Journal Jottings, January 2019

By Diane L. Richard, NCGS Journal Editor, journaleditor@ncgenealogy.org

Planned Special NCGS Journal Edition (April-May-June 2019) on Epidemics and Health Care

The 2019 spring edition of the NCGS Journal will focusThe Telfair Sanitarium photo on records and information regarding epidemics and related diseases. We’ll examine the well-known influenza epidemic and tuberculosis crisis (resulting in the building of sanitariums/sanitoriums). We’ll also explore other health crises and infectious diseases that touched North Carolinians: yellow fever, spotted fever, smallpox, malaria, and more.

In addition to physicians, many nurses were on the front line of caring for patients stricken with these diseases.

These epidemics had a huge impact on North Carolinians from time lost due to sickness, to new services provided (as better methods of prevention were implemented), to the all-too-common deaths from what are now considered preventable diseases. The challenge for genealogical researchers is to appreciate the impact these had either directly on their families or on the local community. It is hard to document much of this impact and this is how you can help:

  1. Did you have an ancestor who died of a highly infectious and often fatal disease or in a sanitarium?
  2. Were your ancestors impacted by a large-scale health issue? (E.g., I once researched a family where, in the span of two weeks, a father, his sons, and his sons-in-law all died of mosquito-born disease in eastern North Carolina. Just think of the devastating impact those deaths had on their family.)
  3. Did you have an ancestor who worked as a health professional during an epidemic?

Stories about North Carolinians and the impact of infectious disease epidemics (the 18th through mid-20th centuries) are welcome and remind us of the personal toll exacted by widespread disease. All submissions will be considered.

As always, if you have materials relevant to this planned issue, or are interested in helping transcribe materials collected in anticipation of this special issue, please email Diane at journaleditor@ncgenealogy.org.

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 Thanks again to all who have helped and to those who will volunteer in the future. It does take a village to create a journal. As always, I can be reached at journaleditor@ncgenealogy.org to answer your questions, and to receive your submissions and suggestions.

Go Journal Team!

You may also view a printer-friendly pdf version of the January 2019 Journal Jottings.

(Image source: “The Telfair Sanitarium, Greensboro, N.C.” in Dunwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (PO77), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill; Public Domain.)