Thursday, May 17, 2018

Lawrence Doyle, Age Twelve Years

Lawrence Doyle is the son of William and Martha (Reay) Doyle and the older brother of my second great-grandfather, Andrew Doyle.  Lawrence died on June 11, 1841, at the age of 12.  His cause of death was noted as "continued fever."

A transcription.
Superintendent Registrar's District  The Morpeth Union
Registrar's District  Bedlington
1841.  DEATHS in the District of Bedlington in the Counties of Durham and Northumberland
No. 445
When Died.  Eleventh of June 1841 in P. M. at Bedlington
Name and Surname.  Lawrence Doyle
Sex.  Male
Age.  12 years
Rank or Profession.  Son of William Doyle  Collier / Deceased
Cause of Death.  Continued Fever
Signature, Description, and Residence of Informant.  Wm Alsop -- In Attendance -- Bedlington
When Registered.  Thirteenth of June 1841
Signature of Registrar.  Robt Soulsby Registrar

This source of this record is the U.K. Genral Register Office (GRO), Year 1841, Volume 25, Page 205, Line 31.

Notes and Comments
Lawrence's death was the third experienced by his mother, Martha (Reay) Doyle, in a short three years.  Lawrence's father, William Doyle, and his younger sister, Martha, both died in 1838 within several weeks of each other.  I know deaths of children were more common in the 19th century but common doesn't erase the grief a mother feels.

Lawrence was born in 1829 or 1830.  He was baptized at St. Cuthbert Church, Bedlington, Northumberland, in July, 1830, but that record did not note his birth date.  This record gives his age as 12 which, calculated, would suggest he was born in 1829.  The U.K. Census date in 1841 was June 6.  In it his age was listed as 10 years.

I was pleased to see that Lawrence was not listed as a coal miner in either this record nor the 1841 U.K. Census.

The death record gives no indication of the cause of the fever.  It could have been cholera, typhoid, influenza, or a variety of other illnesses.  If it were either of the first two and the illness had been diagnosed I think the death certificate would have been more specific about cause of death.  Without antibiotics and if his mother didn't know that cloths with cool water would have been better than warm blankets, the likelihood of his overcoming the fever was probably slim.  Health and Hygiene in the Nineteenth Century at The Victorian Web gave some helpful information about illnesses in 1840s England.


Copyright ©2018, Nancy Messier.  All Rights Reserved.  Do not copy or use any content from this blog without written permission of the owner. 


  1. Nancy, I'm sure you are right that just because death was not uncommon does not mean people did not grieve, especially mothers. Even before our children are born we dream of their lives, their futures. We love our children even before they are born. Lawrence was missed and your post is a nice way to remember him.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Colleen. I don't know how a mother would get over losing one child, let alone two or three or four.


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

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...