to the same ancestral stock but not in direct line of descent; opposed to lineal such as aunts, uncles & cousins.
  • COMMON ANCESTOR - Ancestor shared by any two people.
  • CONFEDERATE - Pertaining to the Southern states which seceded from the U.S. in 1860 - 1, their government and their citizens.
  • CONSANGUINITY - Blood relationship.
  • CONSORT - Usually, a wife whose husband is living
  • CONVEYANCE - See deed.
  • COUSIN - Relative descended from a common ancestor, but not a brother or sister.
  • DAUGHTER-IN-LAW - Wife of one's son.
  • DECEASED - Dead.
  • DECEDENT - A deceased person.
  • DECLARATION OF INTENTION - First paper, sworn to and filed in court, by an alien stating that he wants to be come a citizen.
  • DEED - A document by which title in real property is transferred from one party to another.
  • DEPOSITION - A testifying or testimony taken down in writing under oath of affirmation in reply to interrogatories, before a competent officer to replace to oral testimony of a witness.
  • DEVISE - Gift of real property by will.
  • DEVISEE - One to whom real property (land) is given in a will.
  • DEVISOR - One who gives real property in a will.
  • DISSENTER - One who did not belong to the established church, especially the Church of England in the American colonies.
  • DISTRICT LAND OFFICE PLAT BOOK - Books or rather maps which show the location of the land patentee.
  • DISTRICT LAND OFFICE TRACT BOOK - Books which list individual entries by range and township.
  • DOUBLE DATING - A system of double dating used in England and America from 1582-1752 because it was not clear as to whether the year commenced January 1 or March 25
  • DOWER - Legal right or share which a wife acquired by marriage in the real estate of her husband, allotted to her after his death for her lifetime.
  • EMIGRANT - One leaving a country and moving to another.
  • ENUMERATION - Listing or counting , such as a census.
  • EPITAPH - An inscription on or at a tomb or grave in memory of the one buried there.
  • ESCHEAT - The reversion of property to the state when there are no qualified heirs.
  • ESTATE - All property and debts belonging to a person.
  • ET AL - Latin for "and others".
  • ET UX - Latin for "and wife".
  • ET UXOR - And his wife. Sometimes written simply Et Ux.
  • EXECUTOR - One appointed in a will to carry out its provisions. Female = Executrix
  • FATHER-IN-LAW - Father of one's spouse.
  • FEE - An estate of inheritance in land, being either fee simple or fee tail. An estate in land held of a feudal lord on condition of the performing of certain services.
  • FEE SIMPLE - An absolute ownership without restriction.
  • FEE TAIL - An estate of inheritance limited to lineal descendant heirs of a person to whom it was granted.
  • FRANKLIN, STATE OF - An area once known but never officially recognized and was under consideration from 1784 - 1788 from the western part of North Carolina.
  • FRATERNITY - Group of men (or women) sharing a common purpose or interest.
  • FREE HOLD - An estate in fee simple, in fee tail, or for life.
  • FRIEND - Member of the Religious Society of Friends; a Quaker.
  • FURLONG - See measurements.
  • GAZETTEER - A geographical dictionary; a book giving names and descriptions of places usually in alphabetical order.
  • GENEALOGY - Study of family history and descent.
  • GENTLEMAN - A man well born.
  • GIVEN NAME - Name given to a person at birth or baptism, one's first and middle names.
  • GLEBE - Land belonging to a parish church.
  • GRANTEE - One who buys property or receives a grant.
  • GRANTOR - One who sells property or makes a grant.
  • GREAT-AUNT - Sister of one's grandparent
  • GREAT-UNCLE - Brother of one's grandparent.
  • GUARDIAN - Person appointed to care for and manage property of a minor orphan or an adult incompetent of managing his own affairs.
  • HALF BROTHER/HALF SISTER - Child by another marriage of one's mother or father; the relationship of two people who have only one parent in common.
  • HEIRS - Those entitled by law or by the terms of a will to inherit property from another.
  • HOLOGRAPHIC WILL - One written entirely in the testator's own handwriting.
  • HOMESTEAD ACT - Law passed by Congress in 1862 allowing a head of a family to obtain title to 160 acres of public land after clearing and improving it for 5 years.
  • HUGUENOT - A French Protestant in the 16th and 17th centuries. One of the reformed or calvinistic communion who were driven by the thousands into exile in England, Holland, Germany and America.
  • ILLEGITIMATE - Born to a mother who was not married to the child's father.
  • IMMIGRANT - One moving into a country from another.
  • INDENTURE - Today it means a contract in 2 or more copies. Originally made in 2 parts by cutting or tearing a single sheet across the middle in a jagged line so the two parts may later be matched.
  • INDENTURED SERVANT - One who bound himself into service of another person for a specified number of years, often in return for transportation to this country.
  • INFANT - Any person not of full age; a minor.
  • INSTANT - Of or pertaining to the current month. (Abbreviated inst.)
  • INTESTATE - One who dies without a will or dying without a will.
  • INVENTORY - An account, catalog or schedule, made by an executor or administrator of all the goods and chattels and sometimes of the real estate of a deceased person.
  • ISSUE - Offspring; children; lineal descendants of a common ancestor.
  • LATE - Recently deceased.
  • LEASE - An agreement which creates a landlord - tenant situation.
  • LEGACY - Property or money left to someone in a will
  • LEGISLATURE - Lawmaking branch of state or national government; elected group of lawmakers.
  • LIEN - A claim against property as security for payment of a debt.
  • LINEAGE - Ancestry; direct descent from a specific ancestor.
  • LINEAL - Consisting of or being in as direct line of ancestry or descendants; descended in a direct line.
  • LINK - See measurements.
  • LIS PENDENS - Pending court action; usually applies to land title claims.
  • LODGE - A chapter or meeting hall of a fraternal organization.
  • LOYALIST - Tory, an American colonist who supported the British side during the American Revolution.
  • MAIDEN NAME - A girl's last name or surname before she marries.
  • MANUSCRIPT - A composition written with the hand as an ancient book or an un-printed modern book or music.
  • MARRIAGE BOND - A financial guarantee that no impediment to the marriage existed, furnished by the intended bridegroom or by his friends.
  • MATERNAL - Related through one's mother, such as a Maternal grandmother being the mother's mother.
  • MEASUREMENTS - Link - 7.92 inches; Chain - 100 Links or 66 feet; Furlong - 1000 Links or 660 feet; Rod - 5 1/2 yds or 16 1/2 ft (also called a perch or pole); Rood - From 5 1/2 yards to 8 yards, depending on locality; Acre - 43,560 square ft or 160 square rods.
  • MESSUAGE - A dwelling house.
  • METES & BOUNDS - Property described by natural boundaries, such as 3 notches in a white oak tree, etc.
  • MICROFICHE - Sheet of microfilm with greatly reduced images of pages of documents.
  • MICROFILM - Reproduction of documents on film at reduced size.
  • MIGRANT - Person who moves from place to place, usually in search of work
  • MIGRATE - To move from one country or state or region to another. (Noun : migration)
  • MILITIA - Citizens of a state who are not part of the national military forces but who can be called into military service in an emergency; a citizen army, apart from the regular military forces.
  • MINOR - One who is under legal age; not yet a legal adult.
  • MISTER - In early times, a title of respect given only to those who held important civil officer or who were of gentle blood.
  • MOIETY - A half; an indefinite portion
  • MORTALITY - Death; death rate.
  • MORTALITY SCHEDULES - Enumeration of persons who died during the year prior to June 1 of 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 in each state of the United States, conducted by the bureau of census.
  • MORTGAGE - A conditional transfer of title to real property as security for payment of a debt.
  • MOTHER-IN-LAW - Mother of one's spouse.
  • NAMESAKE - Person named after another person.
  • NECROLOGY - Listing or record of persons who have died recently
  • NEE - Used to identify a woman's maiden name; born with the surname of.
  • NEPHEW - Son of one's brother or sister.
  • NIECE - Daughter of one's brother or sister.
  • NONCUPATIVE WILL - One declared or dictated by the testator, usually for persons in last sickness, sudden illness, or military.
  • ORPHAN - Child whose parents are dead; sometimes, a child who has lost one parent by death.
  • ORPHAN'S COURT - Orphans being recognized as wards of the states, provisions were made for them in special courts.
  • PASSENGER LIST - A ships list of passengers, usually referring to those ships arriving in the US from Europe.
  • PATENT - Grant of land from a government to an individual.
  • PATERNAL - Related to one's father. Paternal grandmother is the father's mother.
  • PATRIOT - One who loves his country and supports its interests.
  • PEDIGREE - Family tree; ancestry.
  • PENSION - Money paid regularly to an individual, especially by a government as reward for military service during wartime or upon retirement from government service.
  • PENSIONER - One who receives a pension.
  • PERCH - See measurements.
  • POLE - See measurements.
  • POLL - List or record of persons, especially for taxing or voting.
  • POST - Latin prefix meaning after, as in post-war economy.
  • POSTERITY - Descendants; those who come after.
  • POWER OF ATTORNEY - When a person in unable to act for himself, he appoints another to act in his behalf.
  • PRE - Latin prefix meaning before, as in pre-war military build-up.
  • PRE-EMOTION RIGHTS - Right given by the federal government to citizens to buy a quarter section of land or less.
  • PROBATE - Having to do with wills and the administration of estates.
  • PROGENITOR - A direct ancestor.
  • PROGENY - Descendants of a common ancestor; issue.
  • PROVED WILL - A will established as genuine by probate court.
  • PROVOST - A person appointed to superintend, or preside over something.
  • PROXIMO - In the following month, in the month after the present one.
  • PUBLIC DOMAIN - Land owned by the government.
  • QUAKER - Member of the Religious Society of Friends.
  • QUITCLAIM - A deed conveying the interest of the party at that time.
  • RECTOR - A clergyman; the ruler or governor of a country.
  • RELICT - Widow; surviving spouse when one has died, husband or wife.
  • REPUBLIC - Government in which supreme authority lies with the people or their elected representatives.
  • REVOLUTIONARY WAR - U.S. war for independence from Great Britain 1775 - 1783.
  • ROD - See measurements.
  • ROOD - See measurements.
  • SHAKER - Member of a religious group formed in 1747 which practiced communal living and celibacy.
  • SIBLING - Person having one or both parents in common with another; a brother or sister.
  • SIC - Latin meaning thus; copied exactly as the original reads. Often suggests a mistake or surprise in the original.
  • SON-IN-LAW - Husband of one's daughter.
  • SPINSTER - A woman still unmarried; or one who spins.
  • SPONSOR - A bondsman; surety.
  • SPOUSE - Husband or wife.
  • STATUTE - Law.
  • STEP-BROTHER / STEP-SISTER - Child of one's step-father or step-mother.
  • STEP-CHILD - Child of one's husband or wife from a previous marriage.
  • STEP-FATHER - Husband of one's mother by a later marriage.
  • STEP-MOTHER - Wife of one's father by a later marriage.
  • SURNAME - Family name or last name.
  • TERRITORY - Area of land owned by the united States, not a state, but having its own legislature and governor.
  • TESTAMENTARY - Pertaining to a will.
  • TESTATE - A person who dies leaving a valid will.
  • TESTATOR - A person who makes a valid will before his death.
  • TITHABLE - Taxable.
  • TITHE - Formerly, money due as a tax for support of the clergy or church.
  • TORY - Loyalist; one who supported the British side in the American Revolution.
  • TOWNSHIP - A division of U.S. public land that contained 36 sections, or 36 square miles. Also a subdivision of the county in many Northeastern and Midwestern states of the U.S.
  • TRADITION - The handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, genealogies, etc. from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth.
  • TRANSCRIBE - To make a copy in writing.
  • ULTIMO - In the month before this one.
  • UNION - The United States; also the North during the Civil War, the states which did not secede.
  • VERBATIM - Word for word; in the same words, verbally.
  • VITAL RECORDS - Records of birth, death, marriage or divorce.
  • VITAL STATISTICS - Data dealing with birth, death, marriage or divorce.
  • WAR BETWEEN THE STATES - U.S. Civil War, 1861 - 1865.
  • WARD - Chiefly the division of a city for election purposes.
  • WILL - Document declaring how a person wants his property divided after his death.
  • WITNESS - One who is present at a transaction, such as a sale of land or signing of a will, who can testify or affirm that it actually took place.
  • WPA HISTORICAL RECORDS SURVEY - A program undertaken by the US Government 1935 - 1936 in which inventories were compiled of historical material.
  • YEOMAN - A servant, an attendant or subordinate official in a royal household; a subordinate of a sheriff; an independent farmer.
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What Do Those Initials Mean?

Initials after your ancestor's names may provide useful information that you'd not expected. The following list includes initials you may come across when reading old wills or other documents.

  • a.a.s.
  • d.s.p.
  • d.s.p.l.
  • d.s.p.m.s.
  • d.s.p.s
  • d.unm
  • d.v.p.
  • d.v.m.
  • Et al
  • Inst
  • Liber
  • Nepos
  • Nunc
  • Ob
  • Relict
  • Sic
  • Testes
  • Utl
  • Ux or vs
  • Viz

  • died in the year of his/her age (anno aetitis suae) (86 y/o died in year 86)
  • died without issue (decessit sine prole legitima)
  • died without legitimate issue (decessit sine prole mascula supesita)
  • died without surviving male issue (decessit sine prole mascula supersita)
  • died without surviving issue (decessit sine prole supersita)
  • died unmarried
  • died in the lifetime of his father (decessit vita patris)
  • died in the lifetime of his mother (decessit vita matris)
  • and others (et alia)
  • present month (instans)
  • book or volume
  • grandson
  • Nuncapative will, an oral will, written by a witness
  • he/she died (obit)
  • widow or widower (relicta/relictus)
  • so or thus, exact copy as written
  • witnesses
  • late (ultimo)
  • wife (uxor)
  • namely (videlicet)

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Naming Patterns

1st son = father's father
2nd son = mother's father
3rd son = father
4th son = father's oldest brother
5th son = father's 2nd oldest brother or mother's oldest brother

1st daughter = mother's mother
2nd daughter = father's mother
3rd daughter = mother
4th daughter = mother's oldest sister
5th daughter = mother's 2nd oldest sister or father's oldest sister

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Disease Terminology

by Dan Burrows & Sally Pavia

  • Ablepsy - Blindness
  • Ague - Malarial Fever
  • American plague - Yellow fever
  • Anasarca - Generalized massive edema
  • Aphonia - Laryngitis
  • Aphtha - The infant disease "thrush"
  • Apoplexy - Paralysis due to stroke
  • Asphycsia/Asphicsia - Cyanotic and lack of oxygen
  • Atrophy - Wasting away or diminishing in size.
  • Bad Blood - Syphilis
  • Bilious fever - Typhoid, malaria, hepatitis or elevated temperature and bile emesis
  • Biliousness - Jaundice associated with liver disease
  • Black plague or death - Bubonic plague
  • Black fever - Acute infection with high temperature and dark red skin lesions and high mortality rate
  • Black pox - Black Small pox
  • Black vomit - Vomiting old black blood due to ulcers or yellow fever
  • Blackwater fever - Dark urine associated with high temperature
  • Bladder in throat - Diphtheria (Seen on death certificates)
  • Blood poisoning - Bacterial infection; septicemia
  • Bloody flux - Bloody stools
  • Bloody sweat - Sweating sickness
  • Bone shave - Sciatica
  • Brain fever - Meningitis
  • Breakbone - Dengue fever
  • Bright's disease - Chronic inflammatory disease of kidneys
  • Bronze John - Yellow fever
  • Bule - Boil, tumor or swelling
  • Cachexy - Malnutrition
  • Cacogastric - Upset stomach
  • Cacospysy - Irregular pulse
  • Caduceus - Subject to falling sickness or epilepsy
  • Camp fever - Typhus; aka Camp diarrhea
  • Canine madness - Rabies, hydrophobia
  • Canker - Ulceration of mouth or lips or herpes simplex
  • Catalepsy - Seizures / trances
  • Catarrhal - Nose and throat discharge from cold or allergy
  • Cerebritis - Inflammation of cerebrum or lead poisoning
  • Chilblain - Swelling of extremities caused by exposure to cold
  • Child bed fever - Infection following birth of a child
  • Chin cough - Whooping cough
  • Chlorosis - Iron deficiency anemia
  • Cholera - Acute severe contagious diarrhea with intestinal lining sloughing
  • Cholera morbus - Characterized by nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, elevated temperature, etc. Could be appendicitis
  • Cholecystitus - Inflammation of the gall bladder
  • Cholelithiasis - Gall stones
  • Chorea - Disease characterized by convulsions, contortions and dancing
  • Cold plague - Ague which is characterized by chills
  • Colic - An abdominal pain and cramping
  • Congestive chills - Malaria
  • Consumption - Tuberculosis
  • Congestion - Any collection of fluid in an organ, like the lungs
  • Congestive chills - Malaria with diarrhea
  • Congestive fever - Malaria
  • Corruption - Infection
  • Coryza - A cold
  • Costiveness - Constipation
  • Cramp colic - Appendicitis
  • Crop sickness - Overextended stomach
  • Croup - Laryngitis, diphtheria, or strep throat
  • Cyanosis - Dark skin color from lack of oxygen in blood
  • Cynanche - Diseases of throat
  • Cystitis - Inflammation of the bladder
  • Day fever - Fever lasting one day; sweating sickness
  • Debility - Lack of movement or staying in bed
  • Decrepitude - Feebleness due to old age
  • Delirium tremens - Hallucinations due to alcoholism
  • Dengue - Infectious fever endemic to East Africa
  • Dentition - Cutting of teeth
  • Deplumation - Tumor of the eyelids which causes hair loss
  • Diary fever - A fever that lasts one day
  • Diptheria - Contagious disease of the throat
  • Distemper - Usually animal disease with malaise, discharge from nose and throat, anorexia
  • Dock fever - Yellow fever
  • Dropsy - Edema (swelling), often caused by kidney or heart disease
  • Dropsy of the Brain - Encephalitis
  • Dry Bellyache - Lead poisoning
  • Dyscrasy - An abnormal body condition
  • Dysentery - Inflammation of colon with frequent passage of mucous and blood
  • Dysorexy - Reduced appetite
  • Dyspepsia - Indigestion and heartburn. Heart attack symptoms
  • Dysury - Difficulty in urination
  • Eclampsy - Symptoms of epilepsy, convulsions during labor
  • Ecstasy - A form of catalepsy characterized by loss of reason
  • Edema - Nephrosis; swelling of tissues
  • Edema of lungs - Congestive heart failure, a form of dropsy
  • Eel thing - Erysipelas
  • Elephantiasis - A form of leprosy
  • Encephalitis - Swelling of brain; aka sleeping sickness
  • Enteric fever - Typhoid fever
  • Enterocolitis - Inflammation of the intestines
  • Enteritis - Inflations of the bowels
  • Epitaxis - Nose bleed
  • Erysipelas - Contagious skin disease, due to Streptococci with vesicular and bulbous lesions
  • Extravasted blood - Rupture of a blood vessel
  • Falling sickness - Epilepsy
  • Fatty Liver - Cirrhosis of liver
  • Fits - Sudden attack or seizure of muscle activity
  • Flux - An excessive flow or discharge of fluid like hemorrhage or diarrhea
  • Flux of humour - Circulation
  • French pox - Syphilis
  • Gathering - A collection of pus
  • Glandular fever - Mononucleosis
  • Great pox - Syphilis
  • Green fever / sickness - Anemia
  • Grippe/grip - Influenza like symptoms
  • Grocer's itch - Skin disease caused by mites in sugar or flour
  • Heart sickness - Condition caused by loss of salt from body
  • Heat stroke - Body temperature elevates because of surrounding environment temperature and body does not perspire to reduce temperature. Coma and death result if not reversed
  • Hectical complaint - Recurrent fever
  • Hematemesis - Vomiting blood
  • Hematuria - Bloody urine
  • Hemiplegy - Paralysis of one side of body
  • Hip gout - Osteomylitis
  • Horrors - Delirium tremens
  • Hydrocephalus - Enlarged head, water on the brain
  • Hydropericardium - Heart dropsy
  • Hydrophobia - Rabies
  • Hydrothroax - Dropsy in chest
  • Hypertrophic - Enlargement of organ, like the heart
  • Impetigo - Contagious skin disease characterized by pustules
  • Inanition - Physical condition resulting from lack of food
  • Infantile paralysis - Polio
  • Intestinal colic - Abdominal pain due to improper diet
  • Jail fever - Typhus
  • Jaundice - Condition caused by blockage of intestines
  • King's evil - Tuberculosis of neck and lymph glands
  • Kruchhusten - Whooping cough
  • Lagrippe - Influenza
  • Lockjaw - Tetanus or infectious disease affecting the muscles of the neck and jaw. Untreated, it is fatal in 8 days
  • Long sickness - Tuberculosis
  • Lues disease - Syphilis
  • Lues venera - Venereal disease
  • Lumbago - Back pain
  • Lung fever - Pneumonia
  • Lung sickness - Tuberculosis
  • Lying in - Time of delivery of infant
  • Malignant sore throat - Diphtheria
  • Mania - Insanity
  • Marasmus - Progressive wasting away of body, like malnutrition
  • Membranous Croup - Diphtheria
  • Meningitis - Inflations of brain or spinal cord
  • Metritis - Inflammation of uterus or purulent vaginal discharge
  • Miasma - Poisonous vapors thought to infect the air
  • Milk fever - Disease from drinking contaminated milk, like undulant fever or brucellosis
  • Milk leg - Post partum thrombophlebitis
  • Milk sickness - Disease from milk of cattle which had eaten poisonous weeds
  • Mormal - Gangrene
  • Morphew - Scurvy blisters on the body
  • Mortification - Gangrene of necrotic tissue
  • Myelitis - Inflammation of the spine
  • Myocarditis - Inflammation of heart muscles
  • Necrosis - Mortification of bones or tissue
  • Nephrosis - Kidney degeneration
  • Nepritis - Inflammation of kidneys
  • Nervous prostration - Extreme exhaustion from inability to control physical and mental activities
  • Neuralgia - Described as discomfort, such as "Headache" was neuralgia in head
  • Nostalgia - Homesickness
  • Palsy - Paralysis or uncontrolled movement of controlled muscles. It was listed as "Cause of death"
  • Paroxysm - Convulsion
  • Pemphigus - Skin disease of watery blisters
  • Pericarditis - Inflammation of heart
  • Peripneumonia - Inflammation of lungs
  • Peritonotis - Inflammation of abdominal area
  • Petechial Fever - Fever characterized by skin spotting
  • Puerperal exhaustion - Death due to child birth
  • Phthiriasis - Lice infestation
  • Phthisis - Chronic wasting away or a name for tuberculosis
  • Plague - An acute febrile highly infectious disease with a high fatality rate
  • Pleurisy - Any pain in the chest area with each breath
  • Podagra - Gout
  • Poliomyelitis - PolioPotter's asthma - Fibroid pthisis
  • Pott's disease - Tuberculosis of spine
  • Puerperal exhaustion - Death due to childbirth
  • Puerperal fever - Elevated temperature after giving birth to an infant
  • Puking fever - Milk sickness
  • Putrid fever - Diphtheria.
  • Quinsy - Tonsillitis.
  • Remitting fever - Malaria
  • Rheumatism - Any disorder associated with pain in joints
  • Rickets - Disease of skeletal system
  • Rose cold - Hay fever or nasal symptoms of an allergy
  • Rotanny fever - (Child's disease) ???
  • Rubeola - German measles
  • Sanguineous crust - Scab
  • Scarlatina - Scarlet fever
  • Scarlet fever - A disease characterized by red rash
  • Scarlet rash - Roseola
  • Sciatica - Rheumatism in the hips
  • Scirrhus - Cancerous tumors
  • Scotomy - Dizziness, nausea and dimness of sight
  • Scrivener's palsy - Writer's cramp
  • Screws - Rheumatism
  • Scrofula - Tuberculosis of neck lymph glands. Progresses slowly with abscesses and pistulas develop. Young person's disease
  • Scrumpox - Skin disease, impetigo
  • Scurvy - Lack of vitamin C. Symptoms of weakness, spongy gums and hemorrhages under skin
  • Septicemia - Blood poisoning
  • Shakes - Delirium tremens
  • Shaking - Chills, ague
  • Shingles - Viral disease with skin blisters
  • Ship fever - Typhus S
  • iriasis - Inflammation of the brain due to sun exposure
  • Sloes - Milk sickness
  • Small pox - Contagious disease with fever and blisters
  • Softening of brain - Result of stroke or hemorrhage in the brain, with an end result of the tissue softening in that area
  • Sore throat distemper - Diphtheria or quinsy
  • Spanish influenza - Epidemic influenza
  • Spasms - Sudden involuntary contraction of muscle or group of muscles, like a convulsion S
  • pina bifida - Deformity of spine
  • Spotted fever - Either typhus or meningitis
  • Sprue - Tropical disease characterized by intestinal disorders and sore throat
  • St. Anthony's fire - Also erysipelas, but named so because of affected skin areas are bright red in appearance
  • St. Vitas dance - Ceaseless occurrence of rapid complex jerking movements performed involuntary
  • Stomatitis - Inflammation of the mouth
  • Stranger's fever - Yellow fever
  • Strangery - Rupture
  • Sudor anglicus - Sweating sickness
  • Summer complaint - Diarrhea, usually in infants caused by spoiled milk
  • Sunstroke - Uncontrolled elevation of body temperature due to environment heat. Lack of sodium in the body is a predisposing cause
  • Swamp sickness - Could be malaria, typhoid or encephalitis
  • Sweating sickness - Infectious and fatal disease common to UK in 15th century
  • Tetanus - Infectious fever characterized by high fever, headache and dizziness T
  • hrombosis - Blood clot inside blood vessel
  • Thrush - Childhood disease characterized by spots on mouth, lips and throat
  • Tick fever - Rocky mountain spotted fever
  • Toxemia of pregnancy - Eclampsia
  • Trench mouth - Painful ulcers found along gum line, Caused by poor nutrition and poor hygiene
  • Tussis convulsiva - Whooping cough
  • Typhus - Infectious fever characterized high fever, headache, and dizziness
  • Variola - Smallpox
  • Venesection - Bleeding
  • Viper's dance - St. Vitus Dance
  • Water on brain - Enlarged head
  • White swelling - Tuberculosis of the bone
  • Winter fever - Pneumonia
  • Womb fever - Infection of the uterus.
  • Worm fit - Convulsions associated with teething, worms, elevated temperature or diarrhea
  • Yellowjacket - Yellow fever.
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Epidemics in U.S. - 1657 - 1918

From the South Bend, IN Area Genealogical Society, April 1996.

Epidemics have always had a great influence on people -- and thus influencing, as well, the genealogists trying to trace them. Many cases of people disappearing from records can be traced to dying during an epidemic or moving away from the affected area. Some of the major epidemics in the United States are listed below:

1657 Boston: Measles
1687 Boston: Measles
1690 New York: Yellow Fever
1713 Boston: Measles
1729 Boston: Measles
1732-33 Worldwide: Influenza
1738 South Carolina: Smallpox
1739-40 Boston: Measles
1747 Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania & South Carolina: Measles
1759 North America (areas inhabited by white people): Measles
1761-61 North America & West Indies: Influenza
1772 North America: Measles
1775 North America (especially hard in New England): Epidemic (unknown)
1775-76 Worldwide: Influenza
1781-82 Worldwide: Influenza (one of worst flu epidemics)
1788 Philadelphia & New York: Measles
1793 Vermont: Influenza and a "putrid fever"
1793 Virginia: Influenza (kills 500 people in 5 counties in 4 weeks)
1793 Philadelphia: Yellow fever (one of worst)
1783 Delaware (Dover): "extremely fatal" bilious disorder
1793 Pennsylvania (Harrisburg & Middletown): many unexplained deaths
1794 Philadelphia: Yellow fever
1796-97 Philadelphia: Yellow Fever
1798 Philadelphia: Yellow Fever (one of worst)
1803 New York: Yellow Fever
1820-23 Nationwide: "fever" (starts on Schuylkill River, PA & spreads
1831-32 Nationwide: Asiatic Cholera (brought by English emigrants)
1832 New York & other major cities: Cholera
1837 Philadelphia: Typhus
1841 Nationwide: Yellow Fever (especially severe in South)
1847 New Orleans: Yellow Fever
1847-48 Worldwide: Influenza
1848-49 North America: Cholera
1850 Nationwide: Yellow Fever
1850-51 North America: Influenza
1852 Nationwide: Yellow Fever (New Orleans: 8,000 die in summer)
1855 Nationwide (many parts): Yellow Fever
1857-59 Worldwide: Influenza (one of disease's greatest epidemics)
1860-61 Pennsylvania: Smallpox
1865-73 Philadelphia, New York, Boston, New Orleans, Baltimore, Memphis, & Washington D.C.: a series of recurring epidemics of Smallpox, Cholera, Typhus, Typhoid, Scarlet Fever & Yellow Fever
1873-75 North America & Europe: Influenza
1878 New Orleans: Yellow Fever (last great epidemic of disease)
1885 Plymouth, PA: Typhoid
1886: Jacksonville, Fl: Yellow Fever
1918 Worldwide: Influenza (high point year) More people hospitalized in World War I from Influenza than wounds. US Army training camps became death camps --with 80 percent death rate in some camps.

Finally, these specific instances of cholera were mentioned:

1833 Columbus, Ohio
1834 New York City
1849 New York
1851 Coles Co., Illinois
1851 The Great Plains
1851 Missouri

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