Double checking – part 1

In the post titled ‘Definitely related’ (Dated September 2020), I recorded the following:

John (born 1866, son of GGF John) is staying in Dewsbury with Catherine (b 1851-1857 – his half-sister) at the time of the 1891 census. He married Catherine (or Kate) Delaney in Dewsbury later that same year. She was born in Ireland. Apparently they met on the boat coming over from Ireland. She was heading for London but changed her plans to stay with John. She died in 1901. He died in 1932. There were three children, only two of which lived into adulthood. John (born 1898) was killed in September 1918 serving in the Army (5th Battalion, Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry). Bridget, more commonly known as Delia, born 1897, lived until 1964. Edward was stillborn (1900). Catherine died in childbirth.

I have been digging. I will need to make some changes to that narrative.

It turns out that Edward was not stillborn. He was born in the first quarter of 1900. The record shows that his mother’s maiden name was Delaney, so this is definitely the right one. He died in the last quarter of the same year. There are no other deaths for an Edward Stanley in the period. He does not appear on the 1901 census. This fact makes no difference to the overall story. I am sure that he was mourned. The circumstances of his short life may well have weakened his mother, leading to her premature death a few months later.

I have obtained a copy of Catherine’s death certificate. She died on May 7, 1901, at home in New Street.   The cause of death was pulmonary phthisis, more commonly known today as tuberculosis. The death was certified by a Doctor Thomas D Ambrose. TB has been a notifiable disease in England since 1913. There were 117,139 cases in that year. It has been estimated that approximately 1 in 8 deaths in the second half of the 19th century were due to TB. The cause was only discovered by Robert Koch in 1882. He was awarded a Nobel Prize for his work in 1905. It was known that poor housing and nutrition, insanitary conditions and general disability from ill health all correlated strongly with the disease. The death rate for tuberculosis was found to be as much as 50% higher in back-to-back housing than in other houses located in the same general area. Catherine and her family lived in a back-to-back.