The heartbreak of genealogical research

3 11 2013

Every so often, I work on the British side of my family tree (finding the Dutch South African and German/Prussian sides is too hard!). Such was the case on Friday, when I filled more gaps as a result of the continued release of 1911 UK Census data on

And while doing that I found evidence of tragedy, just in the dates of birth and death recorded in my family tree software.

In this family of 12 children (all third cousins of mine, three times removed…), four children (I highlighted them in yellow) died in infancy (there’s no record of miscarriages or perhaps stillbirths, so it’s possible this family lost even more children) and another three (highlighted in red) were killed in World War 1.


I couldn’t find death records for two of the females. It’s possible one (Ella) was married or working in service to another family at the time of the 1911 Census as she would have been 19 years old then. However, Florence is a concern as she would only have been 13 at the time of the Census, so either she had also died, or perhaps was staying/living with relatives on Census night.

Two of the male children were likely too old to fight in WW1, and one was too young.

Of those 12 children I could find records for, only a possible five survived past 1918.

How does a family cope with that sort of loss?



2 responses

3 11 2013

I believe there was little thought given other than these types of tragedies were just “part of life” to be grieved, accepted and, then, one moves on. The mindset of that day was framed in a very harsh setting compared to today (where we cannot even “wrap our minds” around such events!!). Hugs……

4 11 2013

Sad, but interesting. My paternal side came over to US from Scotland in 1700’s on a prison ship, 3 brothers, only 1 survived. Prob. stole a loaf of bread. All the “bad” people got shipped to US or Australia. haha Dawn

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