I hope to share research, information, tips, and a little of my family history with others following the path to greater genealogical awareness. Let the search for enlightenment continue...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Flu 1918 (Part 3 of 3)

(Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette) Where do I go from here? In the Telegram article transcribed in part one of this series, the man I believe to be Aunt Rose's father is listed as John. The family obituaries I have say his name was Joseph. Given previous mistakes I've found in obituaries, I'm still pretty confident that the John in the Telegram article is the Joseph I am looking for. Also given the chaos caused by the flu and the number of people mentioned in the newspaper on a daily basis, including the obits, I'm sure mistakes were common. I still need to verify the information.

I have three spellings of the last name: Chronzak, Choronzak, and Choronozak. Even Aunt Rose and her siblings' obituaries do not agree on the spelling of their parents' surname. I've tried to find the family in the 1910 U.S. Census without luck. I've also had limited success tracking the family in the Worcester city directories. The Telegram article did list that they lived on Meade St. in Worcester. I can go back to the Worcester house directories to see if I can trace them back to 1910. Even if I can't figure out the spelling of their name, I can find a neighbor, search the census for the neighbor, and hopefully find Aunt Rose's family that way.

Now that I know when Aunt Rose's parents were buried I can review earlier issues of the newspaper for obits. I know they were buried at Notre Dame Cemetery in Worcester so I can ask for burial information at the cemetery. Once I have an exact death date, I can go to the Worcester City Hall Clerk's office and get a copy of their death certificates. I've also discovered the names of some of Rose's siblings--Katherine, Stephen, and Sophie. All in all I have quite a bit of information.

If you are interested in reading more about the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic, I suggest The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History. There are other fine books out there, but this is the one that I have read. I also recommend the websites listed at the bottom of this post. The website,
The Great Pandemic: the United States in 1918-1919, by the United States Department of Health and Human Services was particularly helpful for outlining the impact of the flu in Massachusetts. It lists the other states as well.

I will post updates on my research as I discover new information.


Links of Interest:
The Great Pandemic: the United States in 1918-1919
Influenza Digital Archive
Pandemic Influenza Storybook: personal recollections from survivors, families, and friendsThe Deadly Virus: The Influenza Epidemic of 1918"Influenza 1918" The American Experience (PBS)


Flu 1918 (Part 1 of 3)
Flu 1918 (Part 2 of 3)


Other Posts You Might Like:

Where They Lived: Every Address Tells A Story
COG 97: Researching "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 1 of 4)
(Not So) Wordless Wednesday: The Kowalewski Family
Postcards From the Edge: Genealogy Road Trippin'

4 comments:

Barbara Poole said...

Cindy, I knew I would enjoy this, and I did. Terribly sad, I remember my mother telling me about it many years ago, and just today I discovered a family member died of the flu. Thank you for bringing this piece of history to light.

Cynthia Shenette said...

Barbara - Thank you for your comment. It is a sad story. What's really interesting, is given the enormity of the pandemic, so many of our ancestors were touched by this tragedy. I'd love to hear about your ancestor. I hope you write about him or her someday.

Nolichucky Roots said...

Wonderful series. I am amazed at the devastation wrought on communities - no less traumatic than a hurricane or tornado.

I played around with the 1910 census. One record stood out because of the daughters' names. You might want to look at it. Indexed on Ancestry as Rosie Chavarria, born 1908, MA. Parents Joseph and Antoaen, born in Russia. A long shot, but the best fit I found.

Cynthia Shenette said...

Susan - You are so right about the devastation caused by the flu. I'm sure this is something that affected generations physically and mentally for years. Thank you once again for checking the census for me. If I find additonal information I'll let you know.