Every genealogist eventually comes face-to-face with the cause of death for many of his or her ancestors. We contemplate the old disease names such as “brain fever” (meningitis), Bright’s disease (kidney failure), cancer, cholera, tuberculosis, heart attack, smallpox, tetanus, typhoid fever, diphtheria, yellow fever, malaria, and a host of others for which there are medications that have reduced the mortality rates. This week’s column is a little different look at genealogy, science, and family experiences.
This week marks the 90th anniversary of the outbreak of the most virulent outbreak of the “great influenza” in 1918. Also referred to as the Spanish flu, it was first observed at Fort Riley, Kansas, on 4 March 1918 and then again a week later in Queens, New York. In August, however, simultaneous epidemics appeared in Boston, Massachusetts, Brest, France, and Freetown, Sierra Leone.
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