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Often I’ll come across an entire family wiped out within weeks of one another. This makes me immediately question – disease? What was going on in the area at the time? Although this site is more generalized than I would like, it’s a start:  Wikipedia on Epidemics.  It’s amazing how many diseases families had to contend with.

Typically, you can also find out what’s going on in newspapers of the era or in church records. Also, local “Genweb” sites for each locality often list causes of death, much like this for Clinton County, Illinois: St Boniface records

Sadly, I cannot always find causes of death for my ancestors. But death certificates are awesome resources and can usually be ordered through the state. More on that later.


Mucho Fishies,

Bratty Kitty

Post Hallowe’en, I found a very interesting story out there about a “vampire” skeleton discovered with a stake through it. 

Of course, the skeleton revealed no fangs. And was probably not even staked because of imagined vampirism. “”Throughout the Anglo-Saxon period the punishment of being buried in water-logged ground, face down, decapitated, staked or otherwise was reserved for thieves, murderers or traitors or later for those deviants who did not conform to societies rules: adulterers, disrupters of the peace, the unpious or oath breaker” – according to the article. Interesting read.


Mucho Fishies,


As a bratty kitty, my job is to sit around all day and look cute. But my human has thought about becoming a genealogist. Forbes recently linked to an article about an individual who did that very thing.  As enticing as that thought might be, it’s a tremendously difficult job. Working in any “service” industry like that, you cannot predict what the results might be. Someone might hire you to discover their ancestor, and you can’t find a thing. You might find a lot and the person doesn’t want to pay you. Just like in the law, services are hard to quantify in terms of value. There are myriad headaches abounding, but for someone willing to face them, it could be lucrative.