Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Little Elizabeth Meinzen's 1897 Birth and 1899 Death Records

This Elizabeth Meinzen is the oldest daughter of Henry Carl and Ella/Ellen/Helen (Dray) Meinzen.  This Henry Meinzen is the son of Henry C. and Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen.  My aunt, Doris (Meinzen) Dray and Henry's niece, remembered that Henry and his wife Ella had only five daughters, no sons.  But we know that memory often doesn't tell the whole story.  Research discovered that Henry and Ella had at least eight children, six daughters and two sons. 

This is Elizabeth's 1897 Jefferson County, Ohio, birth record.  It is from the Jefferson County, 1894-1906, image collection of FamilySearch's Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003.  View Elizabeth's record here.  (You will need a free FamilySearch account to see it.)  You can click either image below to enlarge for a closer look.

Transcription of birth record
[Page] 84
Record of Births, Probate Court, Jefferson County, Ohio, 18 [blank] 
Date   [blank]
Number   853
Name in Full   Minzen Elizabeth
Date of Birth Year/Month/Day   1897 Oct. 22
Place of Birth State   Ohio
Place of Birth County   Jefferson
Place of Birth City, Town or Township    Steubenville
Sex   Female
Color   White
Name of Father   Henry Minzen
Name of Mother   Ella Dray
Residence of Parents   North 6" St.
By Whom Reported   parent

This is Elizabeth Meinzen's Jefferson County, Ohio, death record.  It comes from the Jefferson County, Ohio, images in FamilySearch's Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001.   You can view the original record here.

Transcription of death record
Record of Deaths, Probate Court, Jefferson County, Ohio, 1899    [Pages] 354-355
Date   May 22, 1899
Entry [Number]   160
Name in Full   Meinzen, Elizabeth
Date of Death-Year. Month. Day   99 Apr. 6
Condition (married, single...)     single
Age (yrs, months, days)   17 months
Place of Death   Steubenville
Place of Birth   Steubenville, O.
Occupation    [blank]
Parents Name When Infant Dies without Name   [blank]
Color    White.
DISEASE, Direct or Indirect Cause of Death   Meningitis
Place of Residence   Steubenville
By Whom Reported   Assessor

Notes and Comments
  • I discovered Elizabeth's death record before her birth record and because her parents are not named in the death record I was uncertain whose child she was.  The wives of both Henrys (senior and junior) were bearing children during the last decade of the 1800s.  It was only because I found Elizabeth's birth record and used the dates to calculate little Elizabeth's age that I came to see that they were the same child.
  • This Elizabeth is the first of three grandchildren who were given the name of their grandmother.  All three granddaughters were born to the sons of Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen.
  • Minzen, as found in the birth record, is a common spelling variation of Meinzen.
  • I imagine meningitis was a terrifying disease in 1899, both to have and to see someone afflicted with it.  The Mayo Clinic states that the symptoms in infants include high fever, constant crying, stiffness in body and neck, and a bulge in the fontanel, among others; infants may cry harder when held to be comforted.  There were no antibiotics, cures, or relief from the pain.  And there was probably no way to comfort little Elizabeth.


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  1. It is always sad to discover the death of a little one. We can imagine the sorrow the family suffered. We can wonder what mi get have been if the little one had a longer life. Your research has led to learning more about the family, good times & bad.

    1. Thank you, Colleen. In some ways it seems like death of children was a somewhat common occurrence in the 1800s. It's understandable since they knew so much less about the body than our modern doctors do and the medicines and vaccines we have today were not available. Understandable but still sad.

  2. I almost wish I hadn't read the description of symptoms. So sad!


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