Are you as Tired of the Daily Weather Report as I Am?

It snowed this morning–just enough to coat the ice underfoot so it couldn’t be seen! And the sun was a distant round ball in the mist left behind.

Are you familiar with “herald’s patch” disease?

Somewhere on the upper torso a red circular spot appears out of nowhere. Then about a week later, a red rash appears all over. It is caused by lack of Vitamin D which the body makes from contact with the sun. Americans suffer from Vitamin D deficiency anyway because we are instructed to use Sunscreen to keep the sun from affecting the skin in the first place. Does all this sound as screwy to you as it does to me?

In my former life I was a Registered Nurse and knew about these things–now I live them. Ugh!

What does all of this have to do with your genealogy and mine? Some family group records included a slot to record diseases and disabilities. And quite a few research sources referred to different maladies that your ancestors suffered from. Theoretically, such medical  information could be a means of identifying your guy from mu guy who had the same name. Even ethnic diseases passed from one generation to another could be used for identity.

Diabetes, psoriatic arthritis, hemophilia, and a whole host of other diseases which are hereditary can betray origins.

During the Civil War the Union Government kept medical records on soldiers who were treated in hospitals–with a labeled diagram of the body, front and back, showing where wounds were located. A summary of treatment and whether the soldier survived or not were also recorded. These were later published in three volumes–quite a few libraries have the volumes. [I wonder if they are now digitized by Google or another online service?]

Censuses indicated mental health, disability, deaf and blind for those enumerated. And death certificates and tombstones can be used to discover and create a family health profile. Once photography became popular, the common man and his family were captured in durable views that today can be compared for these details.  Who knew?

Have you done photograph analysis on your family pictures? The men in my family background retain their hair. No bald men at the family reunion. The men in my husband’s family not only retained their hair, it did not go gray. They were buried at ripe old ages with black, brown, or even red hair intact. What do your photos show?

Take a look–your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS The pursuit of genealogy leads almost everywhere.

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