Sunday, April 7, 2013

K is for Killed (or Died) in Childhood - Family History Through the Alphabet

Losing children was a frequent event to our ancestors and perhaps it's morbid to discuss infants and children who were killed or died of disease or illness and yet I think it's important that they be remembered.  How a mother must have mourned at the loss of her child....  Just a few below.
  • Little 5-year-old Ethel Clair Gerner was killed from poisoning.  She was a daughter of Fred K. and Elvira (Bartley) Gerner.  She was born on 15 May 1892 and died 16 April 1897.  She is buried in Bear Creek Cemetery, Petrolia, Butler County, Pennsylvania. 
  • Less than 3 months old, Netta (or Meta) Mildred Gerner died of enlargement of the liver.  She was a daughter of Fred K. and Elvira (Bartley) Gerner.  Born 23 Jun 1894, died 9 Sep 1894.  Buried Bear Creek Cemetery, Petrolia, Butler County, Pennsylvania.
  • William Meinzen, born about 1872, died of typhoid fever on 24 Nov 1888.  He was the son of Henry Carl and Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen.  He's buried in Union Cemetery, Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio.
  • Stillborn Infant (unknown gender, unnamed) was buried on 25 Jan 1891 in Union Cemetery, Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio.  The parents were Henry Carl and Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen.
  • Carl Nelson Meinzen, born 3 Sep 1896, was the son of Henry Carl and Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen.  He died on 14 Sep 1896.  Burial location is uncertain but probably in Union Cemetery, Steubenville, Ohio
  • Flora Victoria Bickerstaff was the daughter of Edward Jesse and Mary (Thompson) Bickerstaff.  She was born on 5 Aug 1909 and died 30 Aug 1910.  Her cause of death was convulsions.  She is buried in Oakland Cemetery, Mingo Junction, Jefferson County, Ohio.
  • Leila Doyle was just 3 days old when she died on 2 Mar 1913.  She was the daughter of Gust and Beulah Mae (Gerner) Doyle.  She's buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Sandy Lake Township, Mercer County, Pennsylvania.
  • Alice Bickerstaff, daughter of Ellis and Emma (Nelson) Bickerstaff, was born 27 Apr 1871 and died of convulsions on 21 May 1871.  

I appreciated the following quote from The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman:
Of course, the losing of children had always been a thing that had to be gone through.  There had never been guarantee that conception would lead to a live birth, or that birth would lead to a life of any great length.  Nature allowed only the fit and the lucky to share this paradise-in-the-making.  The graveyards, too, told the story of the babies whose voices, because of a snakebite or a fever or a fall from a wagon, had finally succumbed to their mothers’ beseeching to ‘hush, hush, little one.’  The surviving children got used to the new way of setting the table with one place fewer, just as they grew accustomed to squishing along the bench when another sibling arrived.  Like the wheat fields where more grain is sown than can ripen, God seemed to sprinkle extra children about, and harvest them according to some indecipherable, divine calendar.

Length of days is not guaranteed to any of us and I feel the need to record and/or document the brief lives of those who came before.  

This post is a contribution to Alona Tester's Family History Through the Alphabet challenge, hosted Genealogy and History News.  Thanks for creating and hosting the challenge, Alona.



  1. Hi Nancy...I see you are participating in another Alphabet Challenge. I'm glad I stopped by as this one is new to me. I remember that last year we were doing the AtoZ Challenge during this month of April.

    I, too, think it is very important to include as much information as possible for those children in our Family Tree who have died. Often their information can lead to a story that would not have been told if not for their life, however brief.

    I’m back to CollectInTexas Gal after a Spring Break, with the 2012 AtoZ Blogging Challenge. My theme this year is based on two of my favorite subjects ‘Vintage Quilts and Texas’…AtoZ LoneStar Quilting Bee. I’ve missed visiting you and receiving your always welcomed comments, and I hope you will have a chance to come by for a visit and meet the ladies of the LoneStar Quilting Bee. I’ll be there, too.
    Sue CollectInTexasGal
    AtoZ LoneStar Quilting Bee

  2. You always do such nice blogs. This one is sad but a great blog.
    I often stand for a long time in front of a family's stones where multiple young ones are buried. Mourning for the lose they endured. (We do Find A Grave photo requests so are frequently in cemeteries, and often see these things.)

  3. You have mentioned them..wonderful. That quote is lovely and oh so true:)

  4. I so agree Nancy that every child who dies before it's had a chance to live must be remembered and I put a small red rose alongside their name in the family tree.

    I'm not so sure, however, that I agree with M.L.Stedman's sentiments suggesting that baby deaths were more easily accepted in days gone by. The harrowing tales of the heartbreak of mothers and siblings, passed down through my family tells a different story.

    It's a beautiful post... thankyou. Catherine.

    1. Hi, Catherine. I didn't understand Stedman's words to mean that deaths were more easily accepted then. I'm certain that it was as painful then as now for a mother to lose a child. Even being used to the idea that one might lose a child - nothing could erase or prevent the pain a mother would feel. I think, though, that a hundred or a 150 years ago, people understood the real possibility of a child dying before adulthood.

      Thanks for your kind words.


I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

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