Notes from the past…

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy Week #9: Cemeteries

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Genealogists understand the full value of cemeteries and appreciate them in ways most others can’t see. Share a cemetery or cemetery experience for which you are most thankful. What makes this place special? What does it mean to you and your family history?

Chatt signThe first cemetery that I inventoried and photographed was Chatt-Jessie Cemetery in rural Hill County, Texas. My second great-grandparents Isaac Turner and Sarah Sharpe Vance and several of their children are buried at Chatt-Jessie.

I spent a couple of weekends in the summer of 2006 at this wonderful old burial ground, and perhaps what struck me most profoundly was the number of infants and young children buried here. Out more than 116 graves (several were unmarked), at least 35 are the graves of infants and children under 5 years of age. That’s about 30%.

According to the Centers For Disease Control, in 1900, the U.S. infant mortality rate was approximately 100 infant deaths per 1,000 live births (10%).

unknown infantWhy such a high infant and small child death rate in rural north Texas? Accidents and disease that today can be easily and successfully treated were often fatal over 100 years ago. Many of the Chatt-Jessie Children only lived a day or two. Some even less, as the grave at the left seems to indicate. This child didn’t even survive long enough to be named. Simply “Inf”. So sad.

I can’t imagine losing a child.

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52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2012) that invite genealogists and others to discuss resources in the genealogy community including websites, applications, libraries, archives, genealogical societies and more. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your thoughts on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.

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